If you move in business or marketing circles, the word design thinking is probably not foreign to you. Despite being touted as an amazing way to create customer-focused products, specific explanation of what design thinking actually is are rare.
This blog post will attempt to remedy this, by explaining not only what design thinking actually is, but also why it is an important concept to know if innovation is of interest to you.
In the simplest terms, design thinking is a certain way to address the production process. Specifically, it focuses on the users of the product or processes being developed. Because of this, getting insight and feedback from potential as well as existing customers is vital. This also means that this process is a cyclical one, that has no specific beginning and end.
One of the most used model when explaining design thinking is the “Double Diamond”, model.
Using this model, you can see how important research and questions are. Prototyping and constantly refining your product is also at the core of design thinking.
An argument for using design thinking is that this approach combines technical feasibility, human desirability, and economic viability. You, therefore, get the best of all worlds, so to speak. This closely relates you the second question; “why is design thinking relevant to you and your business?”
Design thinking is relevant for a number of reasons. Firstly it promotes creative thinking, which every person interested in innovation needs. Secondly, it is a human-centered practice, meaning the focus is always on the potential users of the product. Third and finally is the number of tools it gives people. Due to its nature, it makes available creative tools to people who are not designers, allowing creative thinking.
So now that I have convinced you that design thinking is an invaluable tool in a managers toolbox, who exactly do you implement and use it in everyday life?
Design Thinking means thinking creatively about problems and embracing unorthodox methods.
Discover: In order to create a solution, you first have to know the problem. This step includes brainstorming, conversations between coworkers and more scientific approaches, like in-depth qualitative and quantitative research.
Define: Now you know the main problem/problems facing your business. The main step in the Define phase is to reframe the challenge in human-centric ways. Ask yourself, how does the problem affect the way people use our product?
Develop: In this phase, you take all the information you gathered in the first two phases, and start creating ideas. It is also in this phase you create prototypes.
Deliver: While it may seem backward, in the delivery phase, you are still prototyping and testing, except now you are sharing your attempts with a broader audience.
Design thinking is not a strictly linear process. It is common to move backward and forwards across the different phases, and going a step or two back does not equal failure. On the contrary, design thinking embrace fluid travel back and forth between phases.
Now that you have finished the Ideanote School of Innovation class on Design Thinking, how about some more knowledge? Check out “Why Radical and Disruptive Innovation Might Not Always Be The Answer“. or perhaps you are more interested in a little fun history break; “Born in the USA; 5 American Innovations That Changed The World“