What is Design Thinking and how does it make you sustainable?
Design thinking integrates argumentation, curiosity, divination, and systematic reasoning. to discover possibilities. The Outcome of this thinking results that benefit the end-user or customers. A design mindset is solution-driven and action-oriented rather than problem-focused. It requires both exploration and creative thinking.
Let’s look a little backward
We all look forward to some of the most promising companies in a little over a decade. We admire how did they grow so fast and what did they do differently. This is a question to be asked- how do we become UNICORN and that too in the shortest time frame. The companies which I am talking about are, Apple, Netflix, Airbnb, Nike, Google, Uber, Pepsico and there are many more.
They also have employees, as you do in your, established organization or even at your startups. These employees have the same structure as we all are. I am confident there will be no difference in opinion on this.
Still, the question is — what is their employee doing differently which is not happening at our business.
The simple answer to this is
THEY HAVE ADOPTED DESIGN THINK METHODOLOGIES AS A GO-TO-MARKET STRATEGIES AND HAS EMBEDDED DESIGN THINKING IN ALL OF THERE PRODUCT OR SERVICES THEY OFFER.
Does it make any sense?
Growth Thinking vs Design Think.
Before we understand what Design Thinking is, let us understand the difference between Growth Hacking or Growth Thinking vs Design Thinking.
Like Design Thinking, Growth Thinking is a design methodology for problem-solving. Design Thinking is used to develop and manage products and services, while Growth Thinking is used to accelerate growth. Both have an equal role because they complement each other in many ways.
For a Startup, Design Thinking would prevail over Growth Thinking because you would first need to design your products and services before you could accelerate growth.
A Business that operates should think of Growth rather than Design since your products or services will facilitate the growth of your organization. But if there is a change in the business’s objectives, Desing Thinking comes into effect.
They work in isolation, but they work well when used in the right sequence — knowing which method to use when is an essential part of a leader and founder’s strategy.
Another Word you probably are familiar with. Right?
Let us take a moment and understand what is Service Excellence and how it is important and interlinked with Design Thinking.
So what is Service Excellence?
Excellence in Service means putting the customer at the centre of everything you do. The degree to which a product or service meets the customer’s expectations and needs can be defined as good customer service.
Keep a note, we are talking about products and services and that is the output of Design Thinking. Organizational processes are managed through this function.
How is service excellence is achieved?
To achieve this, organizations need to focus on understanding exactly what customers are looking for in regards to their value offerings. An organization that practices best practices involves the four Cs -customer needs and wants, cost, convenience, and communication rather than the four Ps — product, price, place, and promotion. It is this understanding which forms the basis for all organizational activities
To successfully manage them, we can’t simply manage them on a stand-alone basis, but also embrace the idea that they are interrelated and that they will impact each other. Exceptional customer service is enabled by each of these elements and together, they enhance an organization’s marketplace value.
A great customer experience occurs when these expectations are surpassed, and when the company or employee goes above and beyond what’s expected — this is the intangible, unexpected “extra” in the form of a thoughtful, additional feature or service
So now you understand, if you have products or services and have implemented the service excellence method, they may still fail if the product and services you offer have not been designed having the customer at the centre.
Let’s JUMP IN now deeper
Why Design Thinking Is Important?
The goal of design thinking is to approach things differently and avoid solving problems the same way every time. Many solutions must be conceived regardless of the difficulty. Design thinking creates an environment that encourages the development of new ideas and allows a group to experiment without fear of making mistakes. In other words, gives you the permission TO FAIL AND FAIL FAST.
Design Thinking has evolved into a common practice in many businesses of today. It is this type of modern thinking that can be used to propel your business forward. It is a human-centric approach to creative problem solving where customers are always put first. It played a crucial role in achieving satisfactory results and putting the company ahead of the competition. An innovative approach to organizing your work can deliver astonishing results.
What is Design Thinking?
Design thinking is an approach to problem-solving based on a set of skills.
The Design Thinking approach evaluates multiple ideas to solve problems and doesn’t assume that they’re obvious at first without conscious reasoning. It involves rethinking problems and questioning assumptions to come up with solutions that are not immediately obvious. Design Thinking simplifies problem-solving by identifying constructive solutions.
Several ways of thinking about and working with it are available as well as a variety of practical methods. By focusing on the needs of customers, Design Thinking creates products or services that they will love.
Ideation is easy. You need to put in a lot of effort to come up with the best one, Design thinking opens up a world of possibilities. Using design thinking, you throw out everything you think you know to discover new possibilities.
Principles of Design Thinking
By adopting and practising an innovative mindset, design thinking strengthens people’s capacity to innovate. Having a culture of innovation that fosters the generation and testing of ideas effectively and creatively is key to design thinking. The skills developed through design thinking can then be applied to many different situations
Human-Centric- The essence of all design activities is social. Any social innovation will lead us back to “human-centeredness” — meaning that users must be at the core of your product or service. The goal of user-centred design is to understand your users’ needs, thinks, and behaviours, and to integrate that knowledge into all aspects of your work. Being compassionate toward your clients and inspired by their needs, feelings, and motivations will enable your team to provide meaningful solutions to real problems, not just developing innovative but unprofitable products.
Embrace the Ambiguity- Whether intentional or unintentional, ambiguity cannot be avoided. To explore your knowledge and capabilities’ limits, you need to be able to view things differently. You may want to consider reframing your problem or looking at it from every angle to arrive at several possible solutions rather than trying to find a perfect one. The solution to a problem can be achieved in several ways. The right idea may not work in all cases, but it can provide a fantastic solution in other cases. It is impossible to be right all the time for new ideas.” In other words, it is important to embrace ambiguity when it comes to design thinking.
Redesign- Every design is redesigned. Technological advances and social conditions can evolve, but fundamental human needs remain the same. To achieve the desired results, we only redesign the processes to meet these needs.
Tangibility- Concepts that are tangibly represented in prototypes can be communicated more effectively. Following the collection of ideas, prototypes ought to be built or experimented with. You can gain insight into what works and what doesn’t by prototyping or experimenting. The transformation will result in a frictionless, easy, intuitive path based on assumptions and tests.
The Design Thinking process can be utilized in any field, not just design. It is both a process and an ideology and is very user-centric.
Five Phases of Design Thinking
Before discussing why Design Thinking is helpful for business growth, let’s discuss the different stages involved. There are five stages of design thinking, but it’s important to remember that they are not sequential. So you don’t start in Phase 1 and work your way through them until Phase 5 when you conclude, but rather you return to earlier phases at frequent intervals throughout your journey.
Empathize: An understanding and analysis of the problem are crucial at this stage. it allows designers to move beyond their own biases to discover exactly what the user wants. As designers interact with real people who deal with problems daily, they develop an understanding of their motivations and experiences. They ultimately devise a solution. The team may include internal users or external teams.
Embedded empathy is key to building human-centric solutions and environments. You need to understand the users’ issues and empathize with them. Taking the time to explore the idea at this stage can uncover actionable information and give you the best possible understanding of the needs that need to be addressed by a new product or service.
Define: The define phase involves putting together the information gathered during the empathize phase. To determine the core problems, you and your team will need to analyze all the information and observations you’ve gathered. Always keep in mind that the problem should be viewed from the perspective of the people affected. To keep people at the centre of problems, you should use the findings to define them. Design thinking means you don’t define a problem in a way that reveals a company goal.
Ideate: You must now work on coming up with ideas to solve the problems identified in the previous steps. Now that you and your team have a clearer picture of your users’ needs after empathizing with them, you can begin to design. A human-centric problem statement would also have helped you isolate the problem During this stage of the design thinking journey, it is time to generate ideas. A lot of techniques and methods are available to you when you are thinking of ideas. It is nonetheless important to try and come up with as many ideas and solutions as you can. In this stage, there is no wrong or right ideas we are looking for. We are looking for all options of ideas.
Prototype: A number of scaled-down versions of the product are created during the prototyping phase. These prototypes can focus on specific features of the product that attempt to solve the problems that were identified during the empathizing, defining, and ideate phases. By prototyping thoroughly, user needs and issues can be addressed more effectively. To assess each feature, a number of them may be implemented one after another. When they fail to properly resolve issues and needs, they may be rejected. You’ll start to get a better idea of the kind of constraints your team is dealing with and how well your ideas are resolving user issues as you test all these different features.
Test: After you have tested the prototype, you must submit it to the customer, get the customer’s feedback, refine the prototype, and repeat it until the customer is satisfied. The iterative nature of the design thinking process can result in new problems being defined in response to testing results. Widespread testing can lead to a deeper understanding of your product and your customers, so going back to earlier stages shouldn’t be regarded as a failure.
The goal of design thinking is to bring your ideas to life by putting the user at the center
Taking note of the fact that these five forms, stages, or modes do not always follow a sequential order. A number of them can occur simultaneously and repeat iteratively and are not necessarily ordered in any specific order. In this scenario, you should not view phases as hierarchies or progressive processes. It is better to view it as an overview of the different dimensions and components of an innovative project rather than sequential steps.
Benefits of Design Thinking in your Business
Your role as a designer is to play a central role in developing a product that helps you to achieve commercial success. Design thinking ensures that the product you design and develop is not only for customer satisfaction but also to increase your company’s revenues and resources.
Some essential benefits of design thinking at your business:
- Faster delivery of product aligned with your Go-to-market strategies: Through the design thinking process, identifying solutions to problems and improving problem-solving techniques reduce the amount of time it takes to design and develop.
- Reduction in expenses and high Return on Investment (ROI): Business expenses will eventually decrease if the product is successfully delivered to the market faster. Using it will guarantee a high return on investment for your organization.
- Building relationships and loyal customers: Design Thinking is a human-centric approach that creates a lasting customer relationship through communication and trust, as well as enhancing your customer base over longer periods.
- Exceeding the customers’ expectations: For quality assurance, design thinking involves implementing customer feedback iteratively into prototypes to test them. By following the design thinking approach effectively, your product will eventually meet the customers’ requirements.
- Nurtures innovation: Design thinking is designed to enable designers and stakeholders to seek creative solutions that inspire an attitude of innovation that then leads to business growth.
- Implementation of Design Thinking throughout your company: Design thinking is a technique that can be used by designers, but it can also be used by other teams to bring about a better balance of collective ideas and cross-team collaboration, which in turn helps employees to make things more interesting by putting in the effort.
Do you know Design Thinking and Storytelling are interlinked? Read it here.
Have you opted for the Design Thinking approach in your Business? If you want to understand it better, connect with me on Linkedin