According to the Interaction Design Foundation, Design Thinking (DT) is “an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions…”All types of professionals and industry insiders can benefit from incorporating Design Thinking into their work, from artists and writers to engineers and scientists. It’s a mindset that positions the target user at the core, along with a solutions-based approach, in order to solve challenging problems.
According to Forrester Consulting, “Half of design-led companies surveyed by Adobe, say design thinking results in more satisfied and loyal customers; and 41 percent report greater market share as an advantage of having advanced design practices.” Link to source (https://landing.adobe.com/en/na/products/marketing-cloud/350450-forrester-design-led-business.html)
The term, Design Thinking, Human Centric Research and Design Research are confusing for many in the marketing industry, so we avoided using them for a long time. Suddenly, Design Thinking became a buzzword and garnered a lot of attention from the Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, among other prestigious institutions. Design Thinking began making appearances in employee training schedules and company rulebooks.
In simple terms, Design Thinking is a framework that allows people to do just that – think like a designer. Instead of pushing your design style on others and waiting for results, Design Thinking encourages you to focus on the end user (who you are designing for). The process has been so successful in Silicon Valley and the startup ecosystem, that people are now using it to create products and services; redefining how teams work, and how corporations’ function and interact.
If you are not a designer, you may be wondering what is so special about the way designers think. How is their thought process different than that of an engineer, or those taught at an MBA program?
Proper execution of Design Thinking drives better results and causes extraordinary things to happen within a company: human focus, collaboration, noteworthy ideas, experimentation, taking action, and innovation.
Design Thinking succeeds when it finds solutions based on the real needs of real people. In a recent Harvard Business Review article on the evolution of Design Thinking, Jon Kolko, a world-renowned design strategist, educator, and founder of the Austin Center for Design, said:
“When done well, human-centered design enhances the user experience at every touch point and fuels the creation of products and services that deeply resonate with customers. Design is empathic, and thus implicitly drives a more thoughtful, human approach to business.”
Today, many professionals identify as creative problem solvers or design thinkers. Consultancies are starting to sell Design Thinking facilitation and training workshops, and a growing number of companies are seeking training on Human Centric Design, Service Design, and Customer Experience to inspire Design Thinking within their organizations.
I have witnessed time and time again that companies approach Design Thinking with great intention. However, many limit themselves to training leaders, hoping that this alone will result in a more customer centric company. These companies perceive Design Thinking as the sole process that will compel their people to find an innovative solution to a customer problem and may be overlooking the importance of an innovative mindset.
I always stress that a design and creative mindset is not problem-focused, it’s solution-focused and action-oriented. It involves both analysis and imagination, data and insights. Yes, Design Thinking is a powerful and proven framework, and everyone wants to jump into the bandwagon. However, it must be accompanied by a robust innovation mentality, or else people will not be able to take full advantage of it.
One way to start investing in Design Thinking is to hire a professional facilitator like Lateral Strategy, whose expertise will ensure a seamless adoption of the process. A professional Innovation Facilitators we use multiple frameworks including Design Thinking, Lateral Thinking, Creative Problem Solving and Synnectics, and adapt them to our client’s needs and learning style. We can help identify some pitfalls in your team and innovation strategy. Then help you fill in those gaps, and introduce you to new skillsets that will take your company embrace a Design Thinking and Innovation mindset.
Knowing an innovation framework like #DesignThinking or #Agile is a great start, but might not be an advantage to begin innovating. Lateral Strategy can help your team get started on innovation by bridging this knowledge gap. Learn what human centricity means and how this approach can help your business attract more customers!