Design Thinking has become the “Buzzword” in the Innovation space, but what is it actually?

What is “Design Thinking?” Design thinking is a verb — a new way of thinking that starts with empathy and the human need for solutions to existing challenges and pain points.

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The customer’s voice is the only one that matters

When designing a solution, it’s key to ask not only what the problem is, but WHO are you solving the problem for. Customer focus is essential to success. Don’t just build the first thing that comes to your mind — you must test solutions and understand that a customer’s experience is more important than an existing approach to the challenge or what you think is best. It’s more about solving their problem than out-doing a competitor when it comes to designing a new or evolving solution.

The new world of innovation consists of spending most of your time learning about a problem, becoming familiar with it so that you can design the best-fit solution. When you have the right solution, you spend less time “shouting” about it.

Four Core Ideas of Design Thinking

  1. Includes phases of divergent and convergent thinking — look both outward and inward when analyzing the challenge
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  1. Rooted in human empathy — observe, engage, question and think ahead
  2. Multi-disciplinary — merging of collaborators with diverse strengths and experiences
  3. Iterative prototyping and making — visual thinking including making models to “unpack” the complexity of the problem

How do you know your idea is the right one?

Follow the process for design thinking. Empathize deeply with your customers to develop true understanding and define clearly the problem you need to solve. Then ideate, prototype and test your solution. Too often, innovators run into a market without adequate testing — they often fail. You may need to adjust the solution after testing; don’t be afraid to change.

Your value is defined by your customers. Build your early-adopter personas so that you know who you are helping and can develop the best plan to reach them. Find them (or get found by them) so that you can ramp up traction. Psychographics (how your customers think) will become more important than demographics. The more you know about them, how they think, and what they feel, the more precise your target, the higher the adoption rate and the faster you scale.

Human-centred design hinges on blending business, technology and empathy. There are many different forms of design thinking including the FORTH Innovation method, Sprintbase etc.

If you would like to understand more about this and how it can help your business, contact me or visits my website and we can have a discussion.