Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO (who’s also a design thinking mastermind) said that thinking like a designer can transform the way you develop products, services, processes and even strategy. So, what exactly is design thinking? How do you implement design thinking to identify and execute opportunities for your company’s growth and innovation?
According to Genovasi, a Design Thinking School in Malaysia, design thinking is a human-centred approach to innovation that employs multidisciplinary teams, flexible environments and a creative process to generate user-focused products, services or experiences.
Originally introduced in 1969 by Herbert A. Simon, design thinking has been used successfully by organisations like Apple and Google as part of their business strategy. This problem-solving tool works for all types of companies – big or small. Though it can be challenging, the benefits will cut through all the red tapes i.e. better communication between peers and improved visibility within internal decision-making processes.
The Process Of Design Thinking
Empathy is said to be the foundation for design thinking. This means learning about your target audience through interviews, surveys or observations. Questions that you can ask yourselves are: Who are my users? What matters to them? What problems are they facing when using my services/products? Try using user experience maps to help you better understand how the user feels before, during, and after using your product/service.
Based on the user’s’ insights, you can start creating hypotheses and asking further questions. Do make sure to still keep your thoughts within your audience’s’ perspective. The key is to understand the right questions to ask, as well as to keep things open and flat.
Next, brainstorm and come up with solutions that are as creative as possible. Remember that this is an exploration phase. Wild ideas are very much encouraged, where no concept is off the table. To make sure everyone is energised during the kickoff meeting, here are some tips outlined by Kevin Hoffman:
- Pick a big/spacious room so that it’s easier to have multiple one-on-one conversations.
- Make sure everyone that’s involved in the project is participating in the brainstorm session. Everyone’s opinion matters.
- Set time limits. According to Hoffman, 10-minute increments for discussion and sketching is essential. If given too much time, your team will start polishing details of the ideas. The objective is to discuss ideas, not the details.
This is the part where you build a representation of your idea. Bear in mind, that a prototype is just a draft i.e. a series of sketches or mockups, paper prototypes and interactive wireframes. A mockup can help you gauge the feasibility of the idea without spending a bomb. Additionally, you can also get a genuine reaction from stakeholders or users.
Lastly, test your prototyped idea with users to see what works and what doesn’t. We recommend Google Venture’s design sprint methodology. It condenses design thinking into a 4 to 5 day-long process. Even here at Supahands, we use the same procedure and it has helped us a lot in moving forward. If you want to know more usability testing, check out this FREE e-book – The Guide Of Usability Testing.
Myths About Design Thinking
If you want to implement design thinking within your organisation, it is important for you to understand what it is all about beforehand. Check out the infographic on fables about Design Thinking below, extracted from Singapore’s National Library Board (NLB).
Design Thinking Disadvantages
Everything has its own pros and cons. Please bear in mind that there are some pitfalls one should look out for when using design-thinking, as explained by M. Muneer, CEO and Managing Director of CustomerLab Solutions.
- Design-thinking leads to comprehensive solutions. However, the final offering might not solve every issue for everyone.
- In the drive to provide great solutions we can sometimes forget the relative value of solving that problem. Ensure that you do not lose pragmatism in search of ideal solutions.
- In the early iterative development stage of problem definition, make sure that you find a way to communicate the same predicament clearly and in a simplified way.
All in all, design thinking is all about inserting empathy in every process and decision you make. It’s a method for manifesting your most abstract thoughts into reasonable and actionable ideas. We hope that this will help you to identify, acknowledge, as well as solve meaningful and right problems, which will impact your organisation’s success.
P.S. We can help you focus on your success too. Incase you need help in terms of lead generations, data mining, data maintenance and customer support, don’t hesitate to ask us, Supahands, for help.