An introduction to Design Thinking
First thoughts on a much talked about subject of Design Thinking!
I came across an article on Design Thinking recently. Now Design Thinking isn’t a new catchword. It has been around for a while now, with various industries – from manufacturing to consulting and even interestingly, instructional designers – trying to incorporate the principles of design thinking into their work. The reasons can be manifold – some are trying to make their product or service more relevant to the customer, others are making the process more efficient.
We are living in a connected world where customers are seeking for the best, equipped with more information that has been collected from more sources than ever before. Customers today are becoming increasingly sophisticated and impatient. Adding to this is the prevalence of social networks and the internet that has led on to an increased customer-to-customer interaction. Hence the customers not just know what they want, they know how and where to get it.
To cater to this increased expectations of quality, reliability, safety, utility and survive the hyper-competitive business environment, the manufacturers and service providers are determined to ensure a steady stream of product and technology options that is developed on the basis of the company’s sense of where the market is headed. A large part of it is driven by the customers as the ‘social currency’ is changing the face of the product or service.
My limited reading on the subject has led me to understand a little about design thinking and be intrigued by it. Design Thinking means keeping the customer in mind all the time while driving innovations which are technologically feasible and economically viable. Manufacturers around the world have drawn their attention to Design Thinking as a concept of innovation management as the organizations have opened their minds to learn from designers in being creative and innovative.
A Design Thinker sets the customer at the heart of thinking, is collaborative by integrating different point of views, and focuses on the future instead of considering how things work today. A design process model includes five vital steps: empathise with the customer, the analysis of the problem, designing the solution, the implementation, and the evaluation of the solution.
It is imperative to start, by deeply understanding the customer, defining solution success in customer words and then continuously looking to improve. Leaders need to drive the change by maintaining a customer-focused mindset in every communication and decision made. Leading organizations today are using open and collaborative approach to innovation. The collaboration here is not just within the design thinking team members but also with the customers - to deepen the customer understanding and increase the odds of success of the solution. An amalgamation of diverse perspectives can create something beautiful and altogether new.
I would say that design thinking is as much about mind shift as it is about innovation, and even though implementation might take a couple of years to find its ground, the solutions brought about by design thinking shall prove to strengthen relevance, application and most importantly sustainability in the coming days. I’d love to hear your thoughts, opinions and experiments with Design Thinking!