WHAT IS DESIGN THINKING?
Many of our clients ask, “What is design thinking?”
Simply put, design thinking is an in-depth process that, once complete, leaves the innovators with a solid outline of who your customer actually is and what they want.
In other words, by using design thinking techniques, you not only develop a deeper understating of the problem, you also uncover a groundbreaking solution that will solve it.
USING DESIGN THINKING TO DEVELOP GROUNDBREAKING SOLUTIONS
There are solutions, and then there are groundbreaking solutions. To actually solve a problem for the long term, you need the groundbreaking solution.
Design thinking can help you develop that groundbreaking solution that will deeply connect with the people who are using your products or services.
Different people who interact with your products or services are referred to in different ways. In the IT world, such as web or app development, they may be referred to as users. In retail, they might be called shoppers, buyers, or customers. In professional services, they’re usually known as clients. For the purpose of this article, we’ll refer to everyone who interacts with your brand as customers.
Many times during the initial phases of the design thinking process, we discover that the way our customers define their problems and solutions is very different than what they actually need.
To further illustrate this point, consider this well-known sentiment from Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
This idea clearly defines the difference between perceived problems and solutions, and actual problems and the needed solution. By using design thinking, Ford discovered that a faster horse wasn’t the real solution for people’s travel woes, but that the automobile was actually what they needed.
Design thinking techniques that led to the automotive revolution are still in practice today, and can be applied to any industry or organizational problem in order to develop customer-centric innovations – otherwise known as real solutions.
4 STEPS TO DEVELOPING DESIGN THINKING INNOVATIONS
1. DEFINE THE PROBLEM
During this initial step, observation from every angle possible is key to defining the actual problem. This involves talking to every possible stakeholder, including multiple buyers, non-buyers, internal employees, and others whom you might not have thought would have insight into discovering the underlying issue.
This involves more than surveys or questionnaires. We need to have real conversations with real people, and then cross-examine every piece of feedback we receive to fully understand the bigger picture.
2. CREATE IDEAS… LOTS OF THEM
To build better experiences, we need to forget our preconceived notions and develop open-minded ideas. In other words, we not only need to know who our customers are, we have to understand what makes them tick.
During this stage, there is no such thing as a bad idea. Brainstorming as many ideas as possible with the entire team is necessary to get the maximum number of perspectives. When we open our mind to as many ideas as we can, opportunities and innovations begin to appear that might lead to the real solution. Design thinking is, at its core, a team effort.
3. REFINE THE FINDINGS
Now that we’ve defined the problem and collected our ideas, we now review and boil down the findings to come up with the real solution.
This involves prototyping, testing, and innovating, followed by breaking down and prototyping the solution again and again until we create the most viable, results-focused options to move to the final phase.
4. FINAL TESTING AND EXECUTION
During this final step, we experiment with every different idea, iterating each step of the way and refining the solution until we have something that drives the most results. At that point, we can install and implement the new changes that will drive your business into a superior mode of growth.
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PointPath has offices in London and Toronto, Ontario, Canada