Over the years, design thinking has been the secret sauce of many brands including Apple, GE, and Samsung.

Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve problems and find desirable solutions for clients. It can also be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs.

Design thinking is a solution-based thinking. It makes you forget about your own assumptions and intentions. It turns the question “what will my company get from this?” to “how will we help our customers and change their lives for the better?”

design thinking for business

Key Elements of Design Thinking

Empathy

Design thinking is a human-centered method. Your customers are the core of your business model. To create a product or service that will benefit them, you need an emphatic understanding of their needs. Empathy also lets you understand better the problem you’re trying to solve.

This involves observation and deep research. It’s like doing the basics of Anthropology. You observe people and their environment, then empathize to uncover their needs.

Identifying the problem

Once you gathered enough information, you have to put them all together to see the problem. This is where you connect the dots and look for the pattern. What are their usual pain points? What are the common factors that contribute to the problem? This approach can also open your eyes to overlooked issues.

When you identify the problem, keep it human-centered. Don’t think about how you’ll profit from the problem. Focus on how you can solve it and improve the situation of your customers.

Ideation

This is where collaboration and freedom come in. Since the core problem is already identified, you and your team are ready to generate ideas. The best thing about design thinking is that it encourages free thinking. It allows everyone to forget about the box and think out of it. Brainstorming is an ideal technique. Mind mapping is also an outstanding approach. 

Prototype

The unified ideas of your team will inspire a rough draft of the solution. This is where experimentation happens. Your team will work together to create and test the prototype. Several trials might be needed, but don’t let it discourage you. Don’t be afraid of failure. Failure is the best teacher and it tells you where you went wrong.

design thinking elements

Implementation

Launching the final product to the market doesn’t end the process. You have to gather feedback and seek the opinion of your customers. A perfect product doesn’t exist, but you can always improve it. Listening to feedback will shape your future ideas and will inspire you to release an even better product.

Why design thinking is beneficial to your company

Design thinking is an excellent method for small and big companies. Here are the reasons why it should be the core of your business.

1. Design thinking and its humanized approach strengthen your company’s brand and values. Your employees will be inspired to serve the customers better. This can also build a solid relationship between the company and customers.

2. Design thinking creates a valuable product. Empathy allows you to see the problem in a different view. This lets you come up with a more helpful solution that has an impact on people’s lives.

3. Design thinking encourages collaboration and creativity. It brings the team together and drives them to work as one. And since there’s no strict structure to follow, it also lets them build exciting ideas.

4. Design thinking is experimental. The method allows you to test the product first before putting it out in public. This saves your company from unsatisfied customers and pointless products.

Helpful tips for a successful design thinking

1. Invite everyone in your company to participate. Every idea counts. Encourage every department and employee to voice out their ideas.

2. Avoid multitasking during brainstorming sessions. Let the team focus on the creative process. Distractions can block their creativity.

3. Avoid judging. Treasure every single idea and avoid making fun of unusual or complex ones. Judging will discourage the other members to speak and share their views. Also, even the craziest idea can be molded to a better one with the help of other ideas.

4. Make it fun. You can hold games during the creative process. Break the employees into teams and organize a contest. You might also want to give prizes to encourage them to participate.

5. Celebrate the small achievements. Design thinking can be a long method. To keep the spirit of the team up, take note of the small accomplishments. Did your team come up with exciting ideas today? Or are they more focused compared yesterday? Let them know that they did an amazing job. This will motivate and inspire them to do better.

6. Read and expand your knowledge about design thinking. There loads of books that can sharpen your approach, like Change by Design by Tim Brown, and Human-Centered Design by IDEO.

Do you use design thinking for your business? What are the other tips you want to add? Tell us in the comments.

###

Make your organization more efficient and effective by upgrading your team’s skills.

NextStep Workshops delivers professional training and workshops to help you accelerate your business and career.

Partner with us!

Contact us today and get to know more about our workshops!

 

SHARE

Rose Tornandeso is a freelance writer from the Philippines. Aside from writing for NextStep, she also enjoys writing fictions. When she’s not chasing deadlines, she plays legos with her son and visits art galleries.