How to be a design-thinking framework
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Over the years, I have worked with at least 5,000 major world leaders in various sectors to guide them in their innovation process. As a seasoned consultant, I have seen that business leaders who embrace design thinking propel companies to business success. Design thinking is one approach that can help you and your business discover your competitive edge.
Many Fortune 500 companies have learned to integrate design thinking into their business. Now they are reaping the benefits on their business growth and bottom lines.
What is design thinking?
Design thinking is defined as an approach to solving problems by focusing on the needs of your customers using a wide variety of human-centered techniques. Customers are the lifeblood of your business. Therefore, by understanding their needs, you can create solutions that often lead to better products or services to benefit your customers.
In design thinking, innovation occurs at the point of convergence of desirability, viability and feasibility. Desirability refers to what is desirable for your customer, while viability refers to the economic viability of your business. On the other hand, feasibility relates to the feasibility of the idea with current technology.
Design thinking is not a new concept. It’s been around since the 1950s. In previous decades, most entrepreneurs paid little attention to how design thinking can help their businesses. Today, in the midst of a competitive market, many business owners are relying on design thinking to drive growth.
When we talk about design thinking, it is about being in shape or in shape. In one of my podcasts, I had the opportunity to chat with the ultimate leader in design thinking, Jim Hackett. Hackett is the former CEO of the Ford Company. He says there are many brands of microphones in the market, but why do people want to buy their brand over others?
Hackett gave an example using a garden with a red flower and a blue flower. You plant each one and quickly photograph the flowers throughout the summer. At the end of that summer, you noticed that they weren’t growing the same way. You might wonder why the blue flower grew faster than the red one. Hackett explained that something happened in his spread that gave the blue flower the advantage. It could be moisture, sunlight, or nutrients. This is why companies should think about design rather than competition: the blue flower benefited from the sunlight, while the red flower did not.
Related: Elon Musk’s Design Process Starts By Making Things ‘Less Dumb’
Importance of design thinking in business
Today there is an ocean of competition in the market and we are witnessing a shift in customer preferences. As a result, business organizations are constantly creating new products that resonate with changing customer preferences to increase their sales and stay relevant to their industry.
Every time a business develops a new product, it requires manpower, budget, and machinery. Business owners can attest that creating a new product is an expensive endeavor. Therefore, your new product must meet the needs of your customers to ensure a return on investment. By applying design thinking, you can focus your efforts on the solutions people really need.
In 2017, a leading global bank enlisted the help of my team to guide its top executives to become more competitive and active. We brought together the company’s top 500 executives, who were segmented according to the company’s seven strategic priorities, from technology to customer service. We used design thinking to help them understand first what the key issues are. Then we helped them discover key ideas related to this topic. Through various techniques of creativity and critical thinking, the business leaders of the company have managed to generate many different ideas. Then, by iteration, we helped them select the most promising ideas that will eventually become their product.
Thanks to design thinking, the World Bank has developed more than 50 new solutions that have accelerated initiatives in all areas of the business. Its business leaders successfully tested 14 projects that generated substantial income for the bank. The company has also developed several in-person and digital tools to forge closer emotional ties with its clients.
The World Bank’s experience only underscores the value of adopting design thinking in your business. He also stressed that design thinking should start with the top executives of the company.
Related: DIY Web Design Doesn’t Cut It. Here’s why.
Leaders must embrace design thinking
Design thinking is a proven approach to problem solving. However, design thinking must start at the top of the company and then spill over to other members of the organization. It is the role of managers to integrate design thinking into all business processes. They are responsible for helping to integrate it into their team’s DNA.
In addition, strong leadership is essential to implement design thinking in your business. The role of executives is essential in helping employees cope with the discomfort associated with design thinking. However, leaders can only guide other members of the organization if they embrace design thinking. You can never effectively preach something that you don’t believe in.
Hackett noted that among the challenges a design thinking leader will face, one of the most important is that no one seems to understand what you’re talking about at first. He recalled when he worked for a furniture company, he told the company that if the computer goes mobile, people will no longer need desks. Nowadays, with the advent of smartphones and tablets, your workstation no longer revolves around your desk. It revolves around your smart devices. Most people in the organization will not understand that the organization must transform and adapt to a world where everyone evolves with their IT.
As in a garden, you will observe that everything will compete for sunlight and humidity. So what do you do to gain an advantage? He pointed out that the plants will mutate to get more sun and humidity. So in business, you have to change your fitness to thrive. He noted that you need to realize that a product is fit for purpose, but it’s not. Organizations need design leaders to ensure that their product remains relevant to the ever-changing tastes of the consumer and business landscape.
Related: Design Thinking Isn’t a Process, It’s a State of Mind