You’ll just need a pencil and a piece of paper.
The best place to get the official definition is from Tim Brown, the President, and CEO of IDEO, a design consulting firm founded in 1991 out of models developed out of the Stanford Design School. Brown sums it up like this:
Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requires for business success.
Why all the fuss about IDEO? Here’s why. While Design Thinking was a thing before IDEO formed in 1991, it’s one of the firms that ushered Design Thinking into the mainstream through the creation of methodologies and materials translatable into business. Throughout all their efforts, “…they have allowed those not schooled in design methodology to quickly and easily become oriented with the process.”
Another thing you should know about IDEO is they firmly believe that “[i]nnovation starts with people.” Innovation for Growth is all about using people, and the ingenuity of the human spirit to perpetuate change.
If you need a little more prodding to take the quiz, this classic 1999 segment featured on Nightline on the US’s ABC network gives you a hint of what using design thinking can bring you. Nearly 20 years later, this video still gets played as a case study in classes on teamwork and Design Thinking:
All the questions are YES/NO questions.
If most of your answers saw you giving yourself two points, it’s clear that you should look into Design Thinking as you take on a challenge at work. Even if you didn’t get as close to a perfect 14 points, design thinking certainly merits a more intimate look or a dry run. How can we convince you?
First, here are some cold, hard numbers as evidence. According to a Design Management Institute assessment from 2014, design-led companies outperformed companies listed on the S&P 500 by 219%. Just who are these design-led corporations? The famous names include Apple, IBM, Whirlpool, Nike, Procter&Gamble, and Coca-Cola.
While the word “design” appears to imply a focus on objects, that’s not necessarily the case. And this is why, despite the fact you might be working in a service-based corporation, design thinking could be worth your while. In fact, “[o]rganizations now want to learn how to think like designers, and apply design principles to the workplace itself. Design thinking is at the core of effective strategy development and organizational change.”
When thinking about the targets of an initiative, design thinking helps whatever comes out of these efforts to be more attractive to the intended user, regardless of it being a product or service.
The Design Thinking process, which varies in the number of steps based on the number sources, involves, according to the Stanford Design School model, some critical steps:
The empathy phase requires you to get in touch with your consumer, so you may have to play the part of a focus group, conducting field interviews out on the street, creating buyer personas, and figuring out how the people you are looking to impact could be affected by the outcome. After empathizing, you can define more questions raised from the results of your fieldwork. While prototyping and testing give you the chance to develop a raw version of what comes out of the earlier phases and further refine the idea, ideation requires in-depth exploration. No idea should immediately get discarded; however, this middle step is where the good ideas should get separated from the bad.
Lastly, another fabulous benefit of Design Thinking, which is undoubtedly a benefit for those leaders always taking financials as an essential decision-making criterion for adopting efforts, is the fact that it helps to decrease the change and unpredictability that come about from innovation. This comes from the fact that design thinking, in the epicenter of its process, involves “…engaging customers or users through a series of prototypes to learn, test and refine concepts. Design thinkers rely on customer insights gained from real-world experiments, not just historical data or market research.”
If you’re eager to know more about the Innovation for Growth HiOP, click here for your copy of our informational brochure. And if you’re set on joining us in our next intake, get started on your application.