December 8, 2016

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Design Thinking – A 21st century journey to Innovation

Without a question, innovation has become a vital tool in this highly competitive world where success and survival are at stake for existing businesses and startups. Knowing the fact that ‘Innovation’ is so important, can we really infuse creativity or innovation to a person or business? Wouldn’t it has been great if creativity and innovation could have been produced on demand? If you think, it is impossible, well! Then you need to familiarize yourself with Design Thinking.

Design Thinking is not just a concept of modern world ideation & innovation techniques, its an Art of Living.

Let’s explore the concept of Design Thinking within ourselves as it is an integral part of us. We all must have gone through a moment in our life when we mishandled a task and the next moment, thousands of suggestions were thrown… telling us, how we could have avoided the circumstances to control the result not to happen. Very similarly, we all must have also experienced a resonating applause in the ambience for executing something right. We are certainly blessed with a surrounding which consistently teaches us whether we are doing right or going wrong. We, then learn from our experiences, and develop the capabilities to improve upon results. In its most simplistic form, Design Thinking is nothing but continual learning and attempts to improve upon results. People do Design Thinking very often than they actually think they do it.

In the context of the modern business world, design thinking process is a procedural mechanism to innovate a practical solution, derived from the insights of a problem. A five steps process which is repetitively practiced until it produces the desired output. Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test are the basic building blocks of the Design Thinking concept. It starts with gaining empathy with those who you are designing for. Get into their shoes to see the problem as they see it. Ask open ended questions to understand the challenges and capture the findings. At the Empathy stage, you discover the needs and insights of the person or people associated with the targeted problem. Once the challenges are identified, define the problem clearly. The next step is to think through the problem to find a solution. One may find more than one solutions to address the problem. These solutions are the ideas that you have just ideated. Then shape your ideas into a prototype and offer it to those you designed for, to interact with. A simple prototype is much convenient to deliver the gist than a sophisticated solution on paper. Seek feedback about their experience with the prototype. It is the most important step in Design Thinking as it leverages the spectators to review the design to conclude if problem is really solved or not. Look at their feedbacks as opportunities, as feedback can provide insights you may have missed earlier. One cycle of Design Thinking is completed, but this is not it.

Hereafter, the continual improvement of the prototype takes place. Apply the same basic principles of Design Thinking in an iterative manner to improve upon user experience. The steps can go simultaneously; it is not required to be linear every time. The electronic notepad is a typical example of innovation based on insights of the paper notepad.

Hereafter, the continual improvement of the prototype takes place. Apply the same basic principles of Design Thinking in an iterative manner to improve upon user experience. The steps can go simultaneously; it is not required to be linear every time. The electronic notepad is a typical example of innovation based on insights of the paper notepad.

In short, Design Thinking is a tool for 21st century enterprise to innovate and grow their business by continually improving the design which is based on an idea of solving a problem. The innovation thus created will change the face of the new era of the technology.

References:

The author acquired the understanding of Design Thinking by attending 90-minute video-led cruise workshop made available by d.school (Institute of Design at Stanford). He also read an article published on Design Thinking in Forbes magazine.

The 90-minute video-led cruise workshop on Design Thinking by Institute of Design at Stanford can be accessed at below link

(https://dschool.stanford.edu/dgift/)

The Forbes magazine article on Design Thinking, “Design Thinking: A Unified Framework For Innovation” can be accessed at below link

(http://www.forbes.com/sites/reuvencohen/2014/03/31/design-thinking-a-unified-framework-for-innovation/#1893cfc756fc)