February 28, 2017

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Design Thinking: An Infinite Source of New Opportunities

Co-author: Bharath Kumar Gowda

People, processes and technology are the three main pillars for any product or solution, and all three revolve must around the customer. However, as organizations explore new service areas based on emerging technology and consumer demands, they are facing unfamiliar and complex problems. Here, the theory of design thinking comes into play – conceptualizing multi-dimensional solutions for any problem and becoming a productive tool for any industry. This results in a development process that not only makes innovative products and services for customers, but also achieves overarching process and productivity enhancement for enterprise operations.

Design thinking can transform operations across all departments, enabling businesses to become lean and profitable

Design thinking philosophy opens up a window of opportunities – evoking exciting new ideas and creating solutions that address unfulfilled needs. For informed decisions and faster execution, design thinking can be a driver of scientific solution strategies at the product/service development stage. At the organization level, innovative ideas create the demand for technology that better translates into outcomes – leading to exponential growth and ROI. Some of the highlights of design thinking driven ideas are – empathy, integrated solutions, failing early & often, and resolving ambiguity. These are key customer centric factors for any business.

In a 2008 presentation to the User-Experience community at Yahoo! Roger L. Martin, author of The Opposable Mind, pointed out that UX research team must think differently from purely business teams, such as product management. One team will use the perfect methodology and another will think in terms of validity, while at the same time a third may think in terms of reliability – this is how overall customer data needs to be represented.

Here’s a quote that sums it up: “The best leaders actually encourage contradictory points of view, so they can generate a creative resolution that contains elements of the opposing ideas, but that is superior to each.”

Stakeholders must ensure free flow of ideas within the organisational chain which can ignite the innovative ideas required for design thinking .requires. The reason why design thinking is so valuable for UX-driven organizations is that the designs reflect our thought process – uncovering latent ideas and opportunities. It is easy to disagree with a theory – we need to show that we can think outside the box, and depict our vision through great design visualizations.

HCL’s Contribution to the Design Thinking Philosophy:

Handling multiple projects from different industries, HCL is recognized for simple, cost/quality effective and easy-to-use rich interfaces, approved and recommended via a user experience-centric design model.

The stages of design-driven development are:

  1. Planning & Research:

    Research is defined as getting enough data for a given task by simulating the many approaches by which the task may be accomplished. This contains documents, requirement analysis, competitor analysis, UI reviews, and other parameters.

  2. Designing:

    After all approaches are approved, project design can be initiated – this includes wireframes, visual design, information architecture, and interaction designing. Essentially, it encompasses ideating and conceptualizing a solution.

  3. Deliverable Engineering:

    The objective of this phase is to deliver the complete development codes – including templates, CSS & HTML5 pages and front end codes.

  4. Evaluation:

    This is the final stage, where the product or the code is given for planning & testing. Any recommendations after testing must be recoded/reincorporated for final deliverable execution.

Design thinking is an infinite source of opportunity, for customer centric solutions that embrace a holistic approach. In many businesses, projects or teams which lack customer focus often fail – applying design thinking realigns design focus to customer needs, ensuring market success for all solutions.

Ultimately, design thinking requires a fundamental shift in our approach to design and business problem resolution – it is essential that we channel the values of design thinking into every aspect of our lives.