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What is Design Thinking and how to use it for your business

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Discover and apply Design Thinking as a methodology to favor innovation and the resolution of challenges in your business.

In a business world as dynamic as the one we have today, incorporating support mechanisms for strategic planning becomes a competitive advantage.

Using interactive processes to understand customer needs, approach problems from a different angle, as well as discover and act on effective solutions for any situation, are some of the benefits of implementing Design Thinking.

What is Design Thinking about?

Design Thinking is a methodology originally used for product design. It is based on the creative way in which a designer thinks when creating his proposals. Currently, this model has been adopted by companies to facilitate decision-making at any level.

The logical process of Design Thinking is ideal for creating products and services, developing business ideas, as well as improving processes. Through a set of principles and practices, this approach is especially used to solve different problems creatively.

One of the most important promoters of Design Thinking is Tim Brown, an English industrial designer, professor at the Stanford School of Engineering and co-founder of the international design and innovation consultancy IDEO.

Brown defines this discipline as “a human-centered approach to innovation that draws on the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the capabilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”

Steps to implement Design Thinking

To apply Design Thinking, it is necessary to go through several divergent stages in which a large amount of information is collected, in the same way as convergent stages to narrow down the phases.

1. Empathize

Empathy has to do with putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. In the case of companies, it could be understood as looking from the perspective of the user or customer.

It is necessary to know their needs, tastes and desires in depth in order to offer the right solution that meets their requirements. Using techniques such as the Customer Journey is very useful when trying to inquire about the experience of customers regarding the use of a product or service.

2. Define

In this step, it is necessary to determine which is the problem that must be solved in order to achieve the business objectives successfully.

A scheme that helps to define the problem is the construction of the phrase User + Need + Finding known as Point of View (POV). The POV is established in consensus with the work team.

3. Think

Opening up to different possibilities and scenarios, however extravagant they may be, is vital at this point. Thinking of thousands of solutions including multiple actors who approach the situation from various angles facilitates this process. Brainstorming and mind mapping can be of great help at this time.

To advance to the next step, proposals are selected based on criteria such as: economic feasibility, technical feasibility and desirability on the part of users.

4. Prototype

It’s time to shape ideas, build tangible models that represent possible solutions in the real world. Prototypes can be made up of illustrations, sketches, 3D models or representations. It is important to minimize the consumption of the amount of resources and time at this stage, taking what works and discarding the rest.

5. Test

It is here where the prototype is made known to different users so that they can test it. Learning, changing and improving are aspects to consider during testing. From here, the necessary adjustments can be made to create the final product or concept.

It is important to mention that the implementation of Design Thinking is not linear or definitive. In fact, the team is constantly open to deepening empathy, redefining the problem, including ideas, and even picking up discarded prototypes at some point.

In the end, the important thing is to find the most optimal solution, which often turns out to be innovative. The power of Design Thinking is focused on being able to go beyond established paradigms and thus creatively rethink products, services, experiences and internal business processes.

Have you heard about this methodology? In what situations would you apply it? Tell us on social media.