The term design thinking refers to a creative methodology aimed at resolving problems and formulating innovative proposals and services. Rather than producing a product to satisfy an immediate need, a company is obliged to take into consideration the product’s future applications, in order to make it unique and attractive.
The need to provide clients with creative solutions is common to every business and sector. Design thinking can provide unusual approaches which are very effective when seeking solutions to meet this need. Companies, private individuals and freelances who try this approach, will find it an indispensable technique to help them get ahead in their respective fields.
The structure of the design thinking process
The design thinking process may be considered as a reinterpretation of the basic business school model of a triangle, in which the business is at the top, while people and technology form the base. In a creative vision, people are at the top, supported by technology and business at the base.
This means that the entrepreneur, freelance or whoever is seeking an innovative solution, must first consider how to resolve their client’s needs, which may be immediate or in the future.
Adopting the design thinking approach to resolve problems creatively is a winning choice which can really make a difference. The logical process in itself is not complex and can be summarised in three main phases.
- Understanding: the problem is analysed and its possible implications are explored. During this phase, empathy and definition are used to gain a more in-depth understanding of the question that needs to be answered.
- Exploration: possible solutions are explored, while thinking outside the usual patterns. The first ideas are put forward and the first prototypes
- Implementation: the solution becomes tangible, the necessary tests are carried out and, finally, the product is implemented and brought to the market.
Why businesses choose design thinking
Keeping up to date with an increasingly demanding market which is in constant transition, is fundamental for a business if it is to have any hope of success. Most companies have had to accept this fact and design thinking offers the best option to avoid being left behind. There are three main reasons why it is worth trying this methodology:
- Digital transformation is inevitable and unstoppable. It is therefore necessary to reinvent procedures and structures so that they are based on analytical thought, in order to offer efficient solutions without wasting resources;
- The advent of digitalisation has opened the door to a new explosion of entrepreneurial activity. New competitors appear every day, often equipped with innovative tools and original creative methods not to be underestimated;
- It offers growth opportunities, through the use of the new digital technologies. These can provide a chance to develop more efficient strategies, customised for the individual business.
Some examples of approaches in which design thinking is currently being applied are: Creative Problem Solving, Sprint Execution, Creative Confidence and Innovation of Meaning. These evolutions of creative thought are employed daily in a range of sectors, such as providing client services (service design), the creation of unique, versatile products, as well as the improvement of communication regarding legal procedures (legal design).
It soon becomes clear that design thinking is a precious instrument, which can and should be exploited in order to improve the services that companies can offer the public. Implementing this methodology is relatively straightforward and the results are assured.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith