Updated: Apr 6
You've probably heard the term "design thinking" nowadays, as innovation is critical to corporate success and growth.
While design thinking is a methodology founded on designers' workflows for mapping out design stages, its objective is to equip all professionals with a structured innovation process for developing creative solutions, whether or not they are design-related.
The term "innovation" refers to a product, process, service, or business model that demonstrates two essential characteristics: New and, most importantly, Usable. There is no use in developing something fresh and novel if no one would use it. Design thinking provides innovation with the necessary boost to create meaningful and enduring ideas.
So, what is design thinking and why is it beneficial for working professionals?
Design thinking is a way of thinking and approaching problems and innovations that is centered on human-centered design.
This methodology is distinct from other creativity and ideation processes as it is solution-oriented and centered on the user rather than the problem. This means it focuses on the solution to a problem rather than on the problem itself.
The initial and most critical element of design thinking is to develop empathy for users. By gaining a better knowledge of the individual affected by a problem, you can create a more effective solution.
The four phases of effective invention, and by extension, design thinking, are as follows.
The first step is all about narrowing the design thinking process's focus. It entails defining the problem statement to arrive at the optimal solution. This is accomplished by observation and taking the time to discover the nature of the problem.
Numerous methods and frameworks are accessible — and frequently required — for the purpose of making concrete observations about users and information gleaned from research. Regardless of the instruments used, the critical point is to observe without making assumptions or having preconceived ideas.
Once you've gathered data from your observations, the following step is to shape insights by framing them. This is the point where you can wander into abstraction by rephrasing the problem as a statement or question.
After a problem statement or query has been solidified, you have to dive into creativity. At this stage, you can employ a technique such as systematic inventive thinking (SIT), which is beneficial for developing a creative process that can be duplicated in the future.
The objective is to eventually overcome cognitive rigidity and generate new and innovative solutions to your recognized problems. Continue to avoid making assumptions.
The third step entails conceptual development by examining a variety of prospective solutions. This process involves numerous rounds of prototyping, testing, and experimenting in order to address crucial questions concerning the viability of a proposal.
Bear in mind that this step is not about perfection but about experimenting with various concepts and determining which components work and which do not.
Implementation is the fourth and final step when the entire process comes together. As a continuation of the Create phase, implementation begins with testing, reflection on outcomes, reiteration, and testing again. This may necessitate returning to a previous stage and iterating and refining until a successful answer is discovered. This is a recommended technique because design thinking is frequently a nonlinear, iterative process.
During this phase, don't forget to communicate outcomes with stakeholders and reflect on the innovation management tactics used throughout the design thinking process. Learning from experience is a whole separate innovation and design thinking project.
UberEats' Walkabout Program is a prime example of utilizing design thinking methodology, in which designers examine cities in which the company operates. They explore food culture, cuisine, infrastructure, delivery processes, and transportation, among other things.
One of the innovations born from their immersive study is the driver app, which focuses on the pain points of delivery partners when it comes to parking in densely packed urban locations.
The driver app offers step-by-step directions from restaurant to customer as a solution, ensuring that delivery operations run smoothly.
Recognizing that pain points differ by geographic region enables UberEats to create successful service updates that address issues in specific locations.