Companies often talk about the term design thinking, but is it as useful as we think ? How does it work ?
It was a time when most products sold in stores were designed and produced, without really answering any clients’ need. in other words, the producers would create something, and then associate it to a specific segment. Unfortunately (or fortunately), that time does not exist anymore. Yes, now we need to understand the needs of people around us before making any move ! And it is where we make use of the design thinking.
This approach might seem both complicated and easily adopted in companies and for every market. As a proof, we could look at the well-known company Ideo, which back in 1999 made use of the design thinking while working on their project “reimagining the Shopping Cart”. One of the main point to remember is that this method imply the customers all along the creation of the product/service, as well as a collaboration with all the necessary experts (from outside or inside of the firm). In other words, doing so means we are implementing a co-creation strategy. To better understand all of that, here is an illustration of the guideline to follow for a design thinking to work (other similar approaches exist, to obtain the same result):
As clearly demonstrated, the design thinking is made of 5 steps. However, we can simplify it by separating them in 2 main phases. Those 2 parts are as simple as that : there is a problem (empathize + define), to which we need to find a solution (ideate + prototype + test). Here are the details of those 5 steps:
- Empathize : the aim is to observe and understand how people behave in a specific situation, to think how they think in order to learn the world they live in. The most important point here is to disconnect from your usual way of thinking and point of view, to exactly identify the needs of your potential customers. Many tools are available during this process, such as the Customer Journey Mapping.
- Define : as you can imagine, at this stage you define the problematic. For that, you need to gather all the information/ideas created during the previous step. For an efficient result, the defined problem should be precise and realistic. Moreover, you should be sure that each participant is on the same page regarding the problem to be solved.
- Ideate : Now the development of a solution begins. for this third phase, it is time to be creative and to give ideas that could solve the problem. It is also here that we put into action the Brainstorming. During the ideation, the candidates should freely share and express their ideas/creativty to others. The aim is to encourage everyone be get involved into the creation of the solutions.
- Prototype : at this point, all the ideas of solutions are combined in order to create prototypes. Here, you are not trying to create the one and only right version of the prototype, yet rather several versions that can best answer to the problematic that needs to be solved. It means that you are working on various prototype that will help you realise a final and real one after that.
- Test : when the “perfect” variant of the prototype has been decided, you will need to teste it. The objective is to receive as much feedback as possible from the users, to optimise it and insure a final product perfectly adapted to your client’s needs.
The process of the design thinking made of 5 steps is not executed in a linear period of time. Indeed, sometimes you will need to go back and forth so that you can ameliorate your project as much as possible. It is a well-known method, used by many companies around the globe, so do not hesitate to use it !