The Power of Design Thinking

Whether or not you think you need a UX (user experience) strategy to conduct business, you have customers and they are King! Learn to refine your interactions with customers until they become effortless. Design thinking can help structure your iterative innovation processes to focus your efforts on satisfying the customer while balancing technical feasibility and economic viability. 

The business landscape shifts like sand, from one day to the next a product can go from sought after to irrelevant, do you even know what a fax machine does? Innovation and intrapreneurship have become crucial elements for organizations aiming to stay competitive and relevant. At the heart of these concepts (innovation and intrapreneurship) lies "design thinking," a new (or maybe old) way to “solve problems and create world changing innovations."

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is a human-centric approach to problem-solving that encourages empathy, ideation, prototyping, and feedback. Customers have every option in the world, literally. Creating a product they might choose is a question of inviting them to participate in the innovation process and being willing to re-iterate and re-build as many times as necessary.

Roger Martin, author and Dean of Rotman School of Management, says design thinking starts with “integrative thinking” which involves leveraging conflicting concepts and constraints in order to generate innovative solutions. This is the very nature of divergent thinking. New connections and new possibilities can result in new ways of solving problems.


The key principles of design thinking

1. Empathy and collaboration: 

While ‘design’ might be associated with aesthetics and ergonomics, design thinking is about what people need or might need. It starts with contextual and cultural understanding of users' pain points and desires through observation, interviews, and immersion. This approach enables teams to gain valuable insights and develop a deep understanding of the problem they are trying to solve.

Consumers want to be recognized by brands, either by name or through their habits. Improving the customer experience is one of the main goals of innovation strategies. Digital transformation enables companies to learn more about the user by tracking data from their interactions. Following this, companies can prove that they are the right match for the individual while recommendations can boost transaction values. 

2. Ideation: 

The next phase involves generating a multitude of ideas without judgment. Teams are encouraged to think outside the box, pushing the boundaries of conventional solutions. Crazy ideas are welcomed, as they can often lead to breakthroughs. It helps to have a solid grasp of divergent thinking here. 

In improvised theatre games there is a game called “Yes! And…” where participants are not allowed to say “no” or “but” in response to another actor. They must respond with “Yes! And…” to continue the developing scene. This game results in some of the most bizarre and unexpected story lines. Imagine you are not allowed to say “no” or “but” in the ideation phase, no idea is too far-fetched.

3. Prototyping and iteration: 

Design thinking advocates creating quick, low-cost prototypes to test and validate ideas. This allows teams to gather feedback early on, identify flaws, and refine their concepts with each iteration. 

This is possibly the most important principle in design thinking. “Build to think” as it is known is the process of learning by making. Ideas can only evolve as quickly as you are able to prototype. 


The power(s) of design thinking

First Power: Fosters Innovation

Design thinking is a powerful tool for fostering innovation within organizations. By focusing on the end-users, design thinking helps companies identify unmet needs and untapped opportunities. This user-centric approach often leads to products and services that resonate deeply with customers, increasing the chances of success in the market.

Second Power: Transforms Organizational Cultures

Design thinking encourages a culture of experimentation and risk-taking. Employees are empowered to explore new ideas without fear of failure, promoting a creative and open environment that nurtures innovation.

Third Power: Facilitates Intrapreneurship

Intrapreneurship refers to the entrepreneurial spirit within an organization, where employees act as "in-house entrepreneurs," driving innovation and growth. Design thinking aligns perfectly with this concept as it encourages employees to think like entrepreneurs.

When employees are trained in design thinking principles, they become better at identifying opportunities, envisioning innovative solutions, and navigating uncertainties. They can proactively address challenges and propose new ideas that align with the organization's vision, mission, and objectives.

Fourth Power: Turns Failure into Learnings

Design thinking encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration and a willingness to iterate and learn from failures. Every invalidated idea is an opportunity to gather more data. Every dissatisfied customer is a chance to refine the problem question and look for undiscovered solutions. Every new challenge is a different vantage to view the problem from.

Fifth Power: Makes the Customer a Collaborator

By engaging repeatedly with customers for feedback and input, innovators can iterate quickly and move closer to solving customers’ pain points. Understanding your customers’ perspective and cultural reality will also fuel more effective solutions. Kodak is the universal example of a brand unwilling to follow their customers. 

Sixth Power: Holds the tension

Ultimately, design thinking is about holding the customers’ desires in balance with what is technically or practically feasible and what could be economically viable. This tension guides designers to create incredible innovations that can shift an entire generation. People born after 2000 have never known life without a mobile phone. The many innovations and iterations that it took has resulted in a completely different way of life in 2023. 

Design thinking as a map for innovating has many other super-powers. Embrace the process and let it work for you.


Embrace the powers of design thinking and promote innovation in your company. If you're rready to transform your business in all aspects, then reach out to us.

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