Design Thinking As A Strategy For Innovation

By adopting the idea of design thinking, businesses can lean towards designing apps or products which can solve complex problems while being innovative in its own right.

The concept of design thinking is the latest to join the list of frequently used buzzwords at the workplace. The words associate themselves with the development of innovative strategies, which, if executed well, can positively impact business outcomes and lead to competitive advantages in the market. But before going into detail about design thinking’s impact on creating innovative strategies, let’s understand what the concept is all about.

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is an iterative process that aims to understand the user, the challenges they face, and their preferences in detail. Based on that information, the team working on the product can devise strategies and create solutions, which can only be possible with a detailed level of understanding about their intended consumer base. In other words, design thinking promotes a solution-based approach to solving problems, rather than being product-oriented, while staying unaware of their consumers’ demands.

Another reason why design thinking is taking precedence at creative workplaces is that employees working on the product develop empathy towards their users. They take a keen interest in understanding their targeted audience for whom they are designing the products or services.

What problems do our customers face? Why are they facing these challenges? What are the current solutions for it in the market? How will our product be different and better than the available solutions? What will be the implications of releasing this product? These are some questions a team faces while working on a project. The answer to these questions lies in brainstorming sessions and adopting a hands-on approach to prototyping and testing new ideas before settling on one.

Moreover, contrary to popular belief, the term ‘design thinking’ isn’t just limited to designers. It encompasses every team member from different professional backgrounds that actively work on a product.

So, how is design thinking different from the term ‘design’? Let’s understand the distinction between the two.

How is design thinking distinct from design?

If one tries to understand the mindset of a designer, they will notice that the process of creating a design is non-linear. They create and change their design as they go along until they create a product that aligns with their creative vision. It is a product-oriented approach. However, there is no such luxury in design thinking.

Apart from imagination and intuition, design thinking also depends on systematic and logical reasoning for exploring various avenues on how customers can benefit from the product. Every ounce of analysis and imagination gets channeled into creating a solution-focused and customer-oriented product.

Design thinking also focuses on creating a product that not only meets the present consumer demand but also acts as an innovative solution for improving the future. How is it possible? By meeting every reasonable demand of the target audience. After all, the ultimate purpose of design thinking is to improve the quality of life for the consumer.

For its emphasis on customer-oriented approach, design thinking plays a significant role in devising strategies for innovation. Let’s take a look at the process involved.

How design thinking influence strategies for innovation?

Whether it is the photo-sharing app Instagram or the cross-platform messaging app Whatsapp, the greatest technological ideas have always had the simplest premise. It is because the creators of these apps understood the psychology of their consumers. They know that people want their interactions with apps and other forms of technologies to be simple, intuitive, and pleasurable. The app’s user experience should resonate deeply with users, which in turn will reflect the business’s human touch.

Because of the above-mentioned principles, apps such as Instagram and Whatsapp are by-products of Disruptive Innovation. Unlike Incremental Innovation, which focuses on improving features of an existing product, Disruptive Innovation intends to disrupt the current marketing practices by releasing a new product with contemporary features. An example of this concept would be OLA Cabs, which changed the face of the taxi business in India. The app functioned on a simple but effective idea - make traveling a comfortable experience.

This idea is a classic example of the problem-finding approach, where OLA took a proactive decision to seek out the commute problems of their targeted audience. Accordingly, they positioned their app as a solution to these problems. This approach requires a nuanced level of creative understanding - an area where the concept of design thinking can deliver significantly impressive solutions.

From discovering an app idea to researching its market and competitors, followed by ideation, iteration, prototyping, testing, and finally delivering the app, design thinking gives an operational framework for a creative and innovative approach towards designing. It solves complex human-centered challenges and promotes smart decision-making, which are the perfect ingredients for a successful strategy.

By adopting the idea of design thinking, businesses can lean towards designing apps or products which can solve complex problems while being innovative in its own right. After all, a satisfied consumer bodes well for business.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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