Design thinking is a new complex business development strategy.
The beginning of 2021 has expectedly brought a lot of new tendencies into the business world – starting from one-day concepts, to worthy ideas and mechanisms that have already appealed to market leaders in various industries.
Design thinking directly relates to such ambitious and at the same time simple truth.
Let’s first talk about the name:
Design thinking bears no relation to the thoughts of design, it is a complex strategy.
Classical design that is well known to all the market participants has a tactical role: to develop an exciting idea and wrap it up in attractive wrapping paper. Basically, design is a tool to make customers more interested in the product, thus increasing the sales and the final profit of the company.
In the term “design thinking” itself design plays another strategic role. This term reflects a principally new approach to the process of idea formation, its testing, and implementation. The concept of design thinking is an innovative process as a natural part of any business-organism, in other words, creation of innovations is not a final goal, but just the most efficient and rational way to solve a problem that cannot be solved otherwise.
People always play the most important role, the innovative approach in design thinking is based on profound and comprehensive analysis of people’s needs and development of more efficient solutions, formed in the process of this analysis.
Design thinking today is thought as opposed to brainstorming, that is being criticized for inconsistency and low productivity. Brainstorming can give a large number of ideas, but all of them would be similar to a dozen paths that lead somewhere unknown. On the contrary, design thinking suggests taking just one path that has a very clear direction, and its task is to facilitate the process of getting to the final goal in the most efficient way.
Thus, the primary concept of design thinking, as a sheer creative approach, crumbles, since it is in reality an analytical search for creating a new strategy. Let’s remember a quote of a man who brought the light bulb into the world “Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration”
Examples of design thinking
The most vivid example of design thinking is Kaiser Permanente company that manages 5 high-quality medical clinics. The management aimed to improve the quality of client services. For this purpose, various specialists have been selected, namely, nurses, young and experienced doctors, managers and even marketologists. They all have been explained in detail the purpose of design thinking.
After three-week monitoring and surveys of both the staff and the clients there has been discovered a weak spot in their service – the time of the shift change. There were 45 minutes when the patients felt left alone while nurses were exchanging the information about them orally and in the medical journals, and such things as the visits of relatives, little happy moments and the moments of disappointment were left without any attention.
There has been empirically developed a computerized method of recording the information on the patients with an opportunity to add, comment and update it. This has allowed to shorten the time on “filling the new shift in” twice and has significantly improved the relationships between the patients and the staff.
Stages of design thinking
The classical algorithm of design thinking consists of seven stages, but after grouping them there are just three steps in the way to achieving the goal.
” Inspiration. This includes defining the problem and the research. At this stage in an organic way, meaning without gathering a special team for the brainstorming, there have been discovered weak spots that need innovative improvement. Afterwards there is a comprehensive study of the problem. In our example it is about the desire to improve the quality of the service – monitoring clinics work and surveys.
” Emergence of idea. This includes the formation of an idea and its prototyping. Here, since we already know the cause of the weak spot, the only thing left to be done is to fix the situation in the most efficient and quick way. The process of searching for solutions is a constant development of “working models”. In our example, it is defining the reasons of the weak spots that were the challenges of sharing the information between the employees, and the attempts to improve the communication mechanism between the staff.
” Implementation. This includes choosing the best solution, its implementation and evaluation. When the favorite models can be noticed among the working ones, it is time to implement the idea in reality and for further evaluation of the results. It is also important to understand that the implementation of the idea is not the achievement of the goal, but another step towards the organic development of the business project. In our example, it is the development of an electronic system of information recording with an opportunity to add, update and comment it, along with an accurate evaluation of whether this solution has actually improved the situation.
These three main stages have to be thought of as parallel states that justify natural innovative process which is the distinctive feature of design thinking.
Where is design thinking used?
Design thinking is implemented in all business spheres. Naturally, in modern world IT companies play the tremendous role. Being the most progressive and having the biggest innovation potential they will have to make many ideas directed to improve the quality of life of a modern person come true.
Design thinking completely destroys the myth that genius ideas only come to the greatest minds at times of mystical insights, it is only fair for one in a million. The main idea and the strategic value of design thinking is that it reflects the real essence of an innovative process as a natural state of any living business-organism.
Let’s again, remember Thomas Edison, that is true that he created the light bulb, but the importance of his discovery basically lies in the generation and transmission of the power. The genius inventor forwarded his ingenuity in the direction of helping people, trying to understand and satisfy their needs. He worked in a team, he failed plenty of times, but he realized that it itself was the way forward. That is the core of design thinking.