Design Thinking helps you discover the right problems to solve, then create solutions where you believed none were possible.

Design Thinking has become a key competitive strategy. Here’s why.

  • Systems are more complex than ever before and can reach massive, even global, scale.

  • Connected customers expect better services at lower cost; staff expect better tools to deliver those services.

  • Digital disruption is forcing organisations to discover new ways to deliver value and retain loyalty.

  • Exponential technologies, like AI and robotics, offer amazing new opportunities – if you can work out how to exploit them.

Successful design thinking teams follow a key process: Human-Centred Design. It has four steps.

  • Empathise. See the problem from diverse points of view, so you can make a service that works for the people who will use it. Understanding human needs and goals will take your thinking beyond organisational silos and technical systems. Working directly with the people you’re designing for provides the inspiration you need create new ideas grounded in reality.

  • Define. Map out the problems space with journey maps, mental models, ecosystem maps, customer stories. Then define the problem you want to solve, along with its constraints and insights.

  • Ideate. The best ideas come from leaps of intuition, not just logical deduction. Generate lots of choices, before you make a choice. Use proven techniques for generating ideas – well formed games and activities that go far beyond brainstorming.

  • Make and test. Making mockups pushes your ideas further and makes things that seem crazy suddenly seem possible. Trying out ideas on colleagues, stakeholders, and target customers lets you gather impartial feedback and “get out of your own head.” Watch, listen, learn. Then change and improve your ideas. They’ll end up far better.

Design thinking takes a new mindset. As people practise it, they’ll build the culture of creativity they need to produce real innovation.

  • Curiosity and optimism: Explore and build on people’s ideas, rather than criticising them to destruction

  • Bias towards action: To learn fast, make things and try them out, rather than discussing them in the abstract

  • Collaboration: Bring people together who normally work in a linear flow and might not usually meet. Put them in the circular flow of the HCD process and you’ll see new perspectives and results

  • Reframing: Work to discover new perspectives on the problem that needs to be solved.

  • Mindfulness of process: The process and techniques are there to help the team succeed. Work with them, not against them.