Design Thinking: The methodology for successful innovation

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Written by: Natalia De la Peña Frade
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Innovation is the key that opens the door to success, and design thinking provides a method for achieving innovative solutions. Discover the foundations of design thinking and how to put this methodology into practice. Spoiler: it works!

What is Design Thinking? 

It’s a methodology that facilitates creative problem solving through innovation. Design Thinking refers to the way designers center their work on the real needs of their clients to offer innovative solutions.

Does that mean it’s a methodology used exclusively by teams of designers? No! It’s a useful tool for any professional sector and most contexts. You can “try on the hat” of a professional designer to bring problems and their solutions into focus.

Design Thinking combines creative and rational thought, creativity and problem solving to provide an answer or solution that is innovative, useful, viable, and profitable. Solutions provided by Design Thinking focus on three things:

  • People’s needs (desirable solutions), 
  • The business’ requirements (economically viable solutions) and 
  • The options technology offers (technologically achievable solutions).

What is it used for?

Design Thinking is useful whenever you need to take on complex problems that can’t be solved with traditional methods. You know, for those “impossible” problems.

It has thousands of applications. Its original use is to design or improve products or services, but it’s also applied to business models and processes for all kinds of personal and professional projects.

Do you want some clear examples of design thinking? Some of the most successful companies in the world have used this methodology to design or redesign their business model. 

Uber puts empathy into practice when it uses immersion strategies in its target markets to better understand their gastronomic cultures and the needs of those living there; they run A/B tests to choose the best solutions and periodically organize innovation workshops.

Another example: It’s said that Nike started applying design thinking before Tim Brown made the term popular.

Nike puts its audience and internal team at the center of its strategies. When they launched their sneakers with air-cushioned soles in the 80s, they were offering a response to the needs of their audience, combining innovation with design.

Benefits of Design Thinking

Design thinking will revolutionize how your: startup makes strategic decisions, agency optimizes its work systems, class creates new outlines for schoolwork.

In the world of business, innovation is what allows companies to adapt to changes and stay in the market. Innovation is always hard to come by, but design thinking can reduce the costs and risks needed to achieve it. Incorporating design into the work processes will improve your chances of success.

‘When people talked about innovation in the ’90s, they really meant technology. When people talk about innovation today, they really mean design.

Bruce Nussbaum, Managing Editor at Businessweek Magazine.

In the world of education, design thinking helps develop students’ empathy, encouraging an inclusive attitude and teamwork. It’s never too soon to learn that the sum of the abilities of those on your team is enriching and achieves the best solutions.

How to switch your mind into design mode: The foundations of design thinking

To adopt a design perspective, you’ll need to bet on and enhance your creativity. Here are five pointers that will help you follow the design thinking process:

Collaborate:

Whenever possible, search for solutions with people from different backgrounds, relying on your collective intelligence. This will help generate innovative ideas.

Sustain An empathetic attitude:

Put yourself in the shoes of the people you’re designing a solution for and of your team members. It’ll ensure the best end result.

Apply visual storytelling: 

Communicate your ideas visually. You can use visual elements like icons and images in your storytelling. With visual thinking, you’ll put your creative intelligence to good use and will bolster your capacity for innovation.

Trust: 

Stay optimistic. With Design Thinking, there’s room for everyone; anyone can be a driving force for change and creation. Regardless of your budget and the size of the problem you’re taking on, believing in your own creativity is key to innovation.

Experiment: 

Be bold, create different solutions, take action, and learn from your mistakes. It takes more than just thinking. Create to complete the process of design and innovation.

In conclusion, design thinking will ensure a more innovative, creative, and successful project. Will you take the leap to put it into practice?

Natalia De la Peña Frade
Natalia De la Peña Frade
Content creator: I try to write things you like to read
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