Design thinking is a methodology, a process and a philosophy that designers follow in a systemic approach to discover and tackle solutions to challenges. This process can be used in operations to increase efficiencies by managers and stakeholders while facilitated by designers.
The concept of design thinking is over fifty years-old, but it has found a loud voice in recent years because of its injection as a formal method in the business and educational sectors thanks to David Kelley in the d.school at Stanford and Tim Brown at IDEO in mid-2000’s. Since then, many CEO’s and organizations have embraced the methodology, and have brought design thinking to the front and core of their corporations not only to remain competitive, but to make a difference.
Educating managers about the design thinking mindset is essential to provide support to team members and function as a catalyst to new and divergent ideas.
The largest group of top corporations in all industries that lead through innovation understand and value the importance of design, because it has produced results.
When Google and Yahoo! were competing for market share in the mid 2000’s, the mature product that Google had become was in need of change, from a minimal interface to a full portfolio of solutions. These solutions paid much attention to the user experience. Their team employed design thinking to understand the many steps of interaction a user will take with their product. The development team accommodated and created a platform that could extend and connect technology that didn’t existed at that point almost 10 years ago, but has been able to evolve and open to today’s new products.
Design thinking as a process allows for exploration of unseen potential; It is more than facilitating a calculated number of steps, or following a linear or circular process. Design thinking is about having the sensibility to understand fluctuations and intersections where opportunities might flourish.
Design thinking is something that has to be experienced, not understood by only reading about it. It is a collaborative practice that empowers teams and organizations. Three of the byproducts of this methodology are bias toward action, embracing failure and constant iteration. Whether the design thinking methodology you have read is five, four or three steps long, it is about understanding when to bring critical thinking and when to trigger divergent thinking in order to improve a product, a solution, an operational process, a business model, or when to avoid all rules and bring disruption.
In our complex world of technology where organizations are evolving and changing for audiences that also are in constant movement, design thinking will help analyze information and data to make predictions based on research methods that are not about perceptions, but true observation of patterns and behaviors.
Great design is a multi-layered relationship between human life and its environment.
As a catalyst to empower organizations with a new way of thinking and innovating, Natural Bridges Ventures leverages this progressive approach in our own methodology to bring disruptive innovation to fast evolving ecosystems.