Design Thinking

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“Design Thinking is an ideal framework for us to use because it focuses on developing deep empathy for customers and creating solutions that will match their needs—as opposed to just dreaming up and delivering technology for technology’s sake.” 
– Catherine Courage, Senior Vice President of Customer Experience, Citrix Systems

Across the world, Design Thinking is changing the way we look at Problems, explore Opportunities, and seek out Solutions…

 

Design Thinking is a rigorous human-centered innovation methodology that looks at a problem through the eyes of the people who experience it, provides actionable insights about unmet needs and untapped opportunities, generates unexpected ideas for changes, and learns by testing rather than guessing.

As an approach, design thinking taps into capacities we all have but that are overlooked by more conventional problem-solving practices. Not only does it focus on creating products and services that are human centred, but the process itself is also deeply human. 

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The design thinking process is best thought of as a system of overlapping spaces rather than a sequence of orderly steps. There are three spaces to keep in mind: inspiration, ideation, and implementation. Think of inspiration as the problem or opportunity that
motivates the search for solutions; ideation as the process of generating, developing, and testing ideas; and implementation as the path that leads from the project stage into people’s lives.

The design thinking approach is ideally suited to understanding not just what people are doing, but why — discovering unmet emotional, psychological, and functional needs that shape behaviours — setting the stage for breakthroughs and building the foundation for new products, systems, services, and more.

It is structured, interactive, collborative and fun, and focuses on generating real time solutions that can transform businesses and experiences. The Five Step process of Design Thinking (Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test) asks key questions to practitioners and challenges them to explore alternatives and options, to develop a better future.

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Design thinking incorporates constituent or consumer insights in depth and rapid prototyping, all aimed at getting beyond the assumptions that block effective solutions. Design thinking—inherently optimistic, constructive, and experiential—addresses the needs of the people who will consume a product or service and the
infrastructure that enables it.

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Businesses are embracing design thinking because it helps them be more innovative, better differentiate their brands, and bring their products and services to market faster. Nonprofits are beginning to use design thinking as well to develop better solutions to social problems. Design thinking crosses the traditional boundaries between public, for-profit, and nonprofit sectors. By working closely with the clients and consumers, design thinking allows high-impact solutions to bubble up from below rather than being imposed from the top.

Design Thinking as a process is linked to an improved future, a creative process based around the ‘building up’ of ideas. And since there are no judgments in design thinking, the process eliminates the fear of failure and encourages maximum input and participation. Wild ideas are welcome, since these often lead to the most creative solutions. Design Thinking is a deeply experiential yet structured approach that focuses on creating solutions with the Stakeholder at the centre. The process helps participants develop greater understanding and insights about Stakeholders and Customers, brainstorm to generate ideas, learn how to Prototype and Test the same for feedback and improvement.

At UBQT, we look at Design Thinking as a journey from Discovery to Delivery. Find out more in our Consulting Services section.