The Benefits Of Incorporating Design Thinking Into Business

Design thinking is the natural outgrowth of creative teams, and it’s beginning to catch on in other sectors of industry as a way of increasing productivity and fostering innovation.

Every business is filled with people who have ideas, but in the past, ideas were only welcome from the top. Why would businesses stifle innate creativity from any level? Building a culture of design thinking is a great way to harness more of your human capital by empowering front-line workers to explore new ideas, collaborate on diverse teams and consider new ways of getting work done faster, easier and more efficiently.

What Is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a methodology that delves deep into customer needs to approach problems from a human perspective. Pain points are often complex, and design thinking draws insight from diverse sources and collaborative thinking.

Components Of Design Thinking

1. Develop empathy

Empathy helps problem-solvers understand the problem from the end user viewpoint. This means putting human needs before everything else. Your ideas will be successful only if they answer a real need or want. That’s what empathy means in an ideation setting.

Building a product designed to address user needs requires a deep understanding of how they behave and interact, what their pain points are and what’s missing from the user experience.

2. Define the problem 

In the definition stage, you use insights gleaned from empathy to create a concise description of the design problem. With this information, you can define the answer and set parameters that are broad enough to allow creative suggestions and narrow enough to be solvable. The solution has to be doable and scalable — it can’t be based on unattainable technology or materials. 

3. Ideate

Ideation is a form of brainstorming where a diverse group of people contributes ideas. It’s imperative that you never lose sight of the customer or user during this phase and that you empower every participant to present ideas. Encourage big ideas that scale for future use, and identify new opportunities or directions.

4. Try ideas on for size 

Next, take the ideas generated by the ideation team and create solutions. Depending on the kind of problem you’re working on, this may be a new product or service, an upgrade or a new process to enhance productivity. 

At this point, you should have identified the right solution. Take enough time to refine and improve the solution you land on. Continue to seek feedback from users and project stakeholders until you’re confident that it solves the problem you defined in the beginning.

This phase is iterative. Your team will circle back and retry different versions of prototypes until the final result combines design and development into a functional unit that satisfies what users really want.

5. Test your solution

Once you’ve identified and developed the best solution, initiate a beta testing phase to bring in end users. Observe how it works, how users react and whether it solves the initial problem in a satisfying way. Collect feedback, and identify any bugs, hitches or bottlenecks. Then fix any issues. If the solution works to the specifications defined by your design team, you already know you have a successful launch on your hands. 

Benefits Of Incorporating Design Thinking Into Your Business

Because design thinking is a collaborative way to harness creativity from invested minds fed by communication with users, it eliminates wasted time and money on guesswork-based development. The end product already has an audience and has been vetted by real users before marketing.

In a blog post for Design Thinking for Museums, Jack Ludden, head of the Web Group and New Media Development for the J. Paul Getty Trust, explained that using design thinking helped the organization:

• “Become more efficient. With early consensus-building conversations and prototyping, production timelines were reduced by weeks.”

• “Become more communicative and collaborative.”

• “Better define roles and responsibilities.”

Cisco partnered with Capgemini to create design thinking guidelines to enhance employee productivity. Their goal was to give their 70,000 employees the tools and methods they needed to work better together and break the silos that slowed them down. Christina Wong, head of CDX at Cisco, recommends empathizing with customers to generate breakthrough ideas capable of winning customers for life.

Design Thinking Resources

To further explore design thinking, I recommend taking a look through some practical resources offered online. Some of the best options include Stanford Design School (, Kickbox Foundation and Google Design Sprint.

The workshops and resources offered can help you jump-start your own design thinking program and generate empathy-based ideas to attract, delight and retain customers.

Higgins, M. (2020, 5 noviembre). The Benefits Of Incorporating Design Thinking Into Business. Forbes.