One week ago it was “Back to School” season also for me. It had been almost 10 years since I graduated from a business school – I didn’t know what to expect at Laurea but I was feeling really exited! Services marketing has always inspired me and I believe that the services design studies will a good “plus” in my career path.
The first study weekend was very intensive – three full days in a row, including tens of new faces around and thousands of new thoughts in my head. During this week I have continued the studying process: I read one book (Understanding Innovation by Meiner & Leifer) and and article (by Tschimmel ), and tried to synthesize the ideas with last weekend’s workshop. Now that I know the basics of Design Thinking, I’d like to share my findings I find the most important.
Any kind of business can benefit from the designer’s way of thinking & working
Innovation is the basis for economic growth – it decides the survival of companies. We saw one example with the restaurant El Bulli: better to close for a few months, create something new and then provide with “wow moments” to clients, who are willing to pay. Good design is more important than ever, no matter what your sector is. Design thinking is not only a motor for innovation , it can also help to improve accelerate and visualize creative process effectively, when using different kind of tool kits. You can apply design tools for any kind of business or service – and get more explicit results compared with traditional planning & problem solving.
Human needs are more important than ever
We don’t just design services or products for people, but with people – Design thinking is social in nature. Co-creation is important: One should work not only with teams, but also with stakeholders and especially with end users, who could then be more loyal to the brand. What do clients really need? Remember to listen & observe them and collect all possible insights.
Acceptance of failure and mistakes
Mistakes are part of the design process! You shouldn’t be afraid when designing your ideas, just try it rather than debate it! Be playful and don’t worry is the visual stuff isn’t beautiful or sophisticated – you don’t need to be an artist in order to present your ideas via drawings or sketches. Also there are no right or wrong results in the brainstorming process – we noticed also in the classroom that the last few ideas are usually the most unique ones.
Different models to choose from – but DT is always an overlapping process
In all the sources it is mentioned that there are several different Design Thinking models. They are all pretty similar and include e.g. planning – observing – prototyping. You can be creative and pick the most suitable parts of them for your work. Another idea that combines the models is that Design Thinking is an overlapping evolutionary process: you go thought several steps, sometimes one step forward and then the project may lap back to an earlier phase. Treat problems openly, and keep in mind all designing is re-designing.
All in all, in my opinion our first course Design Thinking was very interesting, mind shaking and a good introduction for the following months. We were right a way given a problem with hands on techniques – let’s try if it works! It was a good approach – we should all take more risks and trust the process, not so much the outcome. Still, it might have been good a good idea to ask the students to read some material before the first contact session and get a first hand idea what will be studied.
By Tiina Korhonen