Archive by Author | mussabsharif

Design Thinking For Business Innovation

Innovation has always be seen as a myth, where genius is the main ingredient for it. Unfortunately this is not the reality!

Innovation can be a systematic process. The key to successful innovations is to understand where the process starts. The process starts by first understanding the current needs, the current obstacles the target audience want to overcome and then formulating insights that can guide the thinking about potential solutions.

This is against to what most of us think and do today, where we try to provide solutions without understanding the real problems. So, probably by passion, we try to jump to a future that we envision for our customers without involving them or trying to understand what are there needs.

The argument can be raised that “Customers don’t know what they want” as Steve Jobs said or following what Henry Ford said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. This can be partially true when it comes to what customers express literally, but the key takeaway from this is to see what customers don’t see by sensing, observing and noticing the signals than predict the future like “faster” (but not the horses) in Henry Ford quote.

Design Thinking: a means for innovation!

Design Thinking is a mindset and methodology to help businesses in problem solving, finding possibilities and securing innovations that are desirables by humans at first, viable as business offering second and finally feasible as an implementation.

In few words, Design Thinking is all about starting with the human and ending with the human. Design thinking is about the people but first you need to change your mindset for this shift.

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Do Your Service Speak Different Cultures ?

multi-cultural face blog

Figure 1 – Multicultural faces, source:


Hello, Culture!

The cross-cultural issues in service was my first elective course with in my Service Innovation & Design MBA study; with the expectations set to provide a better understanding to cross cultural aspects of service design, and I wasn’t mistaken at all!

Coming from an background where I have lived in four countries before, visited dozen in my business and leisure trips and worked with most of the nationalities in the world in my professional life, I thought I had that good cosmopolitan mind-set that will help me to better tackle service design issues with different people coming from different background. But as I have over gone my studies in the course, I have found that cultural understanding does not come from only dealing with people from different cultures, it comes from deeply understanding the one own culture and what are the real values a person is believing in first, then trying to understand both the underground and surface levels of what others value and finding a common ground where the two cultures can meet with the minimum collision(s) possible.

Service design is all about human centered design and the human understanding, where a service is tailored to satisfy the real needs of certain stakeholder or stakeholders. But as we humans vary in our own cultures and with the global environment we are living in, Its important to understand how services can fit to match a different cultural groups and how it can be tailored to respect the values that a group of customers belief in, in a way that make the service more relevant, homecoming and familiar.

Meet… Richard Lewis!

For that, a lot of discussion has been done on what is really the definition of a culture and what does it stands for. Based on the cultural framework that I had studied which is the Richard Lewis cultural framework, Richard Lewis has drawn what is his interpretation of a culture as follows: Continue reading

Besign Thinking: A simple framework for incorporating “Design Thinking” into the traditional “Business Thinking” for innovation!

Ever since I got introduced to the concept of Design Thinking, I had this feeling that this could be a game changer for how we do our business innovations. In a nutshell, because it starts with the customer as sole for finding innovations.

This may be obvious for anyone knowing about Design Thinking fundamentals, but it may be not fully true for people coming from a Business Thinking background, where the norm is how opportunities are projected to make money, not how it will solve a customer problem.

I will try in this blog post to bridge both worlds and suggest a framework for change when it comes to innovation. How can we introduce Design Thinking in a seamless manner in current today Business Thinking (at least in my company ^_^ ).

Lets start the story from the beginning …


My company which works in the telecommunication field. As usual, its a very competitive environment and with saturation reaching very high levels. At that this point innovation has been identified as the secret weapon to solve this issue.

For that decision have been taken to create an innovation center in my company. The purpose of this innovation center is to pursue innovation opportunities that mainly brings Growth, Differentiation and slightly Efficiency to our enterprise.

It has been working for about two years, but what we figured out is that we have not yet made the IMPACT we were anticipating to do!

Why as an innovation center we did not make any impact?

To be honest, it’s all the fault of the Needle!

To understand this Needle, I will let you go through this short story that happened between me and the “Head of Innovation” one and half years ago…


Once I had been assigned the task to find innovative opportunities that covers the domain of social media and advertising, for that I had like two days come up with ideas that are new to the market and would be valuable enough to our brand (financially, brand  value, social good, etc… or I thought so! )


I took the diagram above and went to the Head, and here is what happened (I know you may say where is the Design Thinking here, but bear with me, please!)…

THE HEAD: This will not move the Needle!

Me            : Which Needle?

THE HEAD: We need something that generate 100 Million in five years time frame.

Me            : OK!!? But as I know, if we are looking for the social media domain for example it’s still too early to find results. We need to build a mass then figure out how to make money! Still Facebook and Twitter, they did not figure out how to make big bucks out of what they have..

THE HEAD: Not convinced, we are not here for causes, show me the money!

This story actually raised the question in my head, what is wrong?

What is wrong with the traditional business thinking approach for innovation?

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