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Unleash the potential of your business using Design Thinking

Summary: Using a co-creative process, Design Thinking helps organisations to build on unmet user needs and create value from user insights.

Before I started my Service Innovation and Design (SID) studies and went through the Design Thinking masterclass hosted by Professor Katja Tschimmel, I never realised how much published content such as books, reports and essays existed on the subject of Design Thinking (DT).

Design Thinking is a framework for how to come up with ideas – loads of them at the beginning all way until refining and develop to prototype the bests ones. Design Thinking is human-centred and aims to foster creativity and innovation – the principal sources for businesses differentiation and competitive advantages.

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Through Mind Mapping we identified opportunities for innovation

Design Thinking is not new, throughout history good designers have applied a human-centric creative process to build meaningful and effective solutions. Perhaps this justifies the big interest from strategists and businesses on the topic and the big demand on articles and methods variations.

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Learning the essence of Design Thinking process

“There is no universal best DT process model, the choice innovation managers make depends on their disciplinary background and their personal taste.” says Katja Tschimmel in her article about Design Thinking process models and tools (Tschimmel 2012, 11). And this is also what she tells us listeners during our first hours of Design Thinking course (Design Thinking 2017). The decision of choosing of an appropriate Design Thinking model is influenced, among others, the characteristics of the task in question, its context, the composition of the team and its dynamics, the number of designers involved, and the time available for the process (Tschimmel 2012).

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What is design thinking and why is it important to your business?

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Building a prototype.

 

Design thinking is a creative problem solving and innovation process that makes change possible. Instead of FOR users, this human centered approach designs services and products WITH users.

The systematic process of using design thinking tools for innovation creates competitive advantage –  a good reason to every business manager to adopt it to their working processes.

How does design thinking differ from other innovation processes

Design thinking turns the traditional innovation process upside down. Whereas before the innovators had a certain goal for their process, in design thinking it is unknown where the process will take you – thus pure innovations can be born.

Genuine search for a solution for your business problem requires learning. Design thinking is applied in an iterative circle that uses co-creation and testing, for example prototyping. Learning and finding a solution by iteration need an atmosphere where it is okay to fail – instead of trying to prove to be right and avoid mistakes.

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What on Earth is Design Thinking???

Although I had previously read a few books on Design Thinking as well as participated in a Service Design course organized by Aalto PRO, I still learned so many new, exciting things at Katja Tschimmel’s course on Design Thinking at Laurea. And that learning of new aspects to Design Thinking is also what inspired the topic of this blog post. Because to me it felt like since Design Thinking is not a process with strict rules, it might sometimes be a little difficult to get a thorough overview of what is actually Design Thinking? Even though you kind of know it, but you might still struggle a bit if you need to explain it to someone else.  Katja did a great job of giving us space to figure this key concept out by ourselves and didn’t give us pre-determined answers.

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As Katja explained during the course, there are several Design Thinking models and tools available (IDEO’s 3 I model, Double Diamond model of the British Council and the Service Design Thinking (SDT) Model, just to name a few). In my opinion this just goes to show that there is no one, correct way to carry out a Design Thinking project. Therefore I felt like it might be easier also to explain Design Thinking via examples of its typical elements and principles rather than in one, all-inclusive phrase or explanation.

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Modern Practical tools of Design Thinking

Last weekend I have participated in Design thinking course which motivates me to share my thoughts about my learning in this course and related material.

Design acts as the facilitator for innovation processes but during last decade design thinking(DT) gains great appreciation from research communities but also from all organizational sectors of the world. Many business schools introduce graduate degree programs in DT.

Various models and techniques of DT are available but following caught my eye, to share with fellow design thinkers.

  • The innovation expedition by “Gijs Van Wulfen”
  • Mind shake innovation & design thinking model EVOLUTION 62 by “Katja Tschimmel”

The innovation expedition by Gij Van Wulfen discusses visual toolkit to start innovation. It comprises of five steps naming as (FORTH):

  1. Full steam ahead
  2. Observe & learn
  3. Raise ideas
  4. Test ideas
  5. Home coming

1

Full steam ahead is based on defining concrete goals, core team creation and kick off workshop which allows team to get acquainted with innovation assignment(IA). The essence of Observe & learn is thinking out of the box. The team explores different technologies & trends, customer feedback meetings are done. Then workshop is organized to define relevant customer friction and promising innovation opportunities. Raise idea is new product brainstorming and concept improvement step. The team develops twelve new concepts for IA. Concept testing is done in Test idea by direct application on target group. The testing is followed live for finding new inspirations and immediate improvement.

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Future of Service Design – does it exist?

Ever thought about this? Is service design just one ism, which comes like a wave: First small, getting strong and then fading away. When reaching the end of its existing curve, the ism is so worn out that no-one even wants to hear the words “service design”.

PaneeliAalto University Executive Education arranged on the 1st of June 2017, on International Service Design Day, networking event around this very interesting theme. Speakers and panelists who game from different backgrounds looked at the topic in a versatile and detailed way. They represented front line service design expertise: Peter Barkman, Managing Director from Palmu Helsinki, Laura Franck, Client Service Director from Hellon, Ulla Jones, Business Designer from OP Financial Group and Pekka Toivonen, CEO of Muotohiomo. Next I will raise some points from the discussion to give some thoughts to this important heading.

Transformation is the point

Service design have to grow from project oriented way of doing to be way of thinking that leads to cultural change and transformation in organization. “Human” and “experience” should be taken as a part of business plan in the organization. The experts see that service design as a concepts and the term might disappear. The content itself becomes an everyday part of organizational approaches and practices. Whatever the term that is used, important is to make measurable changes with goal of creating better experiences and focus on customer. Continue reading

Embrace the mess!

Design Thinking – the challenge in daring to embrace the mess of non linear thinking.mindmap.jpg

I am quite new to the field of service design and the tools used in Design Thinking are not yet that familiar to me. Hence I didn’t really know what to expect from the first contact session at SID. I thought it was great that we were assigned to go through the process & use the tools of design thinking straight away.

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