Modern world possesses bigger challenges and more complex problems with people in the centre. To tackle these and come up with a creative solution, we need to use an explorative approach such as Design Thinking to innovate and solve these problems.
I was familiarized to Design Thinking when I attended a course led by Katja Tschimmel, the founder of Mindshake. Katja introduced us to the Design Thinking process and mindset by leading up through the Innovation and Design Thinking model called Evolution 6² (E.6²). The E.6² model includes steps with questions and tools that help design thinker or innovator to find out what the problem is, who is the solution intended for, what is the best solution, and how to implement it.
According to Katja the principles of Design Thinking are 1) Human-centered approach: Products and services should be experienced from the user’s perspective. 2) Collaboration: As many stakeholders as possible should be included throughout the phases of the process. 3) Experimentation: Playful thinking, making mistakes and learning by doing are an important part of every creative process. 4) Visualization: Quick prototyping helps the learning process and improves the initial ideas by visualization. 5) Holistic perspective: The big picture (environment and context) behind the product or service that is being developed needs to be understood (Tschimmel 2019, p.10).
In our Laurea master study of Design thinking led by Professor Katja Tschimmel, we “Learnt by doing” basic principles of design thinking concept and used Mindshake Innovation Design Thinking Model called Evolution 6. Study of Design thinking model helped me to understand the importance of concepts like fluidity in idea generation and idea hitlist, prototyping and storyboarding which felt quite natural and simple but highly effective.
We are living in a world which is changing quite rapidly and there is “no more Business as usual”. Business paradigm is changing and there are a lot of disruptions and transformation happening in every sector. Traditional companies are losing their advantage and also market share. Here, in such situations, “Design thinking” can help companies to evolve and grow. Mr. Idris Mootee in his book “Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation” described basic business challenges and along with that also shared solution for these challenges based on design thinking. Here Idris mentioned “Extreme competition” as one of the business challenges and experience design as approach to tackle it.
Importance of experience design is very well emphasized by the fact that nowadays customers are buying the experience, not just the product. Also customer retention becomes increasingly difficult if they don’t get good experience with their first purchase. Now the question is how a company can give the customer an experience with wow factor. It’s not easy! A company would invest a lot in the development of new system but still fail to manage customer expectation and loose customer base. How to deal with such a situation? Here we need to understand that business is no more as usual. While building any new solution, companies are mainly investing in upper layers of customer experience and not including the core aspects. Solution should be able to address the need of customer without asking and should make customer experience better, safer and more powerful (Figure 1).
Steve Jobs once said “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new”. In today’s world, market is changing so fast. What seems like an innovation today might become obsolete tomorrow. So solution should be human centric with a futuristic vision. According to Mr. Idris Mootee companies can build strategic foresight by identifying the weak signals. Weak signals can be emergence of new technology, new patents, new policy or compliance etc. Organisations need to identify, analyse, study and be ready with a range of strategic options for dealing with possible future. In this way organisations can be more prepared for any new opportunity, threat or potential blind spots.
10 years back weak signal scanning and context mapping might have been relatively less complex but in today’s world it might be mind boggling exercise. Also one solution might not fit all problems. In case an organization wants to provide a service which does not exist then it might be very difficult to identify weak signals related to it. For example
To know if service would meet targeted customer expectations
To know if they would be willing to pay for it
To know the price potential customer would be willing to pay
Sometimes disruption can come from a sector or industry which is not related at all with impacted industry. For example music industry was revolutionised by the arrival of iPod or how TomTom was impacted by the popularity of smartphones coupled with inexpensive data.
At the end I would like to share with you an interesting “Marshmallow challenge” which explained essense of prototyping and fail early very well. Try it and enjoy 🙂