Designers have a unique thought process and approach to life that didn’t enter mainstream conversations until contributions like Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things in 1988. Where many business leaders focus on simple cause and effect, we often see designers able to exploit observable problems and come up with an array of solutions for common woes. It is that kind of design thinking that our innovation experts seek to capture through workshops and other design activities every day.
This design thinking concept has gained immense popularity in recent times, especially after Tim Brown, the previous CEO and president of IDEO, expounded on it in a seminal article published in the Harvard Business Review. Design thinking workshops that are driven by in-person participants are a great way for businesses to work with expert-led teams and find ways to scale, grow, and improve a company.
Start with the Right People
A human-centered mindset involves thinking about people and solving problems that meet their needs. Unlike other innovation processes, design thinking urges action and the building of solutions through empathy.
At Go Studio, we capture the human element of design thinking through 1-on-1 interviews and real-world observations. This is only possible with a diverse group of individuals driving the conversations and embracing their perspectives. Meanwhile, stakeholders must be aware of the potential biases of those involved in their problem-framing so that only the most core ideas can be taken to the design thinking stage.
Let’s suppose a team is grappling with a certain challenge; the design thinking approach would urge them to solve the problem in simple forms instead of overplanning an unnecessarily complex solution. Later on, this would help teams create rapid prototypes that lead to full solutions.
Walking Through Design Thinking
Design thinking comprises several models, ranging from three to seven steps. Let’s look at and highlight our favorite approach, which includes the following phases of the Go Studio process:
- The first step is to narrow down the focus of the design thinking process by identifying the problem statement (which we’ve covered with our discussion of the problem-framing approach). The process teaches that passive observation of the problem in the real world is necessary to find elements of the problem that stakeholders haven’t been able to put into words. The analysis of past roadblocks and challenges that have hindered a solution can be the key to finding needed answers. Think about an instance where you’ve hit your head. Instinctively you may duck again at the same spot, design thinking takes note of this and recognizes the situation calls for a solution. Various tools and frameworks are available to make objective observations without assumptions or biased expectations.
After synthesizing research findings and real-world observations, the next step is to shape insights by framing the problem in the form of a statement or question.
- Once the problem statement has been defined, the next phase is ideation. This is where new and innovative ideas are generated while actively avoiding assumptions and keeping the user in mind. This step involves brainstorming innovative ideas around the problem space. A core principle of the ideate phase is to defer judgment of the ideas to a later time and let every idea – even the crazy ones – have a chance to be discussed, considered, and built upon by the team. It is the diversity of opinions, job roles, and experiences that will make this step fruitful, so encouraging widespread involvement is the key to a successful ideation stage.
- The third phase involves developing concepts by critiquing possible solutions through multiple rounds of rapid prototyping, testing, and experimentation. This phase is not about achieving perfection but building different solutions and assessing ideas to determine what works and what doesn’t. These first takes at solving the problem can sometimes be rudimentary or the “rough draft,” which teams can develop rapidly, but it is that quick creation that can lead to wildly different approaches and peak creativity.
- The fourth and final phase involves testing, reflecting on results, iterating, and testing again until a successful solution is achieved. It is recommended to iterate and refine until you’ve demonstrated visible end-user value. Design thinking is often a nonlinear, iterative process. Often times emerging technologies are introduced to model solutions, but in many cases, problems can be solved using day-to-day operational improvements and communications support that takes a unique perspective on end-user experience. Be sure you have the right stakeholders involved in the final approval of your solution so your people-led conversations don’t get lost once you’ve finished your design
It is essential to reflect on the innovation management strategies implemented during the design thinking process. Learning from experience and being able to revisit your decisions will help avoid confusion in the future. Ultimately, we create user-centric solutions with the goal of driving growth and profitability for businesses, and there should be a system for tracking final results.
5 Activities to Start Your Design Thinking Workshop:
Now that you have an understanding of the principles and goals behind a design thinking workshop, you can set up an activity with your business leaders. Below are some of the team workshops which help us define, ideate, prototype, and test our critical business challenges.
What are the most common design thinking workshop activities?
- Empathy-building skits.
- Presentation of Research on the Problem Space
- 1-on-1 interviews with key knowledge-holders.
- Prototyping sessions.
- Reviews of real-world examples of the problem in action.
Take Your Team to the Next Level
The innovation management strategies implemented during the design thinking process are a vital part of creating user-centric solutions that meet customers’ needs while driving growth and profitability for a business. Design thinking encourages companies to approach problem-solving and innovation from a human-centered perspective, enabling them to build a more empathetic and comprehensive understanding of their users. At Go Studio, our team of experts uses this approach to help businesses develop innovative solutions that not only address the challenges at hand but also create long-term value for both their customers and their company. Take a tour with us in person or virtually to accelerate your team’s roadmap.
- Design thinking focuses on human-centered design and a solution-based approach to maximize creativity.
- The first step is to narrow down the focus of the design thinking process by identifying the problem statement (which can be reached with the problem-framing approach).
- Learning from customer experience is a crucial part of the innovation process and design thinking process. By following this approach, companies can develop user-centric solutions that meet their customers’ needs while driving growth and profitability for their business.
- Design thinking workshops are an indispensable tool for businesses looking to stay ahead of the curve in today’s highly competitive market.