Design thinking is a powerful approach which helps
organizations to improve their businesses capabilities by identifying new business
opportunities and unlocking innovations. Market leaders such as Apple, Nike and
IBM have used Design Thinking principals in their product innovation to achieve
competitive advantage. The principals associated with Design Thinking help
organizations to apply creativity and effectively solve real-world problems
better than any other methods. According to Design Management Institute (DMI)
Design Value Index (market capitalization-weighted index comprised of design
led companies), firms which have incorporate design-driven corporate strategy have
achieved a 219 percent ROI advantage over Standard & Poor’s 500 index, over
a period of 10-year.
Though in theory Design Thinking is a great concept, when it
comes to actual application organizations face certain challenges.
1. Incorrect Identification of problem
One of the
fundamental steps in order to achieve a successful Design Thinking led
innovation is to accurately ‘identify the problem’ which is effecting their
business or has the potential to improve business capability. Companies often
fail to gain from Design Thinking led approach as they fail to correctly
identify the problem. In order to solve this challenge, companies need to have an
end-to-end conversation within the organization and with their customers and
other stakeholders. They need to put themselves in the shoes of their customers
and stakeholders and analyze from their perspective, the problems that they are
2. Embracing the Feedback Loop
is not a onetime solution. It is a continuous process of multiple iterations of
previous trials in order to achieve the best possible solution for the problem.
Design Thinking process, hence, need to have a feedback system in place in
order to attain the best possible result. Companies often lack enthusiasm and perseverance
to build this feedback system as it often becomes time consuming. Organizations
need to understand that by embracing a feedback system, they not only create an
efficient system for innovation but also a proper feedback system prevents
companies from making the same mistakes again, saving time in wasted efforts. Companies
also need to find new creative techniques to test their assumptions which can
reduce the time involved in iteration. Another reason for their reluctance in
adopting a feedback system is that companies often hesitate to embrace failures.
Here, senior management must set example by openly talking about test failures helping
other employees in the organization to embrace failures as well.
3. Building a Design Culture
is not a tool or process that can be used or followed to give a desired result.
It is about developing a psychological mindset which can lead to creative
thinking and innovation. In order to develop Design Thinking mindset in an organization,
it requires employees to undergo an inherent behavioral change. It requires
them to shift from their usual task-oriented perspective of work to a mindset
of openness, curiosity, creativity, and a willingness to admit failures.
Employees also need to have an unbiased opinion and avoid imposing their subjective
judgement on the problem or the solution. Overcoming cognitive biases and developing
cognitive flexibility are interesting challenge that companies need to overcome
in order to develop a Design Thinking culture within their organization which
ultimately is critical to the success of their Design Thinking led projects.