What is design thinking? It is a strategy but also a process, in which is used to solve problems by prioritising the consumer’s needs.
It is a non-linear, iterative process that teams use to understand users through research (feedback forms) and challenge assumptions by creating new and innovative solutions.
In other words, teams use this process to be able to create new content or products/services that might fix solutions such as a slow down in profit increase as well as low engagement.
Further, these solutions are user-centric though. The creator/creators should be focusing on their audience, their users. To make sure the ‘solution’ they’re developing will fit the needs and wants of the audience.
Within design thinking, is a five-stage process. A study was proposed by the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford (d.school). The five stages are empathise, define, ideate, prototype and test:
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Stage one is empathise. This involves you, a marketer or a team member to create an empathic understanding of the issue you are trying to solve.
Engage yourself with the audience that has concerns to understand the motivation for the issue. This can allow a more personal and appropriate approach to the problem.
Immerse yourself in getting to know the user, their needs and wants. What values might they have? This closely connects to Finding Your Target Audience, which will allow you to get to know your audience better.
Set aside your assumptions in this stage, it’s all about the user.
To define the problem is to collect all the information gathered in the empathise stage. Analysing which problems or difficulties appear to seem the most apparent or what is the biggest user problem stated.
Taking this information and transforming it into how can the team, you or company work towards battling this problem.
A key bit to remember is that this is user-centric. Therefore, frame from saying ‘we need to help EMS…’ instead put ‘EMS need’ for instance.
After going through emphasise and define, it’s time to move onto the creative side, working on potential solutions.
It is crucial to mention this is a judgment-free idea generation moment. It’s all about experimenting to find what will solve the problem.
Mindmapping and brainstorming are both ways that are useful for generating ideas. Once finished exploring different directions, it’s time to narrow down a few ideas of which seem to be successful.
The fourth phase or step is taking the idea into a product/campaign. This is a scaled-down version as it’s a trial stage. To put the full efforts into a new solution and without reassurance, it’ll do what it’s supposed to, wouldn’t be financially wise.
The prototype part is perfect for improving, redesigning and possibly rejecting. It’s all about filtering down to the one idea that will be the solution.
Now to test, put out the new ‘solution’ and review or possibly change. This entire process isn’t linear you’ll find yourself going through the different stages again and again to find the right solution for your company.
The testing also allows you to see if the original problem needs redefining to be more appropriate.
The benefits of design thinking
Design thinking allows businesses to ensure that the products/services/new campaign designed will be ultimately desirable for customers and viable for the company budget and resources.
Main benefits of integrating design thinking into work;
Customer retention will improve significantly due to the user-centric design.
By focusing heavily on the motivations of the audiences displeasure can ensure future changes will avoid this and hopefully boost user engagement.
It isn’t exclusive.
The method can be stretched all across the company. Alongside encouraging cross-team collaboration. Others will want to discuss each opinion and idea to get a full understanding of what should be done.
Encourages team members to think outside the box.
The way it’s set out focuses on all sorts, so each team member won’t pigeonhole themselves thinking about one stage as each stage requires thought.
These are just a few benefits to give a good understanding of what can be achieved.
With this new method in mind, why not try to apply it to your business or mention it to your fellow team members and get on board with design thinking.