Design Thinking: A New Approach to Creative Innovation?

 

There’s a new trend in innovation, and it’s called Design Thinking. Companies like IBM, Airbnb, and Samsung have lately been working to create a culture of design within their organizations.  The theory being that when the principles of design are actively applied to strategy, innovation dramatically improves.

So what does it mean to think like a designer? Designers seek to find desirable solutions to complex problems. A well-designed solution to a problem is often deceptively simple-looking. The reality is, it takes a lot of work. But the theory behind thinking with this solution-focused mindset promotes more actionable focus, delivering a quicker result.

THE DESIGN THINKING PROCESS

DESIGN THINKING RULE #1: DISCOVERY

Cultivate a deep understanding of the problem you want to solve. Gather data, and seek to understand and empathize with unmet needs.

DESIGN THINKING RULE #2: REFRAME OPPORTUNITY

Define the challenge you are taking on and craft an actionable problem statement focusing on insights and needs.

DESIGN THINKING RULE #3: INCUBATE

This part of the process often gets skipped, but is integral for the design thinking process to work! Switch gears to something else and let the idea grow organically in your mind.

DESIGN THINKING RULE #4: IDEATE

This is the fun part. Explore ideas, possibilities, and potential outcomes. Write your ideas down. Draw them out.

DESIGN THINKING RULE #5: EVALUATE IDEAS

Which of your ideas will work? Which won’t? Identify your needs and obstacles.

DESIGN THINKING RULE #6: TEST

Start executing. Solicit feedback and work to revise based on your learnings.

DESIGN THINKING RULE #7: DELIVER

After your final test, you can launch your idea.

IS DESIGN THINKING NEW?

If this so-called “new trend” of Design Thinking feels strangely familiar to you, you’re not the only one. When we at 2e Creative learned about this creative process for solving problems, we found it strangely similar to the way most of us always worked, without ever having given it a name. Which made us wonder: is Design Thinking really something new? Or is it simply a new name and a prescribed set of steps for “thinking?”