Innovation is all about doing more with less. Innovation was thought to be an inborn talent that a few had till the design thinking approach came through. Design thinking converted the creative process into logical steps for all to use. I take this opportunity to discuss the essence of design thinking in this article through those logical steps.
- Empathize: This is a “what is” stage of the situation at hand. However, the interpretation of the situation is not from the Innovator’s standpoint but the stakeholder’s view. Ethnographic tools can help us discover the underlying emotive issues that the customer could be facing.
- Define: Once you know the exact situation from the stakeholder’s standpoint, then possible to develop a business case where we reframe the “opportunity statement” on hand.
- Ideate: Here, we start creating ideas from diverse groups of participants. Visual tools and stories are the best-used tools to trigger the creative mind.
- Prototype: This is a “what works” scenario. Once the ideation is over, you choose the quick wins and build a limited working model of the innovation. The idea here is to test it and fail early; fail cheap.
- Test: This is a learning launch stage where a hypothesis of the innovation is tested against business value creation, agreeability, scalability, and execution. There can be numerous other parameters also of relevance to this hypothesis.
Once the last step is cleared, then we can invest in a full-blown commercial proposition. What I like about design thinking is, it is quick, fast, easy, and fun.
Design thinking should not be mixed with problem-solving as it is a solution that tames all “wicked problems”, which are to do with human dynamics. The feedback I have about design thinking is that stakeholders enjoy this process and experience synergies required for innovation quickly.
So go ahead, learn this fascinating process and monetize the collective creativity.