We live in a time full of challenges. Whether within our own companies or for our clients, there always seems to be a new problem to sort out. As entrepreneurs, we are looking for solutions to solve these issues. Do you already have one problem you want to focus on, but are unsure where to start? If you are struggling to answer the question: how can I solve this? Then let us show you how design thinking helps businesses.

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What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a non-linear, interdisciplinary, human-centred process that creates innovative solutions. This process involves five main phases: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. It stands out because it covers many aspects to come up with out-of-the-box solutions. Sounds amazing, right? Sure, as its name suggests, there’s a lot of design involved in the thinking. But you don’t have to be a designer to allow design thinking to help your business. This method is for everyone, no matter their profession, field, or business size. Start-ups, non-profits, and big companies have benefited from it.

One good example of this is IDEO. This American company pioneered the design thinking process, developing projects in such different areas as education, wellness, and mobility. 

Think as a Designer

According to its CEO, Tim Brown: “Design thinking (…) draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success”. This mindset encourages a designer’s approach to issues to reach creative solutions. “Thinking like a designer can transform the way organizations develop products, services, processes, and strategy (…) it also allows people who aren’t trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges”.

This allows IDEO to create innovative strategies and help their clients improve products through the creation of game-changing projects.

Old Problems, New Solutions

As a society, we always strive to improve what already exists. Although we may have a way of doing things, design thinking can help your company find new solutions.

How do we improve a luxury car? The Lincoln Motor Company built a pop-up studio inside the company’s headquarters. Collaborating first-hand with employees from different departments, they developed a full-scale interactive prototype. Afterwards, they collected feedback through in-and out-of-car experiences. The Lincoln MKC drove the brand’s growth in the luxury segment by more than two-to-one.

Want to help kids learn to code? Why not use physical blocks to create a tangible experience? Google’s Project Bloks, enabled developers and educators to speed up ways of teaching and exploring programming that allows kids to interact with coding language. 

According to the UN, 1.3 billion tons of food go to waste each year. Together with the Rockefeller Foundation, IDEO launched the largest brainstorming session ever with more than 20,000 people from 113 countries to address this.

The results? The Food Waste Alliance, a platform that engages with promising ideas and innovators, was born. This has helped entrepreneurs share resources and form partnerships in an effort to combat food waste. 

How Can Design Thinking Help Your Business?

These examples show how design thinking applies a large set of tools and strategies to every type of business. What about my own business? Well, as the people at IDEO state, more than a method or a strategy, design thinking is a way of seeing the world. The practical tools that can help our teams improve their workflow are a few of the benefits provided by design thinking. Some of the other advantages include:

Creative Leadership

It is core for every business to have an engaged team that always has something new to contribute to help our company move forward. Design thinking’s non-linear, idea-focused approach sparks creativity in the team and allows it to get behind any project, focusing on the goal.

Lifelong Learning

We are constantly learning. That is true in both, the personal and professional areas of our lives. But to be actively learning is usually put aside when our job is demanding or requires focus on a specific area of knowledge. Design thinking promotes constant learning for its teams due to its multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach and its ease of application to many fields.

Surplus of Ideas

Because brainstorming and prototyping are the bread and butter of this method, the flow of ideas is endless. While many will be rejected, you never know what ideas will emerge during these sessions that will be useful to another customer or project. You can always keep a record of them to consult in the future.

Action Front and Centre

Although it might state otherwise, there is a lot of action involved in design thinking. As prototyping is a big part of the process, the “get-to-do” part of the projects is crucial to moving forward and achieving the best results. The active mentality that design thinking carries encourage team members to have something tangible as their main goal and not limit themselves to the whiteboard.

That’s a Wrap on How Design Thinking Helps Businesses

It is safe to say that design thinking helps businesses in many different ways. Design thinking offers a wide range of benefits for entrepreneurs, whether they are starting or wish to enhance creativity and innovation within their organizations.

Creativity, cooperation, and a human-centred approach are key to the success of businesses as well as the future of our society. Design thinking has people and collaboration as key factors to keep evolving industries that might not be looking at an old matter with new eyes. So struggle no more to find solutions and experience what design thinking can do for your business.

About the author

EWOR is a school conceived by Europe’s top professors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders. We educate and mentor young innovators to launch successful businesses.

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