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Why orgs are leveraging design thinking



Organizations are meant to innovate and solve problems. While you can probably explore basic solutions and design a few successful products, complex problems may arise that require more in-depth creativity. 

Some of the largest companies today, such as Google, Apple, and Amazon, leverage design thinking to expand their problem-solving techniques and create effective solutions for their customers. According to Forrester, design thinking typically results in an ROI between 71% and 107%. Keep reading to learn more about design thinking and how it can benefit your organization.


What is Design Thinking?


Design thinking is a problem-solving method that is centered around the end user. It provides a framework that encourages creativity and consideration of real human problems to solve complex problems. The design thinking process builds on empathy for the people using our products. It also aims to help us come up with solutions that are feasible and affordable for your organization.

Design thinking is specifically meant to solve “wicked” problems. “Wicked” problems are ones that are extremely complex and that don’t have solutions using traditional problem-solving methods. Attempts to solve these types of problems may lead to a multitude of questions or other problems. The out-of-the-box methods of design thinking can often promote the innovation necessary to find solutions.


Key Elements of Design Thinking


When trying to implement design thinking in your organization, you need to include some key elements to really embrace the process. Take a look at some of the main principles below.


Collaboration


Many businesses are split up into departments and then divided by a hierarchy which can often create barriers to communication and collaboration. Design thinking doesn’t require a whole new organizational system, but it does highly encourage these different departments and levels of workers to communicate more openly. Different teams may come together to work on a project and brainstorm ideas with more diversity and perspectives.


Expansive Thinking


Design thinking specifically guides organizations to come up with as many ideas as possible, even if they sound completely unrealistic. The brainstorming step of design thinking focuses on the number of ideas rather than quality, which invites people to voice their ideas without judgment or restraint. 

In addition, design thinking addresses all angles of a problem, so that we’re not only looking at one side of the problem. We are asked to reframe the problem from multiple angles and consider the effects on anyone involved in the end use of a product. 


Experimentation


Another major aspect of design thinking is that we are supposed to turn our ideas into experiments as quickly as possible. We create multiple prototypes and are open to trying more than one approach. After we create quick prototypes and test them out on a small scale, we can decide whether it’s worth it to move forward with an idea. 


Iteration


Many steps in the design thinking process are meant to be repeated as we gather more feedback and information about your problem and potential solutions. During the experimentation process, we may need to make changes to a prototype and keep testing them until we reach a solution. Or we may need to scrap projects altogether and go back to the brainstorming step. Iteration will help us explore options further and gain more feedback.


Empathy


We could argue that empathy is the most crucial part of design thinking. The goal of design thinking is to create the best product for the end user, so it requires the ability to look at the problem from their point of view. We need to consider their feelings and needs so that we can design both an innovative and useful solution. 


How Design Thinking Can Improve Problem-Solving


Design thinking has many different benefits for organizations that truly take advantage of the process. Check out how using the key elements of design thinking can improve the problem-solving and innovation systems in your organization.


It promotes collaborative communication.


As we mentioned above, design thinking highly encourages collaboration and open communication between departments and levels of workers that might not normally work together. This can open our organization up to new viewpoints, but it can also save time, money, and other resources.

With traditional organizational systems, two different departments may notice similar issues with a product. Or two different teams may be assigned to work on a project. Solutions may be explored for months before realizing that each department is either working on the same idea or two totally different ideas that won’t work together. With design thinking, the two teams break down communication barriers to come together from the beginning.


It brings a human element to expand thinking.


Design thinking is centered around empathy and considering the feelings of others being affected by the problem and solutions being explored. By looking at the problem from the user’s point of view, we can find inspiration that may not come with straightforward problem-solving. 

Organizations tend to gravitate toward tried-and-true methods instead of trying out new ideas and coming up with creative solutions. However, considering the feelings of the end user and gaining knowledge of what they truly need from your solution is the key to innovation and expansive thinking. Therefore, we’re more likely to come up with a truly effective solution that sets us apart from others.


It uses iteration and experimentation to gather feedback.


When we experiment using design thinking, our goal is to create a prototype as quickly as possible without expending too many resources on it. We start with a simple design and test it with a small group of people to get feedback. Instead of spending tons of time and money on research and planning, we can gain feedback on basic prototypes quickly and easily.

The iteration and experimentation involved in design thinking can also help us learn about how to implement new solutions that may not have tested methods. By starting small, we can test from the beginning and continue adding to a prototype as needed to discover new solutions while spending as little time and money as possible.



Measure Design Maturity to Create Effective Problem-Solving Systems


Design maturity indicates the level of design being used in your business systems. If your business has a high level of design maturity, that means you can create better customer experiences and complete problem-solving tasks more effectively. Your design maturity may range from being simply a basic step in creating new products all the way to being an integral part of your whole business.


To measure your design maturity, you must consider your visions, systems, and processes. Your business should have strong goals and values that are used to guide all of your projects. Systems should be in place to build efficiency and consistency while working through problems. And, finally, you should have processes that provide resources, clarity, and opportunities for collaboration amongst your team.


nxtting strives to create effective solutions using a design framework that takes into account the effects on your organization and your end user. We can help to build innovative designs, sustainable products, improved business systems, and increased employee engagement using design thinking. Work with nxtting to measure your design maturity and implement design thinking across all business disciplines.

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