Design Thinking is a protocol followed by several companies today. This approach encourages you to find innovative solutions to problems.
The term ‘design’ is usually associated with something that is aesthetically appealing. However, ‘design thinking’ is a user-centered problem-solving methodology, where the problem is divided into stages. The focus is on giving the best solution and delighting the customers. Design thinking methodology is based upon a more responsive relationship between the service provider and the customer. Right from internal functions like project management, administration, HR to project delivery for clients – this concept can be applied to just about anything and any industry.
In IT industry, the move to agile methodology is a parallel evolution that is reinforcing many design principles. IT organizations apply agile work through sprints and rapid iterations. Getting to this point requires immense process change and a new outlook across the company.
Design thinking, at times is used inter-changeably as agile, but actually the former is followed by later. Both Design Thinking and Agile emphasizes people over processes. Design thinking is principally well-suited to situations where the problem is not clear, where the focus has to be on problem shaping. Likewise, Agile methods are appropriate for projects where the requirements are subject to change.
Here is an excellent example where Design Thinking has helped to turnaround a company. Seven years back, like many startups, Airbnb was nearly shutting shop as their weekly revenue amounted to just $200/week.
The owners of Airbnb had a meeting with venture capitalist, Paul Graham of Y Combinator. Together they browsed the website to find out why they weren’t growing. On doing a random search on New York City listing, they noticed that almost all the photos posted on the site were of poor quality and perhaps for this reason, few people made bookings from this site.
Graham suggested a solution that was both non-scalable and non-technical. He asked the owners to travel to New York, speak to the customers who listed their properties, and replace the poor quality pictures with beautiful high-resolution ones. They did as Graham said and within a week the revenue doubled.
So, this is what design thinking does. Define the problem well, to find an innovative solution. In this case, the issue was a non-scalable one.
The concept of design thinking and agile methodology are central to the process of developing software solutions, in contemporary companies like Suyati these days. Many a times, the brief can be complex and the problems shot by the customers to the engineers are required to be solved quickly. Design thinking methodology, actively engages customers, drives enthusiasm and encourages innovative thinking, to stimulate the Agile team. In an iteration process, clients give their feedback and modifications are made accordingly.
Solving customers’ problems require you to think intuitively by observing exemplary use cases or scenarios. This intuitive understanding is developed by design thinking principles. Rather than delivering a technology solution for the sake of delivering, try to put oneself in their shoes and think from their point of view before going ahead to the next stage. When you receive a brief from the client, instead of a unidimensional outlook, have a cross-functional insight into a problem.
Tried and tested methods is a safer bet, but there may be instances when a problem needs a solution using a different approach. Having brainstorming sessions and respecting each team member’s perspective can generate more ideas and an out of the box solutions to a problem. An iterative process of failing and learning fast is part of the journey.
Using Design Thinking technique, more often than not, one can find a unique solution to the problem. The result one achieves after going through many re-works and refining, is invariably a flexible one that can work well in various other scenarios. Thus, design thinking helps to solve the problems and address the exact need of the customers.
If used effectively, Design Thinking can be the foundation for driving a brand or business forward.
Our organization, Suyati is a fine example, where Design Thinking is practiced. Mukund Krishna, our CEO and Founder, strongly believes design thinking is the way ahead. He states, “As a team, we have learned to empathize with others, listen to their viewpoints, celebrate our achievements, move on from failures and learn from our mistakes.” At Suyati, as we adhere to the principle of design thinking as well as agile methodolgy, along with prompt delivery of customer’s requirements, we cherish the long-term relationship we forge with our clients.
Dozens of companies are applying design thinking principles in various facets of their company – solving problems creatively than just looking at it logically. Are you ready to benefit from design thinking?
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