Design Thinking as a Practice for Business Innovation & Breakthrough

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@dana-kachanDana Kachan

Marketing Strategist, Author.

There's no denying that Design Thinking is the way of the future. Applying this approach to a strategy and Innovation, brands can completely satisfy the needs of customers. To stay on the top, they should realize the significance of design for product success rates and have a clear understanding of a Design Thinking method.

Design is a reason to choose, regardless of the industry and a type of business. It is one of the biggest differentiators on the market. It defines what users feel toward a product and how the rest of the world perceives it. Design undeniably builds a relationship between a product and those who use it and who think of purchasing it.
"Designing a product is designing a relationship." - Steve Rogers,  Head of Production at BBC

What is Design Thinking?

Design-thinking has been first used and popularized by Tim Brown (CEO of IDEO, global design company). He defines this concept as "a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success."

Design-Thinking for Innovation

Design thinking is not only a buzzword but a completely fresh vision of product innovation that can lead a brand to a breakthrough. It makes entrepreneurs focus their team's effort not only on the quality engineering but also on generating Innovation embodied in functional design and the product's emotional impact on a target audience. 
Design-thinking includes a customer-centric approach, problem-solving, and a whole lot of empathy.

How a customer-centric approach brings Innovation

A successful product reflects at least one of the user's intrinsic desires and values. Design-thinking makes ideators think, design, and develop products from the customer's perspective. 
That means encapsulating all the ideas of human-centric design, user needs, and the context of a target audience into a single unified product concept. Innovation lives in the opportunity to discover the user's need or peculiarity that has not been satisfied by the market before. And design a product for it.
"You need to make [design thinking] part of all processes and not just someth ing you do on select projects. Starting by looking through the customer lens has to be ingrained in everything you do.
Developing that foundation and creating that cultural change across all projects and initiatives is what it takes." -  Catherine Courage, Citrix SVP of Customer Experience, in the interview with McKinsey

How a problem-solving approach works for Innovation

You may not be the first to solve the user's particular problem. Although you may pioneer at solving it in a more convenient, eye-pleasing, and emotionally engaging way. The innovator is not the first to create a product but the first to bring users pain relief and satisfaction with a product.

How empathy in design contributes to innovation

"People ignore designs that ignore people." – Frank Chimero, Designer, Illustrator
Product success requires you to be emphatic. Try to dig into those separate pains which customers are forced to experience because of the lack of market supply. Empathy-driven design makes a user feel pleasure from the product tactile feeling, its unique look, and the brand's care manifested in the smallest details. 
To make a product ready for the success journey, we need to understand why empathy matters first. 
Empathy makes a product creator step into the user's shoes, perceive a product like a customer, feel and use it as he/she does, and create what's precisely expected. It motivates us to offer pure uniqueness that harmoniously correlates with the uniqueness of a user as a personality. 
Feeling empathy towards a user, you can reveal infelicities in product usability and fix them before the product launch. It is what motivates us to test a product again and again.
“To be successful, the product should be “flexible” and timely injected by a dose of required changes. It is the only way to find a perfect market-fit and offer target users exactly what they need. 
The product is made not only by people but also by a dynamic improvement process. The product is like a living organism, it needs your care and commitment.” - Dima Venglinski, Founder and CEO of Fireart Studio

Why Invest in Design Thinking?

The startup that has its team's mindset focused on design thinking has triple chances to be invested by angels. Why is design thinking worth your time and effort?
The proper UX design research helps you identify the real user's problem, the problem's context, find the best way to solve it, and prevent failures that may happen to your product when it is already on the wheels. Consequently, it allows you to save thousands of dollars and time spent on engineering, user testing, and customer support. 
"Product design is the process of identifying a market opportunity, clearly defining the problem, developing a proper solution for that problem, and validating the solution with real users." - Nick Babich, Developer, Author
When you design a product from the user's perspective, you generate solutions that help your brand be fastly loved by customers as you understand their problems and offer a product that solves them. Design research is the first step to building customer loyalty and trust. As known, loyalty leads to customer retention and increasing conversions.
Design research often includes a competitor investigation part that triggers the right decisions related to your brand's unique positioning and helps set your product apart from the competition. 

How Design Thinking Impacts ROI

Design thinking is not a guarantee for better product performance, although it may appear to be the key to success. Design thinking brings more analysis, data gathering, testing, and a creative part in the product development process. 
It is not a guarantee but experimentation. The result is unpredictable; it may be both black and white, positive and negative. It doesn't guarantee you are making the decision, leading to success. But it empowers designers to take daily product challenges in the experimental and creatively fresh way.
Design thinking significantly impacts the return on investment rates. It moves a brand away from established standards and closer to Innovation. It gives birth to newness and shapes the product's value. The more unique a product is, the more interested buyers are, the more positive tendency in conversions you will monitor. 
Design thinking drives Innovation. Innovation drives Conversion. Conversion drives ROI. These are the interrelated components of success at all stages of the product life cycle. They are critical for product bonanza and business scaling. 

Design-Thinking is Deep Analysis + Risk-Taking. Are You Game?

Do you dare to experiment for Innovation? Innovation is not an accidental discovery. It implicates hard work, a challenge, and design thinking. The last one is a subject of this article and the cornerstone component of product success. It is a process that makes up an intuitive and convenient product that solves real user problems (not imagined ones) in an engaging way. 
Besides research and analysis, design thinking involves experimentation. It forces you to take the risk since you never know if moving away from the industry standards will promise success to your brand. However, not moving is not the way. 
Industrialism is a ruthless revenue-generation machine driven by traditionalism. It exists but doesn't make breakthroughs. It lacks art and Innovation. To move our world forward, we need to inject it with design thinking. Are you game?

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