Design Thinking in Uncertain Times 

Design thinking, by a simple definition, is a strategy of using real empathy to create solutions and meet requirements. If you think of it, doesn’t this sound exactly like what we need now, in these uncertain times? After all, the world can certainly do with more empathy, especially during these trying times. Design thinking is fast becoming the strategic thinkers’ favourite tool to connect with stakeholders and grow businesses, but what many might not be aware of is its power in bringing order in times of uncertainty. Let’s look at how it does so.

How to Navigate through these Difficult Times Using Design Thinking

We are operating with data more than ever before but unfortunately, that has not able to secure the future for us. Even with an increasing amount of data, we are not really able to predict the future any better. Maybe that’s the essence of future – the unpredictability of it all. However, preparing for the future becomes extremely difficult when there remains very little semblance of normalcy in the present. In times like ours when the entire world is adjusting to a ‘new normal’, trying to fight back the COVID-19, it becomes a task navigating through the day to day business, let alone preparing for the future. 

The entire world is in it together. Yet the competition hasn’t gone away, nor has the need for a sustainable business model. This constant need for sustainability, especially during uncertain times has given rise to Design Thinking. Informed empathy is the key to a sustainable future for businesses worldwide. We need to use design thinking principles to use data and insights to craft more humanised solutions that are innovative and effective.

Design Thinking in the education industry.

How to Use Design Thinking Principles to Prepare for the Future

Studies have revealed that all successful businesses have one thing in common – the ability to turn uncertainty into an opportunity. Uncertain times also bring with them a lot of changes in terms of consumer behaviour and market performance- use them to your advantage. The problem with most of us is that we are too busy playing it safe, avoiding risks and while there is nothing wrong with that kind of thinking, it will not lead to any kind of disruptive success. Opportunities come to those who know where to look and when to act on them. 

Now let’s break down our current uncertain business circumstances and try to apply design thinking elements to each of those:

  1. Ambiguity: Design Thinking aims at resolving the ill-defined problem or in our case, the uncertainties of the situation. Start by accepting the obscurity of the problem. Only then will you be able to pick up the necessary clues to prepare for the future. Use ambiguity as a tool to look for a new perspective and use the unsettling state as a kick to stay sharp.
  2. Curiosity: The crux of design thinking is innovation and a knack for constant learning is the path to it. Nothing has ever been achieved in the comfort of complacency. Staying curious will help you understand business environments and the resultant requirements better. 
  3. Creativity: Uncertain times actually bring out the best in us in terms of innovation and optimisation. The lack of resources will automatically push you to utilise the existing ones to their maximum potential and also look for ways of improvising. It is mostly in scarcity that mankind has produced some of its finest inventions and innovation is certainly the path to that. 
  4. Iteration: Use a non-linear repetitive process to experiment with ideas and eliminate failure. The iteration of the process will ensure that you reach the best possible outcome and not settle at a lesser option. 

Design thinking is the perfect tool to strategise uncertain times because it uses the lack of comfort, the ambiguity of the situation to create futuristic solutions – and what better way to prepare for the future than already welcoming it in the present? I will leave you with that thought. For more on how you can benefit from design thinking, visit the DT category page

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