Redefining problems, understanding the challenges faced by users, and coming up with an innovative solution is known as the design thinking process. Leading global brands have implemented design thinking into their processes, and that has helped them in achieving greater success. It is a solution-based approach, and can be looked at as ‘thinking out of the box’. As an entrepreneur, it is crucial to understand the market and learn whether your product or service will be helpful to the customers or not. As someone who is starting a new business venture, you must consider the customer’s needs and design your brand accordingly. Innovation is the driving force of entrepreneurship.
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works” – Steve Jobs
Companies such as Apple, Adidas, Airbnb, and PepsiCo have outperformed all thanks to design thinking. Let us try to understand how design thinking can help you as an entrepreneur. Through the design thinking process, we first work on breaking down the business problem into smaller aspects and then start thinking from the base level to come up with various solutions. Solutions are compared with each other, and depending on the situation, the most suitable solution is selected. Design thinking thus involves understanding the target users in an empathetic manner.
The five primary steps that an entrepreneur must remember are:
- Empathizing – with the customers.
- Defining – the challenges, needs, and wants.
- Forming Ideas – different approaches are taken to come up with solutions for the problem.
- Prototyping – products are made based on the different approaches
- Testing – here the prototypes are tested and the faults plus benefits of the products are carefully studied
Why do entrepreneurs need design thinking?
A majority of the entrepreneurs that get effective growth have added innovation in their business. Here’s how it can help them, and why it is necessary to follow a design thinking process.
1. Long-term strategy planning
Issues that are complex, hard to define, unique, and have unknown consequences need to be defined. Problems such as poverty eradication, sustainability, healthcare, and education are examples of wicked problems. As an entrepreneur, it is important as part of your long term planning and business strategy to consider these aspects as well. In the design thinking process, we often ask questions about how one might be able to solve these problems in the future. It encourages innovation and helps in the ideation session. Taking out time to set goals and how to overcome any shortcomings is key to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Also Read: Design Thinking is Apple’s success mantra
2. Allows divergent thinking
Design thinking follows an approach that allows divergent and convergent thinking. This is typically associated with imaginative thinking, originality, curiosity, and exploring various possible outcomes. Convergent thinking revolves around bringing these ideas together to come up with a single solution. Design thinking allows you, as an entrepreneur, to follow different thinking styles and explore open-ended options to come up with an actionable solution. Design thinking tools such as empathy are great for this. Prototyping also plays an integral role in this aspect.
3. Incorporate a process model
Incorporating a design thinking process can help you track and measure your progress and outcomes. It also allows you to evaluate feedback from various entrepreneurial activities. There are multiple ways to do so, but the design thinking process follows a systematic process that consists of five-steps. Empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. Following this process as an entrepreneur can help with creating a framework and timeline to be followed.
4. Be curious and observe
Design thinking is all about observation. Being curious as to how things are, why they are a certain way, and trying to come up with solutions to this curiosity is what makes you as an entrepreneur very unique. It will eventually build empathy in you and that is one of the key aspects of design thinking.
In the words of IDEO’s Founder, David Kelley, “The main tenet of design thinking is empathy for the people you’re trying to design for. Leadership is the same thing — building empathy for the people that you’re entrusted to help.” The words are enough to describe how many people who understand design thinking will turn into great leaders and be able to create brilliant products.
With the help of design thinking, we can evaluate and develop empathy with a particular user. In addition to that, it aids in improving the process of questioning, which includes questioning the hurdles, questioning the indications, and questioning the hypotheses.
Future of Design Thinking
With room for innovation, entrepreneurs can achieve success by adopting design thinking practices. Thinking out of the box and coming up with new ideas requires focus, investment, and more importantly, methodology. And design thinking will help you achieve just that. Your risk factors will also be calculated under design thinking. It is a surely assured path to success and can assist any entrepreneur to stay connected and relevant to the changing market.
If you’re an entrepreneur and wish to upskill in the domain, you can check out Great Learning’s Stanford Design Thinking Course today.2