Post

How Design Thinking Improves Thought Leadership and Digital Innovation

27 September, 2021

Technology

According to the Design Management Institute, design-led companies are more successful than their non-design counterparts. The reason being that companies with a culture of innovation have a competitive advantage over their competition. 

As a business exec or business leader, how do you create a culture of innovation within your company? How do you foster creativity, agility, and thought leadership amongst your team? 

The answer may be design thinking. 

It's an approach that Fortune 500 companies like Apple have consistently used. Google, GE, Microsoft, and other innovation leaders who have embedded design thinking into their digital strategies and are reaping big. Many small businesses are also increasingly adopting design thinking to better their outcomes. 

Design thinking has the potential to catapult your company into high levels of success! 

This article helps you find out how exactly design thinking improves thought leadership and digital innovation.

What is Design Thinking?

Before we delve into how exactly organizations can leverage design thinking to improve thought leadership and spur digital innovation—let's get a grasp of what it's all about.

Design thinking is a human-centered approach or methodology that integrates design, science, and business. It focuses on helping your company solve problems through rigorous and iterative processes-in which you explore new solutions in collaboration with the customer. 

Design thinking is helpful in several different ways. In many cases, it's used to quickly develop solutions to complex business problems to meet customer needs. But design thinking can also help you connect with your customers more humanly and help you create more memorable, life-changing experiences for them. 

Instead of asking what, or how— it asks why? 

It starts by questioning existing assumptions about;

  • Who users are
  • What they need 
  • Why they need it 
  • How much they should pay for it—even what value means in that context

This way of looking at an idea sheds light on potentially unexpected ways of improving it. 

Why You Should Use Design Thinking

Every business is vulnerable to disruption. 

To stay ahead of the competition and remain ahead of current trends and outmaneuver competitors, you need a set of innovative ideas that can drive your business forward. 

Design thinking can help your organization innovate by generating ideas that are thoughtful, strategic, and creative. This innovative approach encourages different organizational departments to work collaboratively on real-world customer pain points. 

When people from different departments team up on a problem, they open up new paths toward innovative solutions, speed up business growth, opening up new possibilities and driving better business outcomes.

Creativity and Team Collaboration 

As businesses begin to become more diverse, design thinking is a way to ensure that everyone feels included and heard. It empowers everyone to develop and articulate innovative ideas in an inclusive, open environment by breaking down barriers between departments. 

Design thinking allows anyone to design and develop a new product, process, or service. It encourages a focus on the problem, the customer, and how to solve it. 

It enables teams to have an open conversation about what their customers want and need. Moreover, it helps recognize that all members of the team have valuable insights to share. It's a system for approaching challenges with a deep understanding of the needs of your customers. 

Customer Discovery and Value-creation

Design thinking is a robust framework for companies that want to achieve higher customer discovery and engagement levels. It helps you to shift your perspective to engage customers in the process of co-creating better.

The principles of design thinking will help your team take a step back, immerse themselves in the customers' shoes, see your customers as individuals, leverage customer trends, data, research studies, etc., and gain deeper insights to drive innovation and future innovation thinking.

Once your organization understands customers' needs, you can move on to identify and craft potential solutions that conform to the criteria they've specified.

Efficiency and Scalability 

Efficiency is critical to any brand's success. Without efficiency, innovation is rendered counterproductive.

Design thinking is useful in sense-making, deriving meaning, and improving customer experiences. Additionally, it helps minimize risk, reduces costs, improves speed, streamlines processes, and invigorates teams. 

What's more, with organized processes, business leaders can boost team confidence, keep everyone on track and reduce the inclination to impatiently skip ahead of processes or spend too long addressing issues. 

Though geared to understanding and improving customers, the design-thinking processes' experiences also help enhance and reshape the experiences of business leaders and teams.

Better and Improved Decision-Making

While employees are at the driving seat of any company's innovation, the involvement of many people with different perspectives often creates chaos and confusion.

Design thinking addresses this common roadblock by opening new paths to success for your organization. Specifically, it drives variation out of your organization. It encourages organizations to embrace tools and technologies that address such and more hurdles. 

Besides, it inspires team leaders to roll up their sleeves on exercises they otherwise would delegate to team members. Such include personalized research with customers and responsiveness to their perspectives, co-creation with stakeholders, designing and executing processes, etc. In the process, business leaders get exposure and adjust to this new culture setting a good example.

With a laid out framework for tackling complex and ambiguous human-centric challenges, leaders can arrive at the best possible decisions such as regarding:

  • Value - creation, and proposition 
  • Reshaping business models
  • Shifting markets trends and behaviors
  • Organizational culture change
  • Injecting and scaling creativity across the organization etc.

Allows for Step Revalidation

Unlike traditional linear thinking, design thinking is a process-led approach that sees progress as occurring through cycles of generating ideas, prototyping, and then refining the ideas based on experience. 

Ideally, the design thinking process encompasses five main steps:

  • Empathize 
  • Define 
  • Ideate
  • Prototype 
  • Test  

Notably, each step is critical in pinpointing problems and defining solutions. However, the steps shouldn't be mistaken for step-by-step solution processes your organization would typically take. 

These steps provide an appealing way to approach challenges because they provide the freedom to explore many options—and are also profoundly collaborative, inclusive of users/stakeholders, and focused on identifying meaningful results.

Simply put, the design thinking process is a work in progress cycle of innovation about users' iterative experiences that are meant to be revisited, remodeled, and recharged often. 

This allows for new ideas, radical changes, and perspectives to drive creativity at any moment. As such, each discovery generates a solution that underlying or future processes can progressively exploit until an organization arrives at worthwhile innovation. 

As a marketing leader, you know that you've got to innovate and give something new to your customers to build a compelling brand. Achieving this exacts a significant toll on resources, including time, money, and human capital. Accepting this challenge is hard work. Accepting it without an effective solution is even more challenging.

Pronix Inc can help you unlock the creative potential of your team and lead digital innovation. Underpinned by our design thinking approach, our experts help you develop strategies to build thought leadership and transform brands.

We can help your enterprise adopt a design-led culture to create world-class products, services, and experiences for your customers with design thinking methods that have been proven successful at growing brands.

Talk to us today and learn how we help brands to innovate and differentiate. 


Contact Us