Why Design Thinking Works?

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Credit to Anna Yashina

In an era where innovation is crucial to corporate success and growth, you have probably heard of "design thinking." You may have heard a senior leader suggest it as something that should be employed more, or you may have seen it on a potential employee's résumé. So, what is design thinking?

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is an iterative approach in which you strive to comprehend your users, challenge beliefs, redefine challenges, and build inventive, prototype-able solutions.The ultimate objective is to uncover alternate tactics and answers that are not immediately evident based on your current level of comprehension.

In this post, we will examine a range of human biases that impede innovation and show how the instruments and clear key processes of design thinking help teams overcome them.

Challenges of innovation

An effective innovation process must yield greater solutions, reduced change risks and expenses, and employee buy-in. Over time, businessmen have evolved effective strategies for accomplishing these results. However, businesses frequently face new challenges and trade-offs when attempting to implement them.

Superior solutions

Defining problems in clear, traditional ways frequently results in obvious, conventional answers. Posing a more engaging question can assist teams in generating more creative ideas. Some teams may become stuck forever investigating a problem, whereas action-oriented supervisors may be too impatient to find the time to determine what inquiry they should be posing.

It is well acknowledged that solutions that integrate user-driven criteria are vastly superior. Also, it is understood that incorporating varied perspectives improves solutions. However, this can be hard to control if talks between people with differing ideas devolve into divisive arguments.

Reducing cost and risk

Innovation entails inescapable uncertainty. Therefore, innovators frequently construct a portfolio of choices. Too many ideas dilute concentration and deplete resources. To handle this conflict, innovators must be ready to abandon bad ideas.Unfortunately, it is frequently simpler for individuals to reject imaginative(and perhaps riskier) ideas than gradual ones.

Employee buy-in

A company's employees must support a new idea to succeed. Involving them in the ideation process is the most effective method for gaining their support. The risk is that the participation of many individuals with diverse opinions may result in chaos and inconsistencies.

A fundamental tension lies beneath the trade-offs involved with accomplishing these results. In a secure environment, an organisation achieves efficiency by eliminating variation. In an uncertain environment, however, variance becomes an organisation's ally since it creates new avenues to success. Organisations require a social technology that solves both these behavioral impediments and the unproductive biases of humans to handle all the trade-offs. Design thinking meets the criteria.

The beauty of the structure

A common complaint among experienced designers is that design thinking is excessively controlled and linear. Managers on innovation staff are not typically designers, nor are they accustomed to conducting face-to-face studies with customers, immersing themselves in their views, co-creating with stakeholders, or planning and implementing experiments. Structure and linearity aid managers in attempting to accommodate these new behaviors.

Organised procedures keep people on track and prevent them from wasting time or skipping ahead while instilling confidence. Most people fear making mistakes, so they focus on avoiding them rather than taking opportunities. Psychological safety is vital for innovation. Design thinking's physical objects and precisely formatted tools give innovators confidence throughout client requirements discovery, concept generation, and idea testing.

In most businesses, seven activities are included in implementing design thinking. Each action provides a distinct output transformed into another output by the subsequent activity until the organisation reaches an implementable innovation. Each design-thinking exercise also profoundly transforms the perspectives of the innovators.

Customer discovery

Several of the most well-known design-thinking discovery strategies involve recognising the"task at hand." Instead of focusing on the acquisition and analysis of data, these techniques examine what constitutes a valuable customer journey.This investigation involves three groups of activities:


Customer research has typically been a cold endeavor. An expert evaluates comments from focus groups, surveys, and, if available, statistics on current behavior and make assumptions about needs based on prior notions about customer preferences. The problem is that this grounds people in the requirements that have already been expressed, and the data represents failing to notice unmet needs.

Design thinking takes a new approach: identifying latent client needs by putting the innovator in the customer's shoes.

Sense making

Immersion in user encounters gives the raw material for gaining more profound insights. However, identifying patterns and making meaning of the acquired volume of qualitative data is a formidable problem. We have repeatedly witnessed the early enthusiasm for the outcomes of ethnographic techniques wane as non-designers get overloaded by the volume of data and the chaotic nature of seeking deeper insights. Here is when design thinking's framework truly shines.

The Gallery Walk design-thinking exercise helps make sense of immersion-generated knowledge. The main innovation team writes the essential discovery data on enormous posters.Posters often feature images and quotes from interviewees. Key stakeholders tour a gallery of posters and scribble on Post-it notes the data they believe vital to new designs. In a carefully coordinated procedure, the stakeholders create small teams and share, mix, and sort their Post-it notes by theme into clusters for insights.


The final step of discovery involves workshops and seminars to generate a design. Focusing on solutions rather than status quo restrictions enables multicultural teams to have more creative and dynamic design dialogues.

Idea generation

Once innovators comprehend their clients' wants, they identify and narrow down specific solutions that meet the established criteria.


The initial stage establishes a discourse about potential solutions, carefully arranging who will participate, what issue will be presented, and how the talk will be arranged.Rather than just negotiating concessions when conflicts arise, people will share ideas and build upon them creatively after employing the design criteria for individual brainstorming.


In articulation, innovators surface and challenge latent assumptions. When assumptions aren't questioned, arguments about what will or won't work get stuck, with each individual advocating from their worldview. Design thinking asks what the world must be like for an idea to work.

The testing experience

Companies typically view prototyping as the process of refining a product or service that has already been substantially developed. In design thinking, however, prototyping is performed on products far from completion. It focuses on the iterative experiences of consumers with a work-in-progress. This implies that significant changes, perhaps complete redesigns, are possible along the process.


A neuroscience study shows that letting people "pre-experience" something new leads to more accurate value judgments. Design thinking requires simple, low-cost products that represent the planned user experience. These are not prototypes and are mostly rougher than "minimum acceptable products" tested by lean start-ups. These artefacts compromise accuracy but gain flexibility since they can be readily changed based on what consumers discover from them.

Learning in action

Experiments in the real world are vital for evaluating new ideas and identifying the modifications required to make them functional. But these assessments also provide a less evident benefit: they assist employees, and customers overcome their usual aversion to change.


The design thinking structure allows for a natural progression from study to implementation. Immersion in the customer experience generates data that is translated into insights that assist teams in agreeing on the design criteria they will use to generate solutions. Examining and testing ideas about what is crucial to the success of those approaches with rough prototypes helps teams further develop ideas and prepare for real-world experimentation.