Innovation is at the core of every organization in this ever-competitive information era. However, gone are the days where simply finding a “gap in the market” was enough to catalyze creative solutions.
The need of the hour has evolved into user-based innovation, which aims at understanding people’s needs and finding solutions to meet those requirements a.k.a DESIGN THINKING.
is a solution-based ideology that tackles problem-solving by focusing greatly on consumer-centric processes. Contrary to the name, Design thinking doesn’t only apply to creative design solutions but in fact is increasingly being applied to diverse fields today. Starting with user-emotion, Design Thinking processes apply instinct, creativity, rationale and reasoning to address the needs of the end-user. Taking a consumer-centric approach to solution-finding not only helps develop practical solutions that are unprecedented, but also ensures that the solutions created are exceptionally useful to your consumers, which in turn:
Increases consumer retention and brand loyalty.
Maximizes resources, harbors talents, encourages company-wide collaborations and fuels team creativity.
Optimizes ROI and diminishes time-to-market.
The path to effective Design Thinking is always routed through 5 essential cues; these cues give way to the 5 main steps of the highly-effective need-based process:
EMPATHIZE with your user.
Being a human-focused approach, the first step is always to truly understand the experiences and needs of the user. By paying attention to your user’s experience through interactions and investigations, you can truly immerse into the need-finding trajectory.
Knowledge of who you’re innovating for, paves the way for accurate demand-centric solutions.
DEFINE your user’s demands.
By applying the research and understandings gathered during the first step of this process (Empathizing with your consumer), you can effectively decipher your users’ perspective on the solutions they need. This perspective defines actual user-need and will help you innovate solutions for specific user-problems.
IDEATE to innovate.
Inspired by processes that designers follow (hence the name), the third step in an effective Design Thinking approach that banks on ideation, creativity and innovation. Any problem that exists always has several solutions; the key is to explore the diverse array of possible solutions to create a bank of creative ideas. This will give you the chance to think out of the box and present a collection of unique concepts, which will be at the forefront of a practical but innovative solution.
PROTOTYPE your best ideations.
In the previous step, you created a collection of the most viable ideas but without being able to experience your ideas physically, it will be impossible to truly know which ideas can evolve into effective solutions. Creating physical prototypes of the most applicable solutions and gaining firsthand experience with the ideations will guide you towards creating deeper empathy for your user. This will go a long way in giving your consumers exactly what they need.
TEST to discover the best solution.
Apply the rich knowledge gained through prototyping to create high-caliber products and applications, which can be tested, observed and modified to create refined solutions. The Design Thinking process is a constant, and as you test your products on real users or focus groups, you will continue to gain deeper empathy with your user and gain more extensive insights; these findings can further be applied to your superior prototypes to create highly potent and relevant solutions.