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The Basics: Design Thinking 101 for Technology Enterprises

Isha Memon

Design Thinking is the application of practical processes which involves empathy, clarity, ideation, creating the prototype and finally putting the prototype to rigorous test.

Design Thinking process

Simply put, it is about thinking from the customer’s perspective, defining the scope through elimination of assumptions followed by coming to the core problem that needs to be addressed so an effective prototype can be created as a lasting solution. Finally, it needs to be put through rigorous testing before the prototype can be scaled.

Design thinking helps enterprises or organizations solve burning problems. It also helps them get a sense of the right problems to solve by asking relevant questions:

  • Who is the target audience?
  • What motivates them?
  • Which problem does the customer experience that your product or service solves?
  • How is the product or service being produced? Is it in line with your vision and meets the customers’ expectations?
  • Does the look and feel of your product fulfill your customers’ demands?
  • What value does it add to the end user?

This is where design thinking helps enterprises and organizations ask relevant questions and figure out the right way of utilizing those answers. Let’s understand what design thinking means for technology enterprises.

Understanding the Stages of Design Thinking

Design Thinking is a strategy for innovation and has a wide variety of use-cases beyond the obvious ‘Design.’

Here’s an interesting video to help break it down for you:

  1. Empathize

    Design thinking as a strategy for innovation when it comes to the Tech Industry begins with empathizing what the end customer needs. In order to understand the target market, variety of frameworks or tools can be utilized. Alternately, this can also be a manual investigation or simply a survey, focused group discussions or historical data analysis to understand what motivates the customers to make the purchase and stay loyal to the brand.

  2. Define

    Once it is established how the customers’ think and operate, it is important to define the core problem that needs to be addressed. This needs to be precise and well thought. Here’s where empathy is put to test – the context needs to be established to understand several factors influencing customers’ behavior pattern so the team can figure out the right set of problem/s to solve. Many go wrong at this stage by poorly defining the problem or not understanding the background factors influencing the end customers’ behaviors. This needs to be methodologically researched.

  3. Ideate

    After the problem has been defined, it is time to ideate solutions. Here’s where we need to understand the vision of the company and the ultimate aspiration of the customers. Then, we need to find a connect between the two in a way that aligns both the vision and the aspirations together in the earlier established context. This is where innovation steps in.

    “Innovation is a change that improves.”

    In terms of ideation, the enterprise needs to figure out whether to and/or how to leverage digital transformation and/or at what scale to solve the problem. This exercise, at times, leads to an overhaul of the existing value proposition the enterprise offers its customers.

    The value proposition can be redefined in two ways – by considering how outside experiences extend their influence inside the enterprise or by considering how internal factors, for instance, an innovation such as business process optimization through automation, will have its presence felt to fulfill customer expectations.

    There are various ways of going about reinventing and innovating an enterprise that syncs your vision with your customers’ aspirations. For example, popular chains of fast food restaurants like McDonalds, Domino’s and Subway have kept their core offerings intact while coming up with new food offerings and modifying their flavor and taste that is more in sync with customers’ existing tastes and preferences. In the tech industry, this would be something along the lines of offering a website in local language to counter the language barrier.

  4. Prototype

    In order to reinvent, realign or come up with innovations, prototyping is crucial. Technology companies have always been used to creating multiple prototypes when it comes to product development. However, in terms of design thinking, a prototype can be created simply using pen and paper or a chart or a workflow design which can further be tested to ensure the viability of the solution.

  5. Test

    Testing involves rigorous meticulous testing of the prototype with set KPIs that you have already defined earlier in line with the company vision, customers’ aspirations and the overall objectives of the business.

    When creating solutions and putting them to test, it is important to find a cohort that relates the most to the solution. Your test subjects should be from your target group instead of only being your colleagues. Of course, tools that facilitate progressive testing or automated testing are always a bonus; however, it is imperative to adopt a qualitative and a quantitative approach while testing the prototype.

Using these steps, it becomes easy to employ design thinking in the enterprise at the software design stage or while considering an overhaul of processes or adding enhancements to an existing product. The application of the design thinking approach can be universal depending on the needs of your enterprise.

Why is Design Thinking Important?

Design Thinking has several advantages; however, these seven benefits of design thinking can never be missed:

  1. It solves relevant problems with speed and efficiency
  2. It helps bridge the gap between the enterprises’ objectives and the customers’ needs and expectations.
  3. It allows the development team to be more engaged and imaginative leading to relevant and innovative solutions.
  4. It gives a fair sense of understanding the competition
  5. It helps understand the viewpoint of all the stakeholders
  6. It focuses on enhancing user experience through emotional intelligence
  7. More empathetic developers have an in-depth understanding of customer environment thereby speeding up the deployment and delivery of the product with superior quality.

The successful implementation of design thinking demands a culture shift in the enterprise where employees need to be more open to explore new ideas that allow the renewal of the business. The design thinking approach leads to improvement in Customer Experience which can then be integrated in all business strategies leading to growth in the forms of new and yet unrealized opportunities.

As a Technology First company focused on meeting customers’ expectations with Speed, Cygnet Infotech leverages the design thinking approach for rapid productization through 100% Agile methodology. Get in touch with experts at Cygnet today on +1-609-245-0971 or inquiry@cygnetinfotech.com.

Isha Memon

Isha Memon is a marketing communications professional with a decade long experience in branding and communications. Her communications degree and diverse experience across multiple industries lends her the unique ability to think from different points of view. As the Senior Content Writer, she leads the content team at Cygnet Infotech closely working alongside the marketing team. An avid reader, marvel fun and meme lover, Isha loves to write fiction and poetry when she’s not working.

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