The business environment today is less defined by whether a firm “works in technology” or not. All businesses must embrace the power of scale, design thinking, and disruptive digital technologies, whether they are in the consumer (b2c) or enterprise (b2b) businesses.
Nevertheless, some businesses haven’t yet fully embraced everything that disruptive technology has to offer. Whether it is due to a lack of resources or lack of execution, these businesses need to embrace everything that digital transformation has to offer. According to the World Economic Forum, digital transformation is set to add $100 trillion to the world economy by 2025.
But how can these businesses make the leap and actually implement digital transformations in their own ventures? One of the best ways is through design thinking. It’s is a fresh, effective way of helping organizations of all shapes and sizes better compete in a digital world. By embracing design thinking, your organization can certainly take advantage of everything that disruptive digital technology has to offer.
Design thinking isn’t just for designers. It is a lens that you and your colleagues can use to solve problems in creative and unique ways.
To put it simply, design thinking is centered on understanding the people for whom we are designing products or services. While there are several different variations of design thinking, they all come down to similar principles—all of which have empathy at their core. One of the most famous is from Stanford University’s legendary d.school, which has five core tenets for design thinking:
- Empathize with your users,
- Define your users’ needs, their problems, and your insights,
- Ideate by challenging assumptions and creating ideas for innovative solutions,
- Prototype to start creating solutions,
- Test solutions.
These five phases are not always sequential, and throughout this process, iteration is important. Once you obtain feedback from users, you incorporate that feedback into new prototypes and solutions. The design thinking process, therefore, is never-ending. This is because the world itself isn’t static. Your customers’ habits and preferences are always changing, which forces your organization to embrace this iterative approach in order to keep delivering unique value to your customers.
Ultimately, a design thinking approach is a solution-based approach to solving problems. Instead of following antiquated procedures or doing things a certain way because “we’ve always done it that way,” It cuts through the fluff. While there may be some dead ends and failed experiments, design thinking gets you much closer to what your customers want—regardless of what your competitors are doing.
Design Thinking in Digital Transformations
Design thinking can be a game-changer for your business—especially if it is used in the context of digital transformations. With the ultimate goal of integrating disruptive digital technologies into your business practices, design thinking can substantially increase the chances that your digital transformation best serves your customers.
One of the most important components of design thinking in this context is digital empathy. By combining design thinking and digital transformations, your organization isn’t implementing technology solely for the sake of implementing that technology. Instead, technology is used to solve problems that your customers are experiencing. As part of this, your organization must create an outstanding user experience for the customer. Your digital product or service should be intuitive and should not contain significant friction points.
Along with this, design thinking is helpful here because of its reliance on prototyping and testing. One of the key advantages of digital technology is that it is extremely easy (and cheap) to launch tiny experiments. Throughout and at the conclusion of those experiments, you can analyze the data and make appropriate changes. It is this ease of testing and iterative attitude that makes digital transformation that much easier and effective.
Embracing User Centricity and Digital Empathy
By embracing design thinking and digital transformations, your organization can leverage the latest disruptive technologies to better serve your customers. Yes, adopting a user centric attitude can take some time. Some of your colleagues may be afraid of this dramatic change. Ultimately, it is your job to convince them of the value and to show why user centricity and digital empathy in digital transformations will help you accomplish your business goals.
As with any investment, there is an initial cost. That said, the payoff is absolutely worth the time and effort.
What is Design Thinking?
To put it simply, design thinking is centered on understanding the people for whom we are designing products or services. While there are several different variations of design thinking, they all come down to similar principles—all of which have empathy at their core.
The five core elements for design thinking?
Empathize with your users,
Define your users’ needs, their problems, and your insights,
Ideate by challenging assumptions and creating ideas for innovative solutions,
Prototype to start creating solutions,