Design Thinking is a concept that has long been around in the United States, in the 1970s, in an academic environment. However, Design Thinking only really became well-known in the early 2000s after being applied and praised by the world’s leading innovation businesses such as Apple, Starbucks, GE, etc.
Along with enthusiastic support from business leaders and leading innovative leadership universities such as Harvard and MIT, Design Thinking has been a “hot” topic of interest across business forums in developed countries, especially the US in the 2010s, and has now become part of the work culture of many businesses, government and non-governmental organizations.
What is design thinking?
The definitions of Design Thinking are quite numerous, but in general, Design Thinking is a creative problem-solving process, based on deep empathy and insights of the target audiences for whom we are designing the products or services. In businesses and organizations, Design Thinking is often used to enhance the experience for customers or members of the business through the development of new products or services, helping provide better experiences.
The steps in Design Thinking may vary slightly in processes adopted by different companies, but will often contain the following core principles:
- Customer portraits identification
- Empathy for customers
- Definition of a problem to be solved
- Idea creation
- Sample testing with target customers
What is the most important step in design thinking?
First of all, Design Thinking combines problem solving and creativity into a process. When we talk about a process, it means a set of interconnected steps, one after another. This “division” helps creativity no longer be something elusive, “scary”, or seemingly only for individuals with special talents as many have perceived so far. Moreover, the application of Design Thinking also promotes collective creativity.
Design Thinking also places special emphasis on empathy with the customer, the object of creation. Empathy, in the definition of Design Thinking, is a higher step of understanding and sympathy in which we actively use methods of gathering information about our customers to capture what is going on in their lives, their problems we are trying to solve. From there, we synthesize information from an objective and analytical perspective to find out and meet the existing and potential needs that our customers might not be aware of themselves.
While developing products and services, most businesses and organizations research customers in a variety of ways. The techniques used to empathize with customers in Design Thinking include in-depth interviews of different subjects involved in the problem, accompanied by observations, aggregation of available information, and placing assumptions. The logical analysis of the collected information also makes the demand list more complete and detailed.
Thanks to the true “empathy” with customers and their needs as well as other steps in the process that always place customers at the center, the innovative solutions offered by Design Thinking are often welcomed by the target customers.
How to make Design Thinking easier?
Materials about Design Thinking are numerous, however, most people have trouble understanding and “feeling” them. The practice of theories with practical topics, under the guidance of experts, will help “open up” the reception and application of Design Thinking.
A decisive factor of success or failure in the application of Design Thinking is also in team coordination. One of the great advantages of Design Thinking is the multidimensionality in approaching problems as well as solving problems to ensure that all customer needs are well-considered and understood. Therefore, Design Thinking in businesses will not be successful if only one person understands and applies it alone. Design Thinking is really relevant to a saying, “If you want to do something fast, do it alone. If you want to do it deeply and thoroughly, let’s do it together.”
In short, in the context of the socio-economic environment changing more rapidly than ever before, from government institutions to industries and businesses, they are all well aware that embracing the innovation curve is becoming even more crucial. Design Thinking is an effective method for integrating people’s needs, the ability of technology, and the requirements to succeed in business; with design thinking, systematic and strategic thinking that enable the development of products and services, to drive the organization’s growth.