Design Thinking as a Business Decision

Design Thinking as a Business Decision
March 9, 2017 Karyn Corrigan

If you are a UX designer in a company, you have the ability to recognise pain points in your company’s product or service that could deter customers. Without your knowledge the company would not be as successful. Some of the greatest UX breakthroughs include infinite scrolling, swiping and Amazon’s $300 Million Button. Not all designers come up with world renowned solutions, but many come up with ways to improve processes, products or services for their company that have made thousands, if not millions of euro in revenue over time.

In order to understand the importance of design thinking we must first understand what it means. IDEO define design thinking as “a method of meeting people’s needs and desires in a technologically feasible and strategically viable way”. Before this, in the 80s Rolf Faste defined Design Thinking “as a method of creative action”. In the simplest terms, Design Thinking is a formal method for practical, creative resolution of problems or issues, with the viewpoint of advancing a company in the future.

With this is mind it is interesting to look at the business case for Design Thinking. Fast Company define the stages of design thinking as:

  1. Define a business problem,
  2. Create and consider many options,
  3. Refine selected directions, and
  4. Execute the winning solution.

From this, traits that seem necessary to succeed in a marketplace include strategic development, future focused planning and general business acumen (in order to know what can and cannot be implemented). With elements of traditional thinking and leadership, it seems that Design Thinking is a great addition to any executive team and has been a driving force in many successful companies over the past decade.

Design Thinking attempts to inspire the basic component of creativity, which is the ability to take an abstract idea and create something with it. Based upon the central belief that an offbeat or quirky idea (one that is normally not considered due to its eccentric nature), is not a worthless proposition. Design Thinking opens the door to a whole world of possibilities that has not been open to as many companies before now. Of course there have been companies in the past that have shown their quirkiness and been known for it, but never has there been so many companies open to the idea of trying something big and new.

A huge element of Design Thinking involves having empathy for those you are designing for. Being able to understand the emotions and feelings of your customer/user allows you to get closer to a problem in order for you solve it in a more wholesome way. Citrix has an in-house training course on Design Thinking which aims to drive innovation and improve user experience as much as possible among the whole company. In the seven years that it has been in place, Julie Baher described the change as from “I didn’t know we had a design team” to “I do customer-centered innovation”. The vast difference in realising the value of the design team is huge but it shows that companies can be proactive and help their employees be more creative through education.

In his book ‘The Guide to UX Leadership’Dave Malouf discusses the ability of UX designers to lead others through being an advocate of design, while showing the importance of design in a company through building interdepartmental relationships. Being proud of your department’s achievements, and identifying successes enables those around your company to learn how to be more accomplished through innovation and creation.

Dave Malouf, in association with Graphic Mint’s UX Academy initiative, will host a full-day workshop in Dublin’s Woodquay Venue around strategic design thinking and how to achieve business goals through this type of leadership. This one day event will take place on the 4th of July. For more information and to buy tickets please visit the event page by clicking here.

Karyn Corrigan
Karyn is a Content Strategist and Designer at Graphic Mint.