While design-led companies have been employing design thinking methodology for years, companies across all industries are now seeing the benefits of thinking like designers. So much so that they are investing in bringing the process into their briefing programs and changing the perception of what can be achieved by up-leveling the strategic impact of their briefings.
Design Thinking Defined
Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems, and find desired solutions for their clients. A design mindset is not problem-focused but solution-focused and is action oriented towards creating a preferred future. That future could relate to a product, service or business strategy.
“Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and hat a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity,” said Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO.
The Design Thinking Process
Design thinking is a structured framework to strive for innovation in ways than foster organic growth and adds value for your clients. It is also an iterative process that offers the possibility of intermediate solutions becoming the starting points of alternative discussions that may redefine the initial situation or scope of a session.
Companies are learning how to utilize the tools and techniques for combining the right-brain imagination with the logical left-brain to achieve innovation success. This whole-brain creative thinking process involves observing, interviewing creating personas, empathy mapping, storyboards, associational thinking, creating low-tech prototypes and decision making analysis.
There are a myriad of consulting companies and universities offering steps for design thinking implementation. Linda Naiman, Founder of Creativity at Work, offers “Creativity is central to the design process. The design thinking cycle involves observation to discover unmet needs within the context and constraints of a particular situation, framing the opportunity and scope of innovation, generating creative ideas, testing and refining solutions”. Simplified, the process is: plant, grow and harvest.1
Benefits for Briefing Programs
Briefing programs across different industries such a networking, enterprise application software and banking are redefining the methodology for not only hosting their clients to their centers but how they prepare for the visits in a whole new way. Specially defined rooms allow design thinking trained facilitators to lead clients through customized and focused sessions. Scribes capture the flow of the discussions in a visual storyboard that serves to define the path forward. And new, more collaborative technologies are being implemented to enable this new approach to customer engagement.
Instead of the typical half day or full day briefing, these sessions often last multiple days so briefing teams are strategizing with their sales counterparts earlier and at a deeper level to clarify the clients’ needs. Briefing preparation involves a diverse talent pool to more fully understand each client’s market and the design case for discussion. Briefing managers are also partnering with these new design thinking specialists to re-imagine how briefing are facilitated.
The ultimate outcome from the design thinking session is a thoughtful approach to the next successful product, service or business strategy. When these outcomes are arrived at by working collaboratively with clients, it enables a more meaningful and long lasting business partnership.
Design thinking is a methodology for engaging with customers in a different way that is solution and future focused. The iterative nature of the process opens possibilities for companies to enable their clients to design products, services and business strategies far beyond what they may have originally envisioned. Briefing programs are embracing this new paradigm and their clients are leaving the experience feeling empowered and strengthened by this new kind of partnership. In the end, employing whole brain thinking brings us back to human-based interactions that are ultimately driving more positive business outcomes.
Reference 1: Linda Naiman, Founder, Creativity at Work, http://www.creativityatwork.com/design-thinking-strategy-for-innovation/
Reference 2: Redesigning Theatre … rsneight designs, http://www.statista.com/statistics/456810/virtual-reality-interest-in-the-united-states/