Design thinking is a methodology which helps you in structuring your efforts and focus on the user needs even while managing smaller details. According to Tim Brown, CEO, and president of IDEO, the goal of Design Thinking is “matching people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and viable as a business strategy”. Design thinking revolves around the user and user-centered design. You need to have empathy for the user, creativity in the generation of insight and solutions and rationality in analyzing and finding fitting solutions for the same.
Challenges of product development
Being a person involved or going to get involved in product development you would be aware of the complexity of the whole process. You know the amount of creative zeal and sustained focus that is needed to achieve an efficient end result. But achieving it is easier said than done. Once you start building you get to handle multiple scenarios and at many times you have to handle them simultaneously. As you move further you realize that it starts mounting and everyone starts losing the clarity of the whole project and they become more concerned about smaller details only. Sooner your journey of building product starts turning into a mess full of heavy documents and list of feature and functionality. To streamline the whole process and come up with a user-centered design we need an effective approach and design thinking is one such idea which is gaining a lot of popularity.
There is the various version to implement design process and of the popular version of design thinking divides the process into seven stages: define, research, ideate, prototype, choose, implement, and learn. If you apply each step effectively you can take more informed decisions and effectively handle the uncertainty involved in the product development.
Let us briefly touch upon each of the seven-step of design thinking:
- Define: Identify the problem areas and define the problem clearly for which you are seeking the solution.
- Research: Interact with the user, observe them and try to learn as much about their need as you can. This could be primary research to understand their perspective. You can also do secondary research on the available solutions for the particular problem and evaluate them.
- Ideate: To ideate is to come up with the suitable idea for the user needs Sometimes it could be very simple and sometime it would be required to re-think the way problem is perceived and we need to think from the scratch. But the whole purpose to ideate once you have clear problem statement and findings of research so that you are always focused on the central problem and user-centered.
- Prototype: Build the prototype of your idea. It could be with the minimum feature and functionality but use to get the user feedback. This is important keeping in mind that user reaction is important and it could be trusted only when they see and feel your product.
- Choose: You can choose the best ideas, feature, and functionality based on feedback and learning of technical viability while building the prototype. You choose the best idea based on user primary research, small user group feedback instead of any person’s view and emotion.
- Implement: Implement what you choose to build. Here you would be building features/functionality for the real user based on the previous steps where you would have gathered enough user-centric information and feedback. Allocate your resource and manage the goal effectively.
- Learn: We must keep on learning from the user, change in the ecosystem where our product operates and evolve our product using the insights.
This process helps us in making informed decisions and building the relevant product and gain critical learning in the way.
Design thinking for innovation
Design thinking is an effective way of finding user centric solutions for complex problem keeping the needs of user and feasibility of developing the solution under consideration. We all work to find innovative solution and build great product but absence of structured and efficient method often create many unnecessary hurdles which kills the creativity and enthusiasm on the way. Design thinking is one of the most popular approach followed in most of the today’s innovative and user centric businesses which we can very easily adopt in our organization for end to end product product development or finding any innovative solution.
We know product development is an art which we all want to master. Its the power of one great product that changes lives of many people forever. It’s that product we are seeking to build and design thinking is one of the much needed philosophy which will help us execute the idea like it has helping some of the great companies like Intuit and IDEO etc. with much better success rate. This will help you unleash your potential.