Why Design Thinking Process Can Achieve Long-Term Business Growth

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What Is Design Thinking & How Does It Improve Business Growth?

Design thinking is less of a specific action and more of a mindset that helps businesses solve complex problems.

“Originally stemming from the design process, design thinking challenges leaders, individuals, and organizations to think like a designer, with your client at the heart and with a reiterative process of prototyping and testing at the core,” says Marisa White, Principle Analyst of Design and Innovation at Customer Management Practice.

Because design thinking is so strongly rooted in how your target audience thinks, feels, and what they need, it automatically improves user experience.

“The core of design thinking requires empathy with your user. This is enhanced by the reiterative process of prototyping and testing innovations with your market,” says White. “Understanding design thinking in the context of user engagement drives digital product seamlessly executed to your customer’s expectations and desires.

Design thinking implores brands to follow 5 simple steps in order to identify pain points, learn what consumers need, and create a solution.

These include:

  1. Empathize.
  2. Ideation.
  3. Prototyping.
  4. Testing.
  5. Reiteration.

These 5 steps help businesses:

  • Understand the mindset of their demographic.
  • Identify new and creative ideas.
  • Test campaigns and designs rigorously before they are launched, which improves the likelihood of success.
  • Foster a powerful brand identity and long-term success.

 

So, Who Uses Design Thinking?

Although design thinking has the word “design” in its name AND stems from the design industry, it can be utilized in any department or industry.

“The short answer is everyone can use design thinking,” says White. “However, we have seen an increased familiarity with practices touching digital experience and cultural transformation.”

Design thinking is commonly used in

  • UX.
  • Service Design.
  • Experience Design.
  • Brand Strategy.
  • Content Marketing.
  • Digital Marketing.
  • And more!

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5 Design Thinking Best Practices To Implement

Although design thinking can be integrated into any business growth tactic, its unique process may make it seem daunting to begin.

Luckily, there are some best practices that make implementing design thinking strategies a little clearer – and a lot more effective!

1. Begin With Empathy

Design thinking starts with empathy, so take the time to really put yourself in your consumers’ shoes.

“Understanding not only ways of using existing data to create visibility, personas, and understanding, but moving further into integrating customer feedback, ethnographic research, and immersion workshops can further your skill set,” says White.

2. Change Your Company Culture

It is imperative to note that design thinking changes the structure of your team and the way in which you work more than it does the actual end product.

So, brands need to take steps to alter how they create project timelines and even the company culture.

To begin this shift, Customer Management Practice recommends raising awareness and garnering buy-ins for design thinking through one or two-day workshops, week-long sprints, or multi-month engagements.

“However, design-led organizations such as Pepsi, Apple and Google are utilizing design as their culture, a continuous process and mindset,” notes White.

3. Constantly Collaborate

Along the lines of changing company culture and work processes is the need to consistently collaborate with team members.

Design thinking is less of an assembly line of autonomous tasks and more of a hive mindset that understands consumers and works to find creative and customer-centric solutions that make their life easier.

Therefore, brands need to keep collaboration at the core of the design thinking process, because it requires all voices at the table and a breakdown of silos.

4. Utilize The Voice Of Your Consumers

Design thinking improves strategies (in particular, marketing) by tying in the voice of the customer in each step.

That is what makes design thinking so user-friendly and, ultimately, successful.

Plus, Customer Management Practice shared that many design-led organizations are also evaluating their brand as a tool to create communities and ecosystems, rather than single channels of communication or transactions.

Try incorporated user-generated content or messaging that your target audience already uses or associates with your brand to find common ground with them.

5. Keep Your Eye On Longevity

Finally, there needs to be a respect for the continuous nature of the process necessary for long-term results.

Design thinking is not ideal for one-off campaigns that need swift results that aren’t sustainable.

Instead, design thinking thrives when it is geared toward achieving long-term results through high-level strategy.

“Never view design thinking as a “one and done” workshop or sprint,” advises White. “It is a long-term commitment to customer centricity that needs to be continuously fostered, motivated and implemented.”

 

Check the full article in DesignRush

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