Design thinking: accelerating innovation

In the business challenge driven by competition and innovation, the manager is looking for a successful strategy. Using the traditional design methodology allows for a better understanding of customer expectations and accelerates innovation within the company. Here are some details.

Design thinking has become a “method” used by many companies that aims to place the human being in a position to innovate. It is based on the techniques of designers. It identifies the real needs of consumers and asks internal teams to get involved. It can be applied to a wide range of sectors, from multinationals, SMEs and start-ups to humanitarian organisations and education.

Tim Brown’s approach

Design thinking is a way of identifying problems that may arise during the creation of a product. Once a problem has been identified, design thinking allows the best solution to be found and implemented. The three-loop theory was presented by Tim Brown, the head of the Ideo agency, in an article published in 2008 by the Harvard Business Review:

“the inspiration loop, which seeks to understand the physical, intellectual and emotional needs of users, in an almost ethnographic approach.

– the ideation loop, which generates new ideas by iteratively building a large number of immediately testable prototypes

– the implementation loop, which includes the deployment of the action.

which summarises the approach.

The approach according to Rolf Faste

According to Rolf Faste, design thinking enables the various possibilities in the creation of an innovative idea to be evaluated. It highlights the problem before looking for a solution and allows several ideas for results to be proposed.

Challenging preconceptions
Design thinking has so far been used mainly in the service sector (commerce, media, telecommunications, banking, etc.), which is the sector most affected by new technologies. It has the effect of accelerating innovation.

But, whatever the sector, the main obstacle to the development of design thinking is linked to pre-established conceptions and will offer the opportunity to eliminate the prejudices and behaviours that slow down innovation because questioning habits, ways of proceeding, integrating innovations requires questioning oneself and looking for inspiration to solve all problems without preconceived ideas.

Some tools for applying design thinking

– The affinity diagram: a concept developed in the 1960s by the anthropologist Jiro Kawakita.
– Role-playing: participants identify with the users and live vicariously through “living my life”.
– The persona: a fictional user, based on a real person or statistics: a concept developed by the American developer Alan Cooper.
– The mind map: a mind map to highlight the links between different ideas.
– The user path: a diagram of the different stages and interactions involved in using a service. Each stage allows the description of concrete exchanges and reactions (emotions, questions) of the user. The time that elapses between each stage can be specified, as well as the most important moments.