Google trends tell the story that Design Thinking (DT) tops many executive’s interests in helping deliver progressive services and products in a volatile 2018.
Consultants, Design studios, and so-called business experts have spawned new revenue streams as other management fads, sorry, approaches have declined in popularity.
Just do the math on google with ‘Design Thinking’ harvesting 15.2 million results in 0.4 seconds and the top ten results including training courses, how-to workshops and top team offsites offered by consulting firms. In fact, Epictions reports typically 10 DT articles a day currently being produced, consumed and naturally circulated around our senior executives.
No doubt you will know of new functions becoming a reality with DT central to their remit, but what exactly does this catchy label represent?
Is Design Thinking a real thing?
Is it different? Can DT be useful in navigating our increasingly volatile world? Are there genuine benefits to adopting DT enterprise-wide?
As an engineer and design thinker (note the lower case) for the best part of the last four decades, this concept is not new. The successful creation of new services and products always relies on the marriage of creative thought processes harnessed to pragmatic objectives to deliver bottom-line success. Sorry if that doesn’t sound as sexy as some of the DT consultants would have you believe.
But wait, there is good news… incorporating DT into industrial age approaches can breathe new life and significant business benefit for not just enterprises and employees, but most importantly customers and shareholders.
So what is this Damn Thing?
A critical element to understanding DT is that, unlike most commonly deployed methods, is not a linear 1-2-3, A-B-C endeavour. It is not a prescription and relies on the ability of organisations and their people to understand, learn, prototype and reinvent simultaneously the processes and customer experiences that deliver success. New services/products must articulate needs of customers (even when potentially the customer doesn’t know them) and move the needle in terms of cost, revenue and service simultaneously (the fabled ‘triple crown’).
So, a significant measure of DT success is winning the triple crown. Anything else that doesn’t convert the creative process into a top and bottom line success is just moving the chairs on the deck of the Titanic. It might look better, give us a different view, but it is still doomed and will ultimately fail to deliver.
To be successful you need to create an organization and individual mindset that understands ever-changing customer needs, expectations and
fosters an approach of learning, rather than the silo-based, industrial age metrics common to many.
I am going to delve deeper in an upcoming article so if you would like to get the pro’s and con’s, the potential pitfalls and the how-to to ensure success join me again soon. If you register your interest here I will ping you the ‘how to’ piece as soon as it is ready.
Ciao for now, Steve.