How to apply design thinking processes to get business results

How to apply design thinking processes to get business results
Nov 22

Werner Fourie

Design Systems

User Interface

Innovation occurs when desirability, business viability, and technological feasibility intersect. Design thinking integrates all three to deliver proven ROI. Although it originates from the world of design, it is less about aesthetics and more about problem-solving in a user-centred way and can be applied to any industry or field.

It is especially pertinent to the creation of apps, websites and user journeys, but it extends much further than that to the business processes behind the work itself. The old top-down approach of forcing often ill-considered ideas on customers just doesn’t cut it anymore.

What is design thinking?

In its detailed 2017 report, EY described design thinking as a philosophy of putting customers first by collaborating across disciplines and bringing “a deep sense of humanity back into the business processes of strategic planning, product development, marketing, customer service and employee engagement.”

Design thinking is both an ideology and a process that prioritises the customer’s needs and solves problems by observing the way people engage with something or use a product and developing solutions based on empathy through a non-linear process that challenges assumptions. It's the ideal approach to solving complex problems in a world where traditional linear processes simply can’t keep up with the pace of change.

The principle first took off in the world of software development and moved into the likes of product design, but technology companies were the first to build entire organisational structures around it. EY’s report explains that in the fast-paced and competitive environment where disruption is frequent, design thinking enables businesses to “stay bonded with consumers in what they want, to know the difference between a technology gimmick and a real advancement, and to stay ahead of new competitors.”

Experimentation and iteration are crucial to putting design thinking into practice, and it “requires managers to be embedded in the experience of the users”, Forbes explains. Experimentation with the solutions envisioned should be frequent and early in the process, it adds.

Unlocking growth with design thinking

By applying design thinking, businesses can gain a level of competitiveness that may have otherwise eluded them. The advantages can be far-reaching because it goes right to the heart of what drives business success.

With design thinking, you can…

  • Foster innovation – By breaking down silos and bringing together different departments to share perspectives and ideas, design thinking can boost innovation when applied to business processes.
  • Enable faster time to market – Design thinking takes a more proactive approach to problem-solving while streamlining the design and development processes.
  • Satisfy customer needs – Design thinking will avoid the situation of a solution in search of a problem or solutions that cause more problems than they solve.
  • Earn customer loyalty – By achieving the above, your business is sure to retain customers and even attract a loyal following of brand advocates who feel your business appreciates and understands them.

Design thinking is an ethos born in a fast-moving world and is ideally suited to the digital space. We use it in all sorts of ways, and it forms the bedrock of our strategies for app and web development, UX design and customer experience solutions in particular. We can show you what kind of ROI it could bring to your business, according to your needs. Take a look at what we can do.

30 tried and tested techniques for marketers

Find out more about four crucial elements marketer needs to make inbound lead generation happen.

Brochure download