by Markkose Mathew June 9, 2020 4 mins read
What is Strategic Design Thinking?
In simple terms, Design thinking looks at literally everything from “What does the customer want” instead of the popular thinking style of “What do we do well?”
Design Thinking is a focussed innovation methodology based on the way designers seek to reconcile technological feasibility to profitability and customer desirability. It focuses on solutions, not problems, and rests on the principles of customer-centric design, rapid prototyping and experimentation. Design thinking is all about radical innovation in all areas from a customer’s eye-view. Design thinking has already proven its value in product development.
A lesser articulated fact is that it’s a key tool for strategic decision-making in the future. Strategic Design Thinking ticks all the boxes for companies that want to develop a light footprint, become genuinely customer-centric and make full use of digital technology while staying profitable. If you get the thinking right, there is a high likelihood that your decisions are right too.
The Game Has Changed
There umpteen good reasons why design thinking is a topical issue right now, especially for strategic decision-making:
The Need For Fresh Thinking
The pressure of external trade-offs and the need for incumbents in particular to rediscover the joys of entrepreneurship have created an urgent need for new ways of thinking and decision-making. Five areas of tension, in particular, underline the potential that design thinking can unleash:
1. Strategic ambition
Big versus small: Instead of thinking in terms of incremental improvements to existing offerings, companies should be reaching for the stars. New and valuable growth areas can be tapped by including scalable business models in the corporate agenda and development program.
2. Entrepreneurial culture
People versus technology: Based on a clear and overarching vision, a customer-centric approach allows companies to identify new business models and products. Good quality, ease of use and desirability are the new target parameters.
3. New skillsets
Knowledge versus intuition: Companies are either not collecting the right data or are collecting enormous amounts of data and not using it efficiently. Smart data – using the right data for the right decisions to uncover trends, needs and wants and steer business activities – is the new paradigm.
4. Agile processes
60% versus 100%: Applying concepts such as rapid prototyping and experimentation can shorten the time to market and cut costs compared to traditional methods. New products are iteratively tested on the market even before they have been finalized. This makes the product generation faster and more focused on customer requirements, which can be incorporated through direct feedback.
5. Inspiring environments
Network versus silos: Joined-up thinking is another new business paradigm. Silos within the organization are broken up as business units collaborate across different areas. Similarly, companies are collaborating with external partners in various fields – even with players from other industries – to enhance their creativity and diversity.
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