In order to build and grow a company, you only need two things: A great product and an even better vision. In this day and age, aesthetics and design are everything to a business as they hold immense power in influencing the way we consume. However, there is a misconception that design stops with aesthetics, whereas, in reality, it goes much deeper.

 

“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”- Steve Jobs

According to a 2014 report by the Design Management Institute, design-led companies such as Apple, Coca-Cola, IBM, Nike, Procter & Gamble and Whirlpool outperformed the S&P 500 over the past 10 years by an extraordinary 219%.

Think Like Designers

Due to the amazing success rate of design-led companies, design has evolved beyond making objects. Organizations want to learn how to think like designers, and how to apply these design principles to their workplace. In fact, design thinking is at the core of effective strategy development and organizational change.

Brilliant ideas don’t fall from the sky. The average human makes about 35,000 decisions each day. Changing your perspective, being aware, and exploring possibilities out of the norm encourages creative solutions in all aspects of life.

Creating a Structured Framework for Innovation

“Design Thinking” is the process used for both designers and business managers to ideate inventive solutions; it offers a structured framework for pursuing innovation – leading to organic growth and adding real value to your customer service and experience. The design thinking process involves observation to discover unmet needs in a particular situation, framing the opportunity and the scope of innovation, generating creative ideas, testing and then refining solutions.

SOSA Innovation Center

5 Stages of Design Thinking

The five stages of Design Thinking, according to d.school, are as follows:
1.   Empathising: Understanding the human needs.
2.   Defining: Re-framing and defining the problem in human-centric ways.
3.   Ideating: Creating many ideas in ideation sessions.
4.   Prototyping: Adopting a hands-on approach to prototyping.
5.   Testing: Developing a prototype or solution to the problem.

Solution Focused Mindset

A design mindset is not problem-focused, it’s solution-focused; it is action oriented towards creating a preferred future. Design Thinking uses logic, intuition, imagination and systemic reasoning to explore possibilities of what could be and to create desired outcomes that benefit the customer.

Less Thinking, More Doing

Design thinking aims to inspire the essential element of creativity: the ability to take an abstract idea and create something with it. It’s based upon the fundamental belief that an unexecuted idea, which is rarely realized, is worthless. Doing is far more valuable than thinking.

Having a “fail fast” attitude allows us to rapidly identify, build, and test our way to success. We spend less time planning, more time doing, and challenge ourselves to see the world through the eyes of our customers.

Every idea has been thought about before. Yet, most people who think of these world-changing solutions don’t act. With limitless ideas to better this world, the act of doing is what sets the pioneers and entrepreneurs apart from the average Joe’s.

Reshaping Products Through Design

Whether it’s in the design of a physical space or the design of a digital space through apps or websites, design and innovation work hand in hand in creating the best human experience. We use the term “human experience” instead of “user experience” deliberately because it’s important to remember that design thinking is essentially what informs human-centered innovation. When there is an unmet or unarticulated need in the market, human-centered innovation drives the process of understanding and developing solutions in solving the problem. Having a deeper knowledge of the customer and their problems allows design thinking to assist in the process of creation.

Product design is applied to increase functionality, look, and overall efficiency of a product. Every year, trends change. If companies don’t live up to the expectations of their consumers, those customers will move on to another company that is best fit. This is when design comes into play. In 2007, the first iPhone came out with what we thought as the most innovative product yet. Today, we don’t often see those old, smaller, bulkier smartphones. Apple has done an incredible job innovating and evolving with society’s needs and wants to create the products they have today.

In this environment of ubiquitous computing, websites and apps are often the first point of contact for businesses, which is why UX/UI is so important. UI focuses on the user interface which includes the screens, its pages, buttons, and all other visual elements that are used to help a user interact with a device. On the other hand, UX is all about user experience. UX is imperative for customer satisfaction, so when designing the UI, ensure it is aligned with the mental model and goals of the user. Make sure it is approachable, desirable, seamless and imminently usable.

Different Working Environment

When you feel good, you do good. An environment that matches the energy and design of the company will, in turn, boost the company’s processes. There is a common consensus that innovation is the way to supercharge an organization’s growth, which is why the physical design of a workspace is also important in fostering innovation. Social networks create a positive work culture and learn from others. Because of the symbiotic relationship of these components, a workplace done right can both inspire and facilitate innovation.