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How Innovation Fuels Design Thinking

02.08.2016
How innovation fuels design thinking

As we talked about in our last post, design thinking is a holistic approach to business that, unlike the rigid structure of business, utilizes both logic and creativity. In order to effectively combine and focus these two forces, design thinking is carefully guided by three principles: inspiration, ideation, and implementation. With the help of these three principles, design thinking encourages you to recognize communities with complex problems that you can fix and fuels innovation so you can do just that.

How design thinking fuels innovation:

1. Encouraging creativity. Unlike the traditional structure of business that analyzes the probability of failure before a project is started, design thinking allows you to explore an idea fully so you can see if the solution is effective. Design thinking encourages you to cast the fear of failure aside and let your creativity accompany you as you brainstorm, experiment, take risks, and expand your mind.

2.Inclusive communication. The human-centered nature of design thinking necessitates that you communicate with your community in order to thoroughly understand how the product will impact them. This communication fuels innovation because you cannot attempt to solve a problem if you do not comprehend it. Another level to how communication fuels innovation is through the group sharing and exchanging of ideas, as design thinking encourages collective ownership.

3. Feedback. Design thinking requires you to constantly create prototypes to be tested by those they will effect and then to alter them as necessary. The way that you will know how to alter them is by receiving feedback from the community. This feedback indicates aspects of your product that you should abandon while also indicating aspects that you should refocus your time and effort on and possibly suggesting how you can improve them.

4. Constant change. As we touched on, the process of design thinking necessitates that many prototypes are quickly produced and tested by the people they will effect so that they can be continuously altered and improved as necessary. This environment of constant change keeps you from getting stuck on one path and in one way of thinking and instead prompts you to consistently adapt to new problems and develop new solutions.

5. Seeing the bigger picture. When trying to solve a complex problem, we often seem to focus on pieces of the puzzle that we may find are not even connected rather than focusing on the problem as a whole. For instance, in 2007 a group of Stanford students attempted to create a device to keep underweight newborns warm in homes in Nepal. Initially, they focused solely on the problem of warmth and designed an incubator. It wasn’t until they employed design thinking and looked at the bigger picture that they realized their device needed to provide warmth while also being viable in a community that had limited access to electricity, ruling out the idea of an incubator as a solution.

Are you looking for a way to fuel innovation in your company? Incorporating design thinking into your business model can work for you!

Can you think of any other ways that design thinking fuels innovation? Let us know in the comments!

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