How To Introduce The Design Thinking Process To Your Workforce
Recently there has been a lot of talk in the business world about design thinking. This nonlinear, iterative process of creative and innovative problem solving has grown significantly in popularity, as it gives businesses an impactful way of tackling the unprecedented issues they face every day. After a brief mention of how your organization can benefit from it, this article will explore 5 best practices when implementing design thinking to enjoy its full potential.
Why Do You Need Design Thinking?
Design thinking is a process that aims to help designers as well as other groups of professionals view complex problems holistically and originally. It is made up of five steps—empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping, and testing—which are designed to explore the perspective of the provider as well as the customer, brainstorm effectively, reach creative solutions, and test them out to find the optimal one. As a result, design thinking helps your business boost innovation and improve customer satisfaction levels while keeping development costs and risks low. Now that you know at least a few reasons why you need design thinking, it’s time to discover how to introduce it to your staff.
5 Best Practices When Implementing Design Thinking
1. Start Small
Bringing design thinking into your organization requires a considerable transformation in mindsets and processes. Therefore, it can’t happen from one day to the next. To ensure that employees and top management don’t become daunted by the idea of such a sudden and big change, make sure to take it slow. Start with training programs that explain each step in detail and how they can be implemented. Then, you can slowly start incorporating all or some of them into daily processes so that employees will realize how design thinking improves their productivity in real time. Don’t hesitate to modify the steps according to your specific needs to increase their effectiveness.
2. Involve Top Management
An effective design thinking strategy starts from the top, as leaders and managers are the ones who will have to modify processes and make the necessary adjustments to accommodate it. If you don’t ensure their support and active participation from the get-go, the process will probably encounter quite a few hiccups. Considering that most leaders have trouble parting with techniques they deem effective, you will have to be patient and thoroughly prepared to present the benefits of design thinking and how it can fit in your organization. This way, it will be easier for them to warm up to your suggestions.
3. Leverage Design Thinking Tools
One thing that will help your employees better understand the distinct steps of the design thinking process is visualizing them. Designers use a variety of design thinking tools to put abstract concepts and ideas onto paper. One of the most commonly used ones is a mindmap, which can be particularly useful during the ideation stage. A mindmap doesn’t only capture all the ideas and notions surrounding a topic but also highlights the connections between them. Other tools would include empathy maps, which dive into various customer personas, or storyboards that visualize all the stages of the design thinking process.
4. Embrace Mistakes
There’s no way to implement an effective design thinking process without changing how you view mistakes. In this complex and repetitive process, mistakes are an integral ingredient for success. Specifically, the ideation stage depends on team members being able to propose and examine various ideas without being limited by technical and financial boundaries or fearing failure and judgment. In design thinking, errors are lessons that lead to improved results the next time around. So, create an open and accepting work environment that allows your employees to exhaust their imagination and reach innovative solutions.
5. Break Down The Silo Mentality
On the one hand, design thinking cannot function when departments don’t effectively communicate and collaborate. On the other hand, implementing design thinking can significantly help you tear down the current silo mentality. And it achieves this by giving your employees a common goal. During brainstorming sessions, professionals from different departments gather to come up with solutions and co-create prototypes to solve the problem at hand. This process brings them together and smooths out any issues that existed before. It’s best to also take independent measures to improve internal communications and not rely solely on design thinking since the thrill of these co-op sessions can quickly wear off.
Design thinking is a process that can transform the way you tackle and solve issues in your organization. It puts the customer’s needs first, thus leading you to solutions that are human-centric and improve customer satisfaction. However, introducing it to your workforce requires a certain amount of planning. With the best practices we explored in this article, you can be certain that implementing design thinking will bring the desired benefits and subsequent growth and success.