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Applying Design Thinking in organizations

"When a product or service is innovative, it impacts people's lives and transforms forever the way these people live and work.” – Tennyson Pinheiro

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In an increasingly competitive market, seeking better performances and results, innovation has become critical for the success of services, processes and products. The use of design to create solutions has been studied for years by several think tanks. However, in recent years its application has moved toward an unusual direction: business.

The origin of this new design application and the concept of Design Thinking is linked to IDEO, an American company that develops innovations based on a designer's thought. We can describe this concept as a creative and practical methodology for problem solving and project design.

We can also describe it as a collaborative process where people are invited to work together, seeking benefits provided by different views and perspectives.

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The Design Thinking process consists of 5 major steps and has as its basic premise identifying the real problem focused on the end consumer as well as PDCA, and should be repeated as often as necessary until the final solution is set:

Discovery - Together, collaborators establish their main needs and identify problems for which they must find solutions;

Interpretation - Seeking inspirations, ideas and insights are discussed to establish a perspective for the development of the ideation stage;

Ideation - Open space for brainstorming, looking for many different ideas. Ideation also includes the preparation of a more detailed plan, using the concepts raised during previous steps;

Experimentation - Includes applying initiatives and tests that put into practice at least some of the conclusions drawn in earlier steps;

Evolution - The initial concept is developed through the tests that were performed and results achieved using the created solution. This step usually happens observing the initiative's evolution over time. It is important to note that to implement this methodology, very specific skills and expertise are needed, in addition to the team's dedication, as its members must manage their time between the daily routine and the project to be executed, which still makes it difficult for companies to conduct it.

Design Thinking, with its new approach, is a powerful tool that involves the whole innovation process, from the generation of ideas to their introduction to end consumers, providing a holistic, constructive and experimental vision, focused on creating solutions to consumer needs. Its main contributions are based on:

  • The way the problem is addressed, by identifying the key issues that will lead the process of creating desirable opportunities for consumers, that are technically possible and commercially feasible;
  • The way a designer thinks, by creating hypotheses and using expertise to develop effective solutions;
  • The ongoing search for specific and consumer-focused solutions;
  • The fast prototyping and materialization of the designed solution to create several opportunities and select the most relevant one(s).

Organizations are adopting Design Thinking at several levels in their structure due to innovative results, ability to differentiate their brands and agility to create new products and services, as the whole process is performed involving consumers directly.

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