Digital Strategy & Transformation

Digital Transformation through Design Thinking

by Radically Digital

Design thinking is a buzzword that has gained popularity in the last few years. If you're not sure what it means, don't worry, you're not alone. But, it's time to get up to speed. At Radically Digital, we use design thinking in our work every day, and we're here to explain it to you.

What exactly is Design Thinking, and how can it help you?

Design thinking is a human-centred approach to problem-solving. It's about empathy, understanding the user's needs, and designing solutions that meet those needs. It's not just about creating something that looks good; it's about creating something that works well and solves a real problem.

Origins of Design Thinking

The term was coined in the 1990s by David Kelley, founder of the design firm IDEO and it was rapidly adopted in architecture and industrial design. But, it wasn't until the 1990s that it started to gain popularity in other industries, such as business and technology. Today, it's used by companies like Apple, IBM, and Google and a wide range of industries from healthcare to education and finance.

The Design Thinking Process

Let’s look at it like this: 

Design thinking is like being a detective, but instead of solving a crime, you're solving a problem. Just like a detective, you gather clues and evidence to understand the problem and come up with a solution.

You're looking for the hidden clues and the things that people might not even realise are important. You talk to people, observe their behaviour, and try to understand their needs and desires.

Then you take all of that information and use it to come up with ideas for how to solve the problem. You might make a prototype or create a mockup to test your ideas and see how people react.

And just like a detective, you must be flexible and willing to change your approach if your first idea doesn't work. You keep iterating until you find the best solution for your client.

So, design thinking is really all about being curious, empathetic, and creative to solve problems in a way that truly meets people's needs.

At its core, Design Thinking is a human-centred approach to problem-solving. Rather than starting with a solution in mind, it begins by focusing on the needs and experiences of the people who will ultimately use the solution.

Design Thinking involves five distinct phases, each of which is essential for creating effective solutions:

  1. Empathise: In this phase, you put yourself in the shoes of the people who will use your solution. You try to understand their needs, wants, and challenges by listening to them and observing their behaviour. It's like being a detective trying to uncover hidden clues.

  2. Define: Based on what you learned in the Empathize phase, you define the problem you want to solve. You reframe the problem in a way that focuses on the needs of your users. It's like taking a blurry picture and sharpening it to get a clearer image.

  3. Ideate: In this phase, you brainstorm as many solutions as possible to the problem you defined in the previous phase. You generate lots of ideas without judging or evaluating them yet. It's like a playful game of coming up with crazy, creative, and wild ideas.

  4. Prototype: Once you have a bunch of ideas, you start creating prototypes of your solutions. These can be anything from sketches, mock-ups, or even a simple model. It's like building a small-scale version of your solution to test it out.

  5. Test: Finally, you test your prototypes with real users to get feedback on what works and what doesn't. You use this feedback to refine and improve your solution until you have the best possible outcome. It's like putting your solution to the test and making sure it actually works for the people who will use it.

Putting Design Thinking into Action

Now that you understand the Design Thinking process, it's time to put it into action. Here are a few tips for integrating Design Thinking into your work:

  • Start with empathy: Before diving into problem-solving, take the time to truly understand your users and their needs.

  • Stay open-minded: When ideating, focus on generating as many ideas as possible without judging or evaluating them. You never know where a great idea might come from!

  • Embrace failure: Not every solution will work perfectly the first time around, and that's okay. Failure is an essential part of the Design Thinking process, so embrace it as a learning opportunity.

  • Test early and often: Testing your solutions with real users early on can help you catch potential problems and make necessary adjustments before investing too much time and resources

In conclusion, Design Thinking is a crucial tool for digital transformation success. By taking a human-centred approach and fostering collaboration and creativity, businesses can create truly innovative solutions that meet the needs of their customers and drive growth. So why not give it a try? At Radically Digital, we're ready to help you take the first step towards a more successful digital future.