Tips to adopt a design-centric approach

If you think like I do, you probably understand “design thinking” as a process of designing: making a product appear attractive enough for the customer to buy, such as designer clothes or designer bags.

Steve Jobs once clarified that design thinking is not just about the design of the product — as it mostly perceived as the exterior, the way it looks. Design thinking is actually about thinking on how a project works.

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is about conceiving and creating a product that focuses on the user. Unlike its counterpart, “lean startup” — which is engineering-based and quantitative. [Source: Standford]

Design thinking is a practice used by designers to solve intricate problems and to find solutions for clients. It asks the following questions:

It involves stepping into the customer’s shoes, instead of asking them to adapt to the company’s ideas. Design thinking is a way to understand what the customer really needs, as opposed to what the company thinks is good for them.

Stanford paints the following picture for the process of design thinking:

Photo Credit: Marcin Treder

: Know your users and find the root of the problem.

: Make hypotheses and ask more questions.

: Fire up ideas to find the best solutions.

: Make a prototype: a rough draft, a sketch of what it may look like.

: Test it out!

This process can be applied to processes, systems, procedures, protocols and customer experiences. It can help improve the quality of life for everyone.

Below are some ways in which you can adopt design thinking into your own practices.

Know the customer

Try to understand everything from the customer’s perspective.

It’s great to pitch in your ideas, but don’t do so blindly. Always try to understand what the customer needs, rather than thinking of what good for them.

Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than those that are not focused on the customer.

Find the problem

Identify the problems and define them to your team to your team, and then try for solutions.

It is important to know where the problem lies. A study shows that about 29% customers switched companies because they were annoyed with a lack of staff knowledge.

You can avoid this by putting the problem at the forefront of your team’s minds.

Let the ideas flow

Ask your team to brainstorm and come up with ideas; collaborating ideas is a great way of exchanging information and points of view.

A study at the McKinsey Global Institute showed productivity improvement by 20% to 25% in organizations with connected employees [11].

Test your designs

Time is important but quality testing is imperative. Keep the bugs out by carrying out tests until your product is the best it can be.

A survey stated that, just after a day of use, 25% of applications are returned by the users. This is a very large amount; keep testing!

Engage your customers

Asking your customers for feedback or to test out a new product not only leads to better communication but also to trust on the company.

That’s right: engage the customer. Let them feel like part of the company.

Did you know that three in five Americans (59%) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience [12]?

Tool up

Invest in a good task management/project management application.

There are some great task management applications out there that can help you with your design thinking process.

A recent study showed that 77% of companies make use of project management tools, and 87% of high-performing companies utilize project management software.

Furthermore, 52% companies believed that using an efficient project management software resulted in improvement in team communication; 44% reported an improvement in quality of the product and 38% in customer satisfaction.

We can never underestimate the power of technology.

Let us know your take on design thinking: how does it work for you and your team?

nTask is an all-in-one online project management software trusted by smart teams to organize work. Sign up today — it’s free.

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