Outstanding companies such as Apple, Nike and Tesla are all design-driven companies. These companies adopt design thinking when they are creating new products and solving business problems. Companies that utilized design thinking experienced a 41% higher market share, a 46% competitive advantage, and customers who were 50% more loyal. They outperformed the average American stock market by 219%.1
Take Apple as an example, it wasn’t always the mega-success that it is today. In 1997, Steve Jobs conducted a major company overhaul.2 He cut several product lines and pushed the company toward developing a distinctly Apple experience. To this day, all of the “i” products’ look, feel, and user-friendliness set Apple apart from its competitors.
Design thinking showed us that Apple was a company with a soul and vision, and the message continues to resonate with customers. Jobs not only conveyed to people what he was selling, but he also showed them why they needed it.
Everything that any profession does—from research and development, to strategy, to content creation—can be improved through design thinking.
Design Thinking Is for Everyone to Solve Problems Creatively
Problem-solving myopia leads companies through periods of stagnation and frustration. Things are usually more complicated than they appear on the surface, and focusing solely on problems robs companies of their abilities to take what is working and use it in creative ways.
“Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.” – Tim Brown CEO, IDEO
Design thinking can solve complex problems across systems, procedures, protocols, and customer experiences. This creative mindset requires you to focus on solutions instead of problems. Instead of staying stuck in the problem-rut, design thinkers always have an eye on the ideal future.
Problem solving in this manner involves looking at peoples’ needs and finding creative solutions. Design thinking forces individuals to use every tool at their disposal, from their intuition and imagination to their innate sense of logic and reasoning, to unravel complex issues and explore possibilities.3
When a solution is discovered, it is subject to change according to the needs of the company and its customers. Design thinking, as a rule, is never stagnant. It is an iterative and reflexive commitment to innovation.
Core Stages of Design Thinking
Although this is a vastly creative process, design thinking has several identifiable stages, including:4
- Test & Evaluate
This stage involves by collecting as much information about a field as possible. You may process raw data, consult with experts, and get as much background as possible to envision a better future.
By collecting data, Watsons realized that many shoppers visited the oral hygiene section of their pharmacies, but they often walked away empty-handed. Watsons developed a collaborative relationship with two other companies so that they could figure out why people weren’t making purchases.