With design thinking to new models, strategies & services

“Design Thinking” is a process model developed in 2003 by three Stanford professors that enables you to systematically develop entirely new business models, strategies and market services that inspire users (user-centric). The approach is reflected in the method of buyer personas analysis. Customer journey mapping, a tracking of customers’ interactions with a particular company and recording their perceptions and emotions at the points of contact with the company (touch points) is also systematically applied in design thinking.

Design Thinking guides you to think step-by-step and consistently from the outside in, rather than having the result in your head beforehand. The method comes from industrial design, where the term “design” in English includes not only the appearance of a product, but also its functionality, feasibility and marketability.

The first phase is about observing, understanding (gather inspirations) and determining one’s own point of view relative to this. The focus is on putting oneself in the position of the user and formulating driving questions. Only in a second phase is it a matter of finding ideas, developing a pilot application (“prototyping”) and finally testing and polishing (“sophistication”) and completion and (market) introduction (“launch”, “rollout”). What sounds like product development can be applied to any development task and lead to best practices. Developing processes is just as possible as crystallizing business areas.

Similar to UID FEHLT!, check that the results of each phase adequately address the findings of the previous phases. Unlike Scrum, the Design Thinking process no longer questions the previous findings; rather, you build on those findings. From this, you can see that Design Thinking is suitable for rather stable environments where basic premises do not change quickly.

Similar to how you can systematically develop business models with the Business Model Canvas method according to Osterwalder, you can systematically think through all types of developments with Design Thinking. From identified benefit levers (gain creators) and conditions that cause concern (pain relievers), you can then specifically derive the most groundbreaking ideas possible “off the beaten path” in a creative innovation process using creativity techniques, but do not evaluate or dismiss them prematurely. Instead, give the ideas a chance to “prove themselves” by enriching them: “How can this idea specifically work?” What competencies would we need for this?” “What partner would we need to make this happen?” “What impact would implementing this idea have on other processes, units, etc.?” The path to solution approaches can ideally be taken in workshops, even though the design thinking process is often led top-down. Creative work in workshops even works at a distance. Tried and tested IT applications such as digital whiteboard and pinboard solutions are now available.

You can also use the design thinking process for product development and for business model and strategy development.

Try out solution approaches prototypically and learn from your experiences with these prototypes and refine the approaches found. Only introduce new developments after practical confirmation of the desired result (proof of concept), but then do so decisively and bindingly. During implementation and rollout, it can help if you create and tell stories about people (share stories).


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