Using Design Thinking In Product Development

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Design thinking is all about creating a product according to users’ needs. This method enables the product designers and engineers to get an insight into the user’s minds and provide viable and sustainable solutions for the problems.

Design thinking started as a process to create sleek technology but is now widely used across private and public sectors for business and personal projects. The methodology was first made popular by a design consulting firm called IDEO. The process gained momentum and is now being used worldwide in numerous organizations.

In this article, we will discuss design thinking, its impact on the product development process, and the best practices of design thinking.

Let’s begin!

What Is Design Thinking

According to the study carried out by Design Management Institute, companies who place design at the heart of their organization grew 211% faster than the S&P 500 over a ten-year period. Design Thinking was developed by Stanford professor David Kelley and is defined as a “human-centric, iterative, solution-based, problem-solving framework.” It helps us define a problem, challenge any assumptions and reframe it in a way that will help us come up with viable solutions. It enables product designers to understand the user and question and improve any initial assumptions and outcomes. These practices make design thinking a non-linear approach.

When developing a product for users, it is crucial to understand and address rapid changes in their environment and behavior. With design thinking, product designers can focus on what’s important for the users and have the freedom and creativity to develop ground-breaking solutions while working with ill-defined problems.

Stages Of Design Thinking

You can apply the method of design thinking to solve numerous complex problems by taking the five stages approach. The Hasso-Plattner Institute Of Design at Stanford defines design thinking as a five-stage process that is not always sequential, often running in parallel and out of order to best suit the problem. Here are the five stages of design thinking.

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  1. Empathize
  2. Define
  3. Ideate
  4. Prototype
  5. Test

Empathize

It is crucial to gain an empathic understanding of your users and their needs before designing a product to solve a problem for them. Design thinking allows you to set aside your assumptions and opinions and gain real insight into users and their needs.

Define

At this stage, you have to accumulate the information you collected and analyze it in a way that helps you gain a better understanding of the problem. This stage will bring clarity and focus to your work because now you’ve identified the real problem.

Ideate

Now you’re ready to generate ideas and start brainstorming sessions. After gaining firm knowledge regarding the project in the previous two stages, it’s now time to work with some rough ideas. Look for alternative ways to solve the problem and come up with innovative solutions.

Prototype

This stage can also be called the experimental stage. After coming up with some solutions to tackle the problem, it’s now time to think about the cost, labor, and technology required for the project. Your team should work on producing some inexpensive and scaled-down versions of the product. Here you’re not trying to identify the correct solution; instead, you’re exploring from a number of potentially good approaches.

Test

In this stage, the best solutions from the prototype stage are tested. Testing is carried out to assess the prototype and the degree to which it solves the problem. This is an iterative process since these tests’ results can be used to define problems and solutions.

Impact of Design Thinking on Product Development Processes

According to statistics, 71% of the companies claim that design thinking has improved the working culture at their organization, while 69% claim that it makes their innovation process more efficient. The most successful brands worldwide, such as Google, Airbnb, and Nike, have adopted design thinking as an approach to bring feasible ideas and solutions for their users.

Now, more and more small businesses are adopting this method to go along with their product development process as companies that follow design thinking methodology have higher revenues and shareholder returns. Data from McKinsey shows that companies regularly following design thinking see third higher revenue and 56% higher returns than those that don’t.

Product Discovery at Genetech Solutions

Genetech Solutions is one of the leading software companies in Pakistan. Our company believes in creativity, with our team trying its best to provide customer satisfaction. We use the method of product discovery to analyze and understand the client’s project and execute it the way our client requires. We analyze the product, do research, and host brainstorming sessions before we start working on a project. Our goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the client’s idea and help them come up with a unique selling point (USP), which will help their product appear more exclusive, advanced, and distinctive.

In most cases, a joint brainstorming session between the product team and the clients and users can really set the foundation of the product. We also like to build sketches, wireframes, and prototypes to bring ideas in a visual format for better understanding and improved discussion. We are a truly agile company with a focus on delivering solutions that work.

Our company encourages out-of-the-box thinking and motivates developers to create extraordinary products and provide viable solutions. We have done numerous works with offshore clients using product discovery and design thinking. You can view some of the casestudies here.

4 Design Thinking Practices To Implement

Here are some design thinking practices to implement in your workplace.

  1. Company Culture
  2. Collaboration
  3. Empathy
  4. Longevity

Company Culture

Design thinking changes the structure of your team and how you collaborate with your teammates. Workshops and focus groups on design thinking practices can be a good starting point. Invest in training your team to integrate design thinking methodology to create innovative products. Encourage your employees to adopt design thinking as a part of company culture and allow flexible timelines and brainstorming sessions to increase their creativity and productivity.

Collaboration

Constant collaboration with your teammates is essential, as design thinking is all about understanding the customer and coming up with creative and sustainable solutions. Collaborating with your teammates as well as with your clients and users enables you to bounce around new ideas and solutions.

Empathy

What makes design thinking user-friendly and successful is understanding the users’ needs. Constantly keep in contact with your clients and users and listen to their advice to create better products and services for them. You can practice improvement tests on your products and collect feedback to help you innovate better. Listening to the customer is the key to a successful project.

Longevity

Design thinking is not an ideal thought process for a single project. Instead, it was built to be integrated deeply into the project development processes. Implementing design thinking in your company is bound to give you better results. Statistics have revealed that design thinking results in more satisfied and loyal customers, with 41% of the companies reporting more significant market share as an advantage of having advanced design practices.

 

Conclusion 

So this is it! We hope you enjoyed this article and it was helpful to you. Feel free to contact us if you have any queries.

Minahil Aijaz

I am a medical student and an avid fiction reader, with a penchant for travelling. I am currently working as a junior content writer at Genetech Solutions, one of Pakistan’s leading Software houses.

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