Why Design Thinking is Critical to Your Success

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Andrew Ball, USD instructor, Human Centered Design for Business, defines design thinking and gives examples of why it is critical to your success.

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking has become a popular way to solve many social, economic, and business challenges specifically because it focuses on enhancing the creativity of people, departments and organizations. It can often solve many organizational challenges simultaneously due to its foundation upon learning how to listen to each other and then collaborating on ways forward. Inclusivity and creativity are the hallmark of design thinking principles

The key to design thinking is that instead of analyzing problems per traditional methods (surveys, spreadsheets, and other forms of quantitative analysis), a more comprehensive understanding of users (those who will use a product or service or exist within a process or larger system) is created. In fact, perhaps the most fundamental aspect of design thinking is the movement away from the scientific method and towards a more detailed way of understanding people, what they need, how they think, and how they relate to physical objects and environments (by observing them and talking to them in very specific ways).

Why Design Thinking is Critical to Your Success

Web designers, product developers and engineers all use Human-Centered Design to create websites and products (tangible and intangible) that consider interaction and experience more deeply. Innovators are now extending design thinking methodology to understand a multitude of complex business environments:

  1. Entrepreneurs Creating New Technologies
    Many times, entrepreneurs have an excellent idea, a lot of energy and have observed and analyzed the market landscape.  They create something, because entrepreneurs are creative.  Some fail, some succeed, but success is more assured through design thinking because it enables us to more comprehensively understand the consumer and marketplace by listening more deeply and prototyping faster and more intelligently.
  2. Innovation Champions Within Existing Organizations
    Many organizations talk about being innovative and some are.  But far more are not.  Design thinking can help organizations understand the market landscape the same way it does for entrepreneurs, but in some ways is even more critical because it pulls people away from their established day-to-day practices, organizational structure, systems, and assumptions.  It helps people to understand what might be.  And how that is connected to what is, right now.  IBM, Google, Apple, Intuit, and PepsiCo are examples of companies that have used Design Thinking with transformative results.
  3. Managers Developing Employee Engagement
    Many organizations believe that employee engagement comes from positive cultures and competitive pay, and partially it does.  But when we use design thinking principles to focus our listening ability internally, we can understand employee needs at significantly deeper levels than through engagement surveys and other similar methodology.
  4. Etc. - The applications are endless
    Better organizational training programs, career planning programs, coaching programs, compensation programs, better web design, better understanding of different types of customers, better understanding of everything.  In today’s world, design thinking is an excellent manifestation of equity and inclusiveness in human groups.  Many minds are better than one or just a few.  The world is becoming more and more inclusive, and open, every year.  While we have a long way to go, design thinking fosters collaboration among human groups.

Please join Instructor Andrew Ball at USD for Human Centered Design for Business. There is no application required.  Anyone with an interest in learning and practicing design thinking can take this collaborative class.

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