Design Thinking — Building the Backbone of Your Business

Design thinking is about more than just developing a thorough web design layout. It’s about delivering a hands-on approach to solutions. Empathising with real user problems and providing real user solutions in brand processes and inner workings is a great start.

It focuses on human-centred design. As a human-centric methodology, that much goes without saying. Design thinking helps your business put its customers first. It focuses on human needs and drives its processes and solutions through the real-time experiences of your customers to further smooth the process.

Design is about connecting the dots and creating a smooth-sailing experience for both back-end and front-end audiences. It’s about creating synergy, which is more than a fancy word for ‘working together’. It’s about collaborative work that contributes ideas and solutions considering various perspectives of a brand. It’s about utilising the collective brain of your business to deliver results from optimal solutions.

Develop strength through decisive actions

Design thinking creates leadership through emphasis on decisive problem-solving. It’s about creating visual representations of solutions for businesses to properly conceptualise problems and make the right choices.

A great way to visualise solutions is through ideation. Plot out road maps and funnels to conceptualise solutions clearly and pinpoint potential challenges along the way. Build a better flow of process and execution that additionally gives way to transparency within your business. Establish communication and cohesiveness across departments by utilising flowcharts and other visual mapping tools.

Design thinking isn’t a linear process. It’s a constant cycle that focuses on empathising with user issues, defining problems, ideating solutions, experimenting, and executing results.

Focus on experimentation and testing

Expanding a business is all about experimentation and testing. Developing solutions to problems both internal and external requires extensive testing to ensure the issues are addressed accordingly. It’s about getting quicker results and implementation processes with proper and continuous testing.

Airbnb is a great example of applied design thinking that resurrected a dying business. In 2009, they were seeing zero growth and were very close to going bust. Some thorough research into their site’s listings flagged a very prominent and consistent issue — unattractive pictures of rentals. Once the problem was established, they developed a quick-thinking and hands-on test for their solution of replacing the images of the properties with high-resolution copies. Revenue doubled in one week. They then proceeded to scale up their solution into something that could accommodate the demands of their clientele.

From each success, the founders of Airbnb took steps towards scaling up their solutions and optimising their user experience and data. They tested and re-tested and developed solutions from a collective thought process with employees at every tier of the business. The overall lesson from Airbnb is that it isn’t about grandiose solutions, it’s about applying human solutions to human problems.

Running a business is always about growing that bottom line. At the same time, it’s about delivering unforgettable customer experience. Applied design thinking creates pathways that achieve both.

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