As design thinking nears its 50th birthday, many companies still struggle to realize value from design. Those that succeed often follow ten best practices.
Creative leaders and innovators are thinking about design thinking in more mature ways. Moving away from a sole emphasis on language and learning, they are increasingly focusing on questions of application, ownership, and impact.
Achieving change in a world ever more defined by complexity is difficult. We face an array of complex ‘wicked’ problems, from an ageing population to climate change to intergenerational cycles of poverty. It can often seem that these challenges are insurmountable and that we lack the ability to make meaningful change. To find opportunity in challenge will require reimagining the ways that we currently think about innovation and design. The narrative around a ‘fourth industrial revolution’ risks narrowing the focus of innovation to technology which would locate innovation-led growth solely in the outputs of universities and research institutes, or technology clusters like Cambridge’s Silicon Fen. While these are a vital piece of the UK’s innovation jigsaw, they are not the whole picture. Enterprises large and small across sectors and regions need to also be part of the innovation mix. The UK has long been at the forefront of design, a rich heritage that permeates a diverse range of sectors. Design thinking methodologies are deployed in service, policy and governance design across sectors, not merely product design. Harnessing the power of this creative capacity will be crucial to generating the innovative solutions required to tackle pressing social challenges. But design thinking alone will not be enough. The core insight of this paper is that solving our most complex problems will require augmenting design thinking with a systems thinking approach as the basis for action. While design thinking has proved itself to be successful in the realm of creating new products and services, the challenge is how to support innovations to enter and actively shape the complex systems that surround wicked social challenges. Great design doesn’t always generate impact. As we show in this report, innovations attempting to scale and create systemic change often hit barriers to change, sending them catapulting back to square one. We call this the ‘system immune response’. The particular barriers will differ dependent on context, but might be cultural, regulatory, personalitydriven or otherwise. This report argues that innovations for the public good are susceptible to the system immune response because there is a deficit of systems thinking in design methodologies. This report introduces a new RSA model of ‘think like a system, act like an entrepreneur’ as a way of marrying design and systems thinking. At its most simple, this is a method of developing a deep understanding of the system being targeted for impact and then identifying the most promising opportunities to change based on that analysis – the entrepreneurial part. By appreciating factors like power dynamics, competing incentives and cultural norms, innovators can prepare themselves for barriers to change, and find the entrepreneurial routes around them to successfully affect system change.
Designing a digital service or product around distinct user behaviour, helping to ensure user adoption and repeat use are front of mind from the outset of a project.
A comprehensive playbook for applied design thinking in business and management, complete with concepts and toolkits As many companies have lost confidence in the traditional ways of running a business, design thinking has entered the mix. Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation presents a framework for design thinking that is relevant to business management, marketing, and design strategies and also provides a toolkit to apply concepts for immediate use in everyday work. It explains how design thinking can bring about creative solutions to solve complex business problems. Organized into five sections, this book provides an introduction to the values and applications of design thinking, explains design thinking approaches for eight key challenges that most businesses face, and offers an application framework for these business challenges through exercises, activities, and resources.
Article by Richard Buchanan, Wicked Problems in Design Thinking, published in Design Issues, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Spring, 1992), pp. 5-21.
Many organizations struggle with the dynamics and the complexity of todayâ€™s social ecosystems connecting everyone and everything, everywhere and all the time. Facing challenges at the intersection of business models, technical developments and human needs, enterprises must overcome the siloed thinking and isolated efforts of the past, and instead address relationships to people holistically. In Intersection, Milan Guenther introduces a Strategic Design approach that aligns the overarching efforts of Branding, Enterprise Architecture and Experience Design on common course to shape tomorrowâ€™s enterprises. This book gives designers, entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders a holistic model and a comprehensive vocabulary to tackle such challenges. The Enterprise Design framework cuts through the complexity of Strategic Design work, explains how to navigate key aspects and bridge diverging viewpoints. In 9 examples, the author looks at the way companies like Apple, SAP, BBVA, and Jeppesen (a Boeing Company) apply design thinking and practice to shape their enterprises. Moving from strategy to conceptual design and concrete results, Intersection shows what is relevant at which point, and what expertise to involve.
Change by Design: How Design Thinking Creates New Alternatives for Business and Society: How Design Thinking Can Transform Organizations and Inspire Innovation
The myth of innovation is that brilliant ideas leap fully formed from the minds of geniuses. The reality is that most innovations come from a process of rigorous examination through which great ideas are identified and developed before being realized as new offerings and capabilities. This book introduces the idea of design thinking, the collaborative process by which the designer's sensibilities and methods are employed to match people's needs not only with what is technically feasible and a viable business strategy. In short, design thinking converts need into demand. It's a human-centered approach to problem solving that helps people and organizations become more innovative and more creative. Design thinking is not just applicable to so-called creative industries or people who work in the design field. It's a methodology that has been used by health organizations to increase the quality of patient care by re-examining the ways that their nurses manage shift change, or rethink supply chain management.
Most companies today have innovation envy. They yearn to come up with a game-changing innovation like Apple's iPod, or create an entirely new category like Facebook. Many make genuine efforts to be innovative-they spend on R&D, bring in creative designers, hire innovation consultants. But they get disappointing results. Why? In The Design of Business, Roger Martin offers a compelling and provocative answer: we rely far too exclusively on analytical thinking, which merely refines current knowledge, producing small improvements to the status quo. To innovate and win, companies need design thinking. This form of thinking is rooted in how knowledge advances from one stage to another-from mystery (something we can't explain) to heuristic (a rule of thumb that guides us toward solution) to algorithm (a predictable formula for producing an answer) to code (when the formula becomes so predictable it can be fully automated). As knowledge advances across the stages, productivity grows and costs drop-creating massive value for companies. Martin shows how leading companies such as Procter & Gamble, Cirque du Soleil, RIM, and others use design thinking to push knowledge through the stages in ways that produce breakthrough innovations and competitive advantage.
This title is filled with practical and insightful expert advice on how to increase productivity through creativity and innovation. Packed with intriguing and insightful case studies and practical advice, "Design Thinking" is a comprehensive guide to increasing productivity through cultivating creativity. Divided into three sections that focus on the use of design for innovation and brand-building, the emerging role of service design, and the design of meaningful customer experiences, this book provides readers with the strategies and confidence necessary to encourage the growth of creative thought within their business. Featuring 30 articles, written by industry experts, that show how to build a solid brand foundation, solve problems with simplified thinking, anticipate and capitalize on trends, figure out what consumers want before they do, and align mission, vision, and strategy with a corporate brand, this is a must-have reference for anyone wanting to increase their businesses productivity.