How Design Wise Thinking Works in Favour of a Company?
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When any type of business - multinational or startup, old or new - fails in implementing strategies, it is most likely to be caused by a common factor which is faulty thinking. Thoughts are subjective; the direction and focus of one’s thoughts is directly aligned with their personal biases which subconsciously make us think in a certain manner and makes it difficult for us to be neutral. In this scenario, it is crucial to exercise discipline and give a fixed direction to your thoughts. This discipline is known as Design thinking.
Design thinking or disciplined thinking brings focus when strategizing, which in many cases are rare. For instance, when an organisation designs their website, most individuals involved do not have a clear objective regarding its purpose; i.e., how the new website will address existing business problems, how can it be designed to attract more business leads etc.
When a group of individuals work on a common project with ambiguous objectives rather than well-defined ones, it can fail. Organisations are generally reluctant to admit their failure in strategizing and implementing. Most often, they blame external factors such as international crude prices, government policies and market situation for business failures. However, if organisations use design thinking to create and implement strategies, they can accommodate and tackle potential external threats.
HOW DESIGN THINKING WORKS?
In design thinking, the initial stage of a project involves defining factors that will make a project successful and bring out the weak points. The parameters of success can be sketched out and implemented; conversely, the possibilities of failure can be minimized. A common misconception about design thinking is that one can take a course to learn how to use it by applying a specific template. This misconception is far from the truth, because the moment you template something, you limit the scope of it. It is counterproductive to put strategy into templates.
Thinking should be unrestricted; however, the progression of thoughts needs to be disciplined. There might be thousands rules that other companies follow which need not necessarily work. Everyone needs a unique solution that is specifically designed for their individual needs. Why do our films and projects become successful? Because we use design thinking that does not follow a fixed template. For example, we wanted to build an agricultural knowledge management system for a client, for which we first developed an understanding of what farmers truly need. Data from an India wide report indicated that farmers no longer want to continue farming. If farmers are not farming, then who will buy the tractors?
Therefore, our strategy pitch was to first rebuild their interest in farming by innovating it. Farmers’ interest in farming should be revived for the tractors to sell. A typical tractor website talks about how great their tractor is, but we focused on conveying how great farming is. To do that, we got various stakeholders involved, and worked out ways in which the system is worthy for the farmers, what are the key takeaways for each stakeholder, and then designed a way to achieve their goals.
After extensive research, we arrived at a strategy that can optimise the project. The website we designed for the clients was their highest lead generating tool. Design thinking makes companies, of any scale or seniority deliver successful projects with low probability of failure.
(This article was first published in the January issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)