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Introduction To Design Thinking And How Professionals Can Jumpstart a Career In the Domain Design thinking is one such approach that is helping businesses get a competitive edge

By Arjun Nair

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Every organization today is looking to disrupt the status quo and make its products and services stand out from the rest of the competitors. To embrace the design and innovation-driven culture, it has become imperative for leaders of tomorrow to think differently and devise new game plans to lead.

Design thinking is one such approach that is helping businesses get a competitive edge. It is a solution-based approach to solving every day, yet complex business problems. Owing to its ability in tackling ambiguous or unknown operational difficulties, design thinking strategies are being widely implemented by top organizations such as Apple, Google and GE, among others.

How design thinking works

Design thinking is not a clear-set formula but rather a process for creative problem solving. It fosters out of the box thinking, innovation and user-centricity and helps in developing actionable solutions. An in-depth understanding of the following five phases of design thinking will empower professionals in comprehending the user requirements, challenging the assumptions and re-defining the problems in an attempt to identify rewarding strategies.

Empathize: The first step of the design thinking process is to gain an empathetic understanding of the problem at hand. This means observing and engaging with people first-hand to delve deeper and gain a multifaceted perspective on its complexity.

Define: Once context setting around the understanding of a particular problem is done, the next step of the process is to define it. This stage helps the operational team to assemble ideas and suggestions to address the core problem and come up with innovative features, functions, and disciplines that allow them to address the issues with minimum difficulty.

Ideate: After defining the problem, it is then time to ideate. This step involves brainstorming and creating a vision for what the solution would look like, what it aims to accomplish, and how to make it sustainable and successful.

Prototype: Following the ideation process, a prototype is created as a potential solution to the given problem. The aim is to identify the best possible solution for each of the problems identified during the first three stages.

Test and implement: The prototype is then tested on the sample audience within the business who have been experiencing the particular problem to gauge its effectiveness. If it is found that the prototype is successful in solving the problem after testing it, it would then be implemented.

Who: Design Thinking is most beneficial for

In terms of qualifications, people from any domain—IT, manufacturing, HR, management and consulting, amongst others—can reap the benefits of becoming adept with design thinking. To gain the expertise to properly utilize design thinking skills in business, it is always recommended to take a short, immersive course that can help professionals in learning targeted skills to develop solution oriented designs.

Arjun Nair

Co-founder, Great Learning

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