Design Thinking-What It Can Be Is Not Necessarily What It Should Be

Jose Baldaia

This post is by guest blogger, Jose Baldaia, psychologist and consultant in Organizational Behavior and Innovation. He works with small to medium sized enterprises focusing on Open Innovation and Design Thinking. Please join us to explore Design Thinking with Jose Baldaia this Friday at 12pm ET/5pm GMT/9am PT on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz

What it can be is not necessarily what it should be! We do not have to choose always between …We can create new!

We live in a transitional phase between an old “business world”, traditional and corporate, and a “new world” with a people-centric approach to create new things and with value through interdisciplinary teams and collaborative processes.

There is, on the part of some people, a purpose of convergence of these two worlds, which basically can mean a new model created with the relevant points of each one and where empathy takes on a key role.

This new model requires a different mindset

Design Thinking is a mindset that allows forms of collaboration in interdisciplinary teams producing amazing results. Teams with this mindset exhibit empathy, movement, suppleness and evolution.

Design thinking is a way to do something in a dimension that represents a new learning experience for everyone, especially for business people. It is a fact that cannot be ignored or minimized is that they have a lot to give back with their experience.

However, many of these business people fear failure, have aversion to unpredictability or uncertainty and have a major concern with their status.

Design thinking requires a different attitude

That is, go beyond the case studies or exchanges of good practices. Business cannot be happy with the simple transfer of a solution from one company to another. We can’t think only in case studies or implementation of best practices. Every business needs unique solutions and not adaptations of other companies’ solutions.

Roger Martin on “The Design of Business,” says that, in order to become design thinkers, we must develop:

  • posture-our perspective of the world and our role in it
  • tools-the models we use to organize our world and our thoughts
  • experiences-what has built and developed our skills and sensibilities

Then, the fundamental question that a design thinker asks is:

“Does this helps me to get where I need to go”?

To answer this question, it is important to not forget that design thinking places three fundamental issues that are raised for the development of our projects:

Is it this desirable?

Is it technically feasible?

 Is it economically viable?

Challenging the status quo

Design Thinking goes further challenging the status quo because design thinkers can resolve finer problems through integrative thinking in collaboration using the logic of abduction. The logic of abduction is the logic of what can be and not what should be or what it is.

We can see that after inspiration and ideation comes a third space of design thinking process that is implementation. At the heart of the implementation process is prototyping which transforms ideas into products and services that will then be tested, placed in interaction and refined. Think of interaction as a way of framing the relationship between people and the objects designed for them.

 Prototypes lead to discovery

Through prototypes, the design thinking process seeks to discover unforeseen implementation challenges and unintended consequences in order to obtain more reliable results of long-term success. Prototyping can validate a component of an electronic device or a detail in the interaction between a transmitter (the business and/or product) and a receptor (customer/user).

After the completion of the process of prototyping or the final product or service is created, a team using design thinking helps to create a communication strategy.

Storytelling is a part of this communication strategy

Storytelling helps communicate the solution to a diverse set of entities related to the process, both inside and outside the Organization, especially when there are language or cultural barriers.

Design thinking can be applied to all aspects of a business system (i.e. the cost of structure, the selection of partners or the competitive strategy, etc.). But perhaps there are gaps, for its greater visibility, to establish a common language and mutual understanding between business and Design Thinking.

Design thinking requires empathy with users. Does it prejudice or undermine the competitiveness of businesses?

How is it wrong to try to strike a balance between analysis and intuition?

Design thinking seeks the meaning of things! What affect does this have on business?

How do you include thinking of customer needs rather than focus exclusively on the interests of shareholders?

Why do companies usually reject learning from failure?

About the author: Jose Baldaia is a  psychologist and consultant  of Organizational Behavior and Innovation based in Portugal. In describing his work, he explains, “I try to develop activities based on what I believe and I like as it is the case of Design Thinking.”