Design Thinking is the Key to Innovation

In a not-so-recent HBR article on Design Thinking, Tim Brown reminds us that “…innovation is powered by a thorough understanding, through direct observation, of what people want and need in their lives and what they like or dislike about the way particular products are made, packaged, marketed, sold, and supported.” That:

“Design thinking is… a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.”

“Genius” as Thomas Edison has told us, “is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Thomas Edison is an archetypal Design Thinker. He knew that through experimentation – iterative design – problems can be solved and innovation takes place.

For innovative companies like Apple, Amazon, Starbucks, Design Thinking is a strategic role done as early as possible in determining developing and delivering life changing solutions. So many companies still get this wrong by only considering design late in the process for mere visual appeal or ease of use and are completely missing the boat on innovation.