We are constantly making decisions. Some are small and some are big like “should I have the oatmeal or the eggs?” or “How are we going to win our market?” In your mind, you frame your problem and think through different solutions that will give you the best results. You may even think through a variety of scenarios and outcomes. For the important decisions, you may develop some criteria for success and apply that.
Wouldn’t it nice if there was a method that would increase your success for better decisions? And maybe get you there faster because it helps better define your problem and iterate quickly through possible solutions? That is Design Thinking.
Design Thinking is a tool to help you better frame your problem and test your solutions to get the best outcome. When you make a decision, you think of a problem and possible solutions. One of the most common mistakes when making a decision is not properly defining your problem. You think you know what the problem is – or you think you know it well enough – and begin thinking through solutions. But if you are not clear what problem you are solving then the chances of determining the right solution is very low.
“If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it,” – Albert Einstein
Well-defined problems lead to breakthrough solutions. When developing new products, processes, or even businesses, most people aren’t really thinking through defining the problems they’re attempting to solve.
Without a clear, conscious method to problem solving, organizations miss opportunities, waste resources, and end up pursuing “innovation initiatives” that don’t meet their market need. How many times have you seen a project go down one path only to realize in hindsight that it should have gone down another? How many times have you seen an innovation program deliver a seemingly breakthrough result only to find that it can’t be implemented or it addresses the wrong problem? Many organizations need to become better at asking the right questions so that they tackle the right problems.
Design Thinking is a method that quickly takes you through better defining your market problem and target audience’s real needs to articulate the right problem statement. Then through an agile, iterative process to brainstorm solutions, prototype and test the best solution.