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10 New Design Thinking Lessons to Help You Drive Innovation

Written by Kate Braner

Not everyone is a designer, but anyone can learn to think like one.

In 2007, Blackberry Messenger reigned supreme and the Apple iPhone was only second on “top smartphone” lists. Fast forward 10 years to 2017 and Blackberry is all but forgotten. How did Apple endure? By understanding their user better than the competition and innovating based on that information.

Innovation is vital to the success of every business, yet few businesses know where to begin when they set out to build new processes or start new projects. It often helps to step back and approach the problem from a different perspective. That’s why many of the most innovative companies approach challenges like a designer. Now, with our design thinking content, you can, too.

Throughout the next month, we’ll be releasing an entire curriculum on design thinking created in conjunction with subject matter experts Alex Humphreys, Director at JSTOR Labs and Taurean Butler, Design Thinking Strategist at Capital One.

The first 10-lesson track, which we are releasing today, will help you set up an environment and culture that supports innovation.

What is design thinking?

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”—Henry Ford

Design thinking is about unlocking your users’ needs, even when the users can’t yet tell you what they are.

Take the above quote attributed to Henry Ford. Although most believe he didn’t actually say those words, it illustrates the importance of understanding your user versus relying on short-term improvements to get ahead. While the Model T is a classic example of new technology enabling new business models, none of this matters if the product doesn’t address the customer’s needs—in this case, an affordable, fast, and reliable mode of transportation, fit for a family.

Old, obsolete products—the horse-drawn-carriage, the Palm Pilot—ultimately become obsolete when they fail to solve problems for their user as successfully as their competitors. And that’s what design thinking helps you understand.

Anyone throughout an organization can employ the design thinking framework to solve problems and create better processes and products with less friction. For example, design thinking can be used to improve your recruiting process, run a better meeting, or build a better website.

Why is design thinking good for business? 

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”—Steve Jobs

According to the Design Management Institute, design-driven businesses outperformed their peers by 228% over the course of 10 years. Just take a look at Forbes’ list of the world’s most valuable brands: it’s no coincidence that the top 10 spots are filled with innovative brands like Google, Apple, Coca-Cola, Disney, and GE.

Design thinking—or lack thereof— can separate the successful from the floundering. In one survey from Bersin by Deloitte, companies that reported more than 10% year-over-year growth were more than twice as likely to incorporate design thinking compared to their counterparts. By using design thinking strategies, businesses can increase innovation and—better yet—decrease wasted resources.

Start thinking like a designer with our latest content

Throughout your Transform Your Team With Design Thinking curriculum, you will learn:

  • What design thinking is: Apply it to every aspect of your organization and empower all team members to think like designers.
  • How to avoid the product death cycle: Transform your culture and working habits to create an environment that supports proven innovation practices.
  • How to recognize the pitfalls of traditional product and service development: Revamp your communication structure to facilitate a culture of creativity.

Psst…here’s a sneak peek:

We’ll be launching 2 more tracks to complete the full curriculum over the course of the next month, so stay tuned for more!

Ready to start incorporating design thinking in your organization? Get in touch with a learning specialist.