The Value of Design Thinking in Business
Many small business owners are exceptionally busy and don’t have the time to look at their working methods. Many small merchants are unaware that the same problems appear repeatedly. It could all boil down to one specific problem where a simple shift of thinking could solve it.
Design thinking is a new approach that small businesses can use to re-evaluate their business methods, which could help them grow and improve their productivity. Design thinking is useful for big companies such as Apple and AirBnB to drive their innovation and growth, and this could be the key to small business success.
What is design thinking?
Design thinking is the art and science of looking at complex problems differently. Instead of seeing the limitations or impossibilities, you look for the solutions. After you have outlined a few solutions, you prototype them and then test them to determine which one solves the problem for your customer.
The customer is the main focus, and it is not about improving key performance indicators (KPI)  or another metric. Innovation is driven by design thinking. Three major obstacles must be overcome: the desirability, viability, and feasibility of a product/service. Each obstacle has a key question that designers must find with their possible solutions.
- Desirability: What makes sense for people and people?
- Viability: What are the most likely parts of a sustainable business model to be viable?
- Feasibility: What functionally is possible in the near future?
How can you implement Design Thinking?
Design Thinking is about learning and discovering. If you are strategizing, you are designing.
- Start from the beginning. You can learn by enrolling in a design thinking course online about how to implement it properly. Look for ways to increase quality/value in your offerings.
- Low-risk tests like designing a meeting for your team can help you build your creativity and confidence. Ask questions that you don’t know the answers to.
- Learn how to facilitate co-creation, creativity, and collaboration, and all this is essential for creating a safe environment for conceptual risk-taking.
- Keep your eyes on the user experience.
- Your research can help you and your team uncover provocative insights, reframe issues, and finally generate new ideas.
There are some benefits to using a Design Thinking approach
Creative challenges can be solved with design thinking. Design thinking is a creative way to approach an existing problem in a company.
This entire process requires a lot of brainstorming and the creation of new ideas. These can help to expand the learner’s knowledge. Professionals can use design thinking to create a valuable experience for their clients by working together.
This helps in meeting client requirements effectively. Because design thinking involves prototyping, all products at the MVP stage will undergo multiple rounds of testing and customer feedback to ensure quality.
You will meet client expectations if you have a solid design thinking approach. Your clients are straight involved in the development design cycle.
Design thinking can help you expand your knowledge. The design process involves multiple evaluations. Companies use feedback to continue measuring the performance of their products and ensure customers have the best possible experience.
Participating in this process will help design thinkers improve their understanding of customers. This will allow them to identify certain aspects, such as which tools to use, close gaps in the deliverable, and other such things.
What can small business owners do to use design thinking?
Great Learning’s Stanford Design thinking course focusses a lot on business development. Even though it may seem a bit academic, this can have a huge impact on how your team works. Design thinking has many benefits. It helps companies of all sizes to break out of “business as usual” thinking patterns and unproductive cycles.
These are just three examples of how design thinking can benefit small businesses:
In a restaurant’s kitchen, morale is low
This results from the restaurant’s hourly wages and benefits, which he cannot afford to increase. The business owner depends upon design thinking and interviews his kitchen staff. He has worked a few shifts and realized that morale was low because of the repetitive dishes they prepared, and their uniforms were uncomfortable and itchy. What was the solution? New uniforms and more variety!
After the morning rush, a coffee shop would like to start a lunch business
That’s a coffee shop owner’s decision. She isn’t sure if it is a fabulous idea. Hence, she puts herself in the customer’s shoes and goes outside to check if other professionals can walk by the cafe for lunch.
She walks around the area to check out what cafes have on their menus and prices. She discovers that most of the nearest offices are more than half an hour away, and she decides to sell pre-packed lunches. Customers can now pick up lunch along with their morning coffee. In short, design thinking highly helped her.
Retailers see a lot of foot traffic, but it doesn’t convert into sales
Online promotion is provided by a retailer inviting customers to shop and take advantage of special deals. Although this generates a lot of foot traffic, it doesn’t convert into sales. Before following the customer’s journey, he assumes that this is due to the deal.
The business owner then realizes that his store layout makes it difficult for new customers to figure out the product in the deal. He can capitalize on the online-to-offline conversion by making changes to his front-of-house.
Design Thinking is a perfect approach to problem-solving that is specific to design. It includes understanding aspects of a problem and identifying the more unknown factors contributing to those problems.
Design Thinking is a renewal cycle where knowledge is continuously being questioned and gained to help us redefine a problem and identify other strategies and solutions.
Design Thinking is sometimes called “outside the box thinking”  because designers try to think differently and challenge the established problem-solving methods. Its core purpose is to improve products through analyzing users’ interactions with them and investigating their operating conditions. It allows peer digging and uncovering new ways to improve user experiences.