Design thinking is a process wherein creative strategies are deployed to find the best possible solution meticulously picked from potential resolutions. Though coined as a design term, it has extensive application in scenarios that involve identifying an issue and coming up with solutions. In recent times, design thinking has been adopted by businesses as their modus operandi for creating new products while effectively addressing gaps within business models and markets. It can also be utilized for combining entrepreneurial techniques to existing models to explore hybrid variations for your business. For instance, an idea from a related/unrelated business or industry can be merged with your current setup using design thinking strategies. Here’s how to use it for your own business, whether it is to introduce a new product/service or revamp an existing one:
When using design thinking, the first step is to identify a problem which may be one-time or a recurring one. Scrutinize customer feedback to analyze which of your existing products/services can be improved or what aspect within these can be enhanced. You can also study competitors to pinpoint a missing feature or even chalk out a new initiative that fills in a gap within your market. You can also get insights directly from end users and those facing a problem. Once this initial step has been taken, observe the problem from every possible perspective.
Next step is to gather your team and brainstorm on possible solutions and strategies. As a one-off meeting, you can also invite colleagues from other departments sharing the problem with them. Since this step focuses on coming up with probable solutions, it is always better to bring in as many minds as possible to broaden the idea spectrum. Encourage everyone to participate wholeheartedly, and put all creative and rational ideas on the table. Once you have ample ideas, call further meetings till the list of ideas has been reduced to a handful of achievable solutions.
After a few ideas have been approved, start working on the prototypes. Take regular input from every department that has even the slightest of concern with it during or after completion. This will help in minor debugging at the initial level. While testing the efficiency of the prototypes in-house, also conduct focus groups with different people who give you an unbiased opinion. In this way, you will be able to better understand and target the needs of your clients.
If the prototype is found feasible, tweak it with all the suggestions and improvements submitted by different people. Within a reasonable timeframe, bring out a final solution and test it. Seek out early adopters who would be able to test it out in its beta phase and check if the solution is viable in real-time. Keep an eye on analytics and feedback to track all positive and negative outcomes.
If a majority of your user-base is happy with the new solution provided, give it a green signal. Chalk out a final calendar for marketing, sales, operations and support. Most importantly, ensure that all your customer support people working on different channels such as phone, social media and live chat have been briefed on FAQs and tutorials for the final solution. Since they are the frontline for receiving queries, it is imperative they have sufficient training.
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