Word of the Month: Design Thinking

October 18, 2018

Word of the Month is a new series on The Hive where we present concepts or technologies that are meaningful in the work we do.

Businesses across different sectors are embracing Design Thinking to build new products or service offers. How can a design approach devised 50 years ago remain relevant today? Because Design Thinking establishes user needs as the starting point and priority, which then dictates the entire design process and how the products and services are made. This approach, in an economy driven by experience, is hugely relevant and beneficial to businesses.

“Design thinking can be used by anybody. It can be used by someone on their first day at work and it can be used by a CEO.”*

Design Thinking: learning by doing

Design thinking is an iterative process. It has a variable number of steps – five in the case of Stanford University’s d.school, a hub for innovation, collaboration and creativity:

  1. Empathize: interact with users to understand what they do, think, feel and say.
  2. Define: build a shared vision of the problem that all participants aim to solve together.
  3. Ideate: generate ideas using a range of techniques.
  4. Prototype: visualize the experience of the end user with a mock product (or role-play for services) and explore various options.
  5. Test: carry out tests to obtain user feedback and refine the solution.

These steps follow each other without necessarily forming a linear process: we can – actually, we must – perform several cycles, go back to the first stage while we prototype, etc.

“Design thinking is a process that allows you to bring innovation in any endeavor. And the way we define innovation is the use of creativity to outperform normative techniques.”*

Design Thinking at Lectra

At Lectra, design thinking is employed by many teams because understanding customer needs is the foundation of their work. the two teams in particular that this applies to is the product-marketing and the UX design and innovation teams, who work closely together.

Our UX designers have long capitalized on knowledge of the customer journey by using specific design thinking methods, such as user research to understand customer needs, user tests and participatory design methods.

Lectra is now using design thinking as a disruptive innovation tool, to go from ideation to the materialization of the solution. The method provides the keys for understanding user needs. It guides our prototyping and exchanges with users to quickly test and implement what has been learned into the design of the offer – an offer that we will then develop in agile mode.

“Design thinking can be used for about anything if you are a home sapiens, but it is particularly useful for people who are making multi-modal decisions, and who have a responsibility to look at the future, and potentially create a new future.”*



* Quotes from Banny Banerjee, Director and Founder, Stanford ChangeLabs



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