Design is not only about making things look pretty. It’s more than your logo, the graphics, and pictures on your products, website, and brochures.
Using design thinking can transform your business. Companies like Uber, Apple and Amazon know that design is crucial, and they have placed design at the forefront of their business. These companies are thriving internationally, and you can too if you use design not as an afterthought, but as a crucial component for your business.
So how do you use design thinking for your business?
1. Get into a creative mindset for problem-solving
This creative mindset makes space for risk taking and exploring half-baked ideas without the fear of losing face or experiencing punitive repercussions. Apple is celebrated for its success, but many of their products failed to make it to the marketplace. The Apple products such as the Mac and iPhone which eventually made it through their design process revolutionised the world. Apple’s interactive design process recognises that one does not get things right the first time. It is through constant experimentation, prototyping, brainstorming, and even failing, that success is achieved.
2. Prototyping of products and new ideas
An idea with potential can be prototyped with a drawing or diagram, building a model or making a short film that describes the product. Staff and customers can immediately be asked to give feedback to help refine and get products market ready. Prototypes need to be done early on in the process and continued throughout and should be displayed in the office to encourage employees to give feedback and engage with the design. You can also encourage customers to experiment and contribute to early prototypes.
3. Visualising ideas or concepts is critical in design thinking
When launching a new product you will have to tell people about it. Chances are that only a few will read a written report. However, with videos, people can see the product and easily understand what it is about. Making it visual and tangible helps everyone to understand clearly what you’re offering.
4. Empathy for the customer
Empathy helps you to understand your customer and answer their needs. The focus moves from the product to the person using it. Amazon is a great example of this. They evolved from only selling books to becoming an auction house, international retailer, and are now producing movies and streaming them online. Amazon will change their product offering at the drop of a hat if there is an indication that their customers need and want it.
Design thinking should be an integral part of your business process and not something that’s only done at the end when you brand your product and put it in the market place. The design focussed workplace of the future asks for early and continuous prototyping, regular brainstorming, and experimentation as well as a tolerance for failure while refining revolutionary products.
About the author:
Terence Visagie is a visual artist and works as a graphic designer at Fetola. He provides visual support to a range of programmes managed by Fetola, as well as creating graphic content that promotes and encourages engagement of Fetola clients and stakeholders.