Tasos has written an article for the November issue of Management Today; South Africa’s leading management Journal describing Design Thinking. The title is Design for future business: thinking like a designer to solve problems and create new solutions. Here is an excerpt: "Organizations everywhere are recognizing the need to change radically in a rapidly changing world. Unfortunately many of these attempts fail because traditional management systems lack the tools to innovate in complex environments and much less so when faced with wicked problems. However, some businesses have solved this dilemma and are able to consistently innovate and grow over the long term, despite temporary setbacks during economic downcycles. These include Apple, Dell, GE, P&G, Infosys. Tata, Toyota, Amazon and ebay. What these organizations all have in common is that they have used design thinking to help guide their traditional business processes. This has allowed them to concentrate on the factors that improve competitiveness rather than doing the wrong things very well.
Design thinking can radically change organizations by embracing complexity and constraints, working collaboratively and iteratively and using expanded logic to achieve this. Inherent in this approach is the ability to see issues as part of a system, with all of its components, relationships and maintaining a view of the overall context. Design thinking also is adept at cultivating a deep understanding of customers and using this together with the factors above to create synthesis, or resolution rather than compromise. Design implies something creative but this is not some sort of art school freeform wackiness, this is creativity in its true meaning as the act of creation. In that sense, design can be thought of as the careful conception of a plan and the disciplined execution of that plan to create something new.
In fact, design has a process as structured and rigorous as anything in business. It is a process aimed at solving problems by using our ability to create new solutions. This design process consists of several phases. Firstly, creating common understanding by analyzing data and research. Secondly, creation, where the data and insights drawn from research guide the creation of new options. Thirdly, filtering, using critical thinking to select the most promising options. Fourthly, validation, where fieldwork is done to test assumptions. Fifthly, synthesis, where options are drawn into a business model and assembled into the strategic plan. Sixthly, engineering, which develops the idea technically. And finally, implementation where the chosen solution is built in totality."
For more on design thinking and what it means for business read The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage by Roger Martin, review here and if you happen to be in New York on the 11th of November catch Bruce Nussbaum talking to Roger Martin and Tim Brown of IDEO.