The managerial methodology of Design Thinking has been developed at Stanford and then rapidly spread to the USA, Canada and most of Europe. Design Thinking dramatically increases the capacity of organizations (profit, non-profit companies, public administrations, etc.) to make effective and profitable decisions, creating benefits for all their internal and external stakeholders. It teaches corporate teams to develop creative thinking, based on the model developed by designers, and to use an approach to problem solving inspired by scientific methods used in research. One of the main advantages of Design Thinking is its capacity to provide the entrepreneur/manager with a fundamental resource for making crucial decisions, related to a company’s strategy and organization, drastically reducing the risks associated with them.
The chief goal of Design Thinking is to identify an innovative solution to a problem, which meets three fundamental criteria: satisfaction (of the market or of the actors), feasibility and profitability or economic sustainability.
The result is achieved through a structured 5-step method:
Step 1 Empathize—Research Your Users’ Needs
The first step of the design thinking process allows you to gain an empathetic understanding of the problem you are trying to solve, usually through user research and by setting aside one’s own assumptions.
Step 2: Define—State Your Users’ Needs and Problems
During this stage, you accumulate the information you created and gathered during the Empathize stage. You analyze your observations and synthesize them to define the key problems.
Step 3: Ideate—Challenge Assumptions and Create Ideas
The knowledge collected through the first two phases allows you to start “thinking outside the box”, look for alternative ways to view the problem and identify innovative solutions to the problem you are addressing.
Step 4: Prototype—Start to Create Solutions
This is an experimental phase aimed at identifying the best possible solution for the problems identified during the first three stages. Design teams produce a number of inexpensive, scaled-down versions of the product to explore the generated problem solutions.
Step 5: Test—Try Your Solutions Out
Designers or evaluators test the complete product using the best solutions identified in the Prototype phase. Although this is the final phase of the model but, the results generated are often used to identify potential flaws. Therefore, designers can return to previous stages in the process to make additional alterations and refinements.
Design Thinking is applicable to all types of problems concerning strategy, organization, development of new products or services and produces the best results when you are faced with complex problems and / or the lack of information regarding the future. The main areas of application of Design Thinking are:
-the definition of the medium / long-term corporate strategy
-the conception of new products and services (even radical innovations) or processes
-business organization and re-organization projects
-acquisition projects, spin-offs
-launching of startups
-human resources cycle.