What is design thinking?
Simply put, design thinking is a way to solve complex problems in a human-centered way. It starts with a specific goal and goes through multiple iterative stages of diverging and converging. Design thinking typically includes approaches like observation, interviews, brainstorming and prototyping.
Tim Brown, CEO and president of IDEO, gives this definition of design thinking’s role within business: “Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.”
What consumer research innovation challenges can design thinking help solve?
How can researchers apply design thinking to innovation-focused research?1. Observation and interviews. These approaches help build gut-level consumer understanding to allow the team to design solutions that will delight consumers, without asking consumers to predict the future.
2. Brainstorming, co-creation and prototyping. These approaches help avoid the trap of waiting for a final or “perfect” product before engaging consumers as well as helping consumers react to something that does not yet exist.
3. Problem definition and iteration. These approaches can help to both design the most effective consumer research up front and give the flexibility to learn over time, without needing to have everything figured out before ever talking with a consumer.
Consumer research for innovation brings certain challenges, but through the application of key design thinking principles, researchers can approach the learning process differently to not only help overcome these difficulties, but actually build stronger, more compelling solutions for the consumers they serve.
Sarah Faulkner, Owner Faulkner Insights