Design Thinking Paper

Running Head: DESIGN THINKING PAPER Design Thinking Paper Week 7 Assignment Lucia Bastian John F. Kennedy University August 16th, 2010 DESIGN THINKING PAPER Abstract This paper is to define “Design Thinking” and explain how it can be used by organizations to improve their level of innovation in product development and service delivery. It further describes some examples of how organizations that continuously use design thinking proved to be very successful and talks about their principles and strategies of ongoing innovation.

Finally in conclusion is my personal view on the subject where I talk about the usefulness of design thinking and its applications as part of the business culture and possibility of using design thinking even on a larger scale as just with a limit of one organization. DESIGN THINKING PAPER Definition of Design Thinking With design thinking being a pretty new concept, many companies are finding that this way of thinking and solving problems with application of experiences and observation leads to more valuable products and services in today’s world.

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Although there is no general definition of design thinking, Tim Brown in his book Change by Design gives the following definition: “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. ” Design thinking can be applied to more than just companies who want innovation of their product offerings, but also to solve more complex problems.

The Wikipedia website defines design thinking as a process for practical, creative resolution of problems or issues that looks for an improved future result, combining empathy, creativity, and rationality. It is further described as a creative process based on new ideas where thinking outside the box is encouraged early in the process to come up with creative solutions. Design thinking process goes through stages of definition, research, ideate, prototype, choose, implement and learn, where some of these stages can be repeated or happen simultaneously.

Each of the stages is pretty self explanatory and with each project the chosen team and its flexibility will determine the further details needed to apply in their situation. There is no how to guide when it comes to design thinking, these are just the basic principles that put it into a framework. One of the very important basic principles is to keep the human need in mind. When a new product is invented, usually the technology part comes first but many times lacks the part about the specific need.

With design thinking, usually by simply observing the human behavior, will trigger the need and give us the best brief with a set of objections rather than specific instructions. DESIGN THINKING PAPER How is Design Thinking Used by Organizations? There are no boundaries when it comes to innovation and creative thinking. Many companies that apply the design thinking as part of their culture are becoming more successful. One of them I’ve been a part of ever since I started working in the insurance industry (now over 10 years) is Progressive Insurance.

They’ve changed the “face” of car insurance through what they refer to as “forward” thinking. Their innovations are very impressive, from being the first auto insurance company to launch a website in 1995 to introducing the Name your Price tool couple of years ago that allows the people to say how much they want to pay for car insurance and see the package available based on the price entered. Progressive also become the title sponsor of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, an international competition designed to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles that get 100 miles per gallon.

The entire list of accomplishments of all their firsts throughout the years, using this type of thinking can be found on the following web link: http://jobs. progressive. com/innovation. aspx . Progressive inspires their employees to be creative. They have an art collection (now nearly 6500 pieces) to encourage the pursuit of innovation and change. Progressive offers flexible work schedule for employees to allow more satisfaction in personal and business life.

There is a gain sharing bonus program in place which is based on how they meet objectives as the entire business, which of course involves both risk and opportunity. With an entry level job it could be up to 16 percent of earnings for that year and employees receive monthly reports on the performance. DESIGN THINKING PAPER Another great example of a company using design thinking and making it part of the culture is TARGET. From redesigning their shopping cart made all of recycled plastic, to just recently they expanded fresh food offerings into many stores nationwide, they constantly thrive at innovation.

The following citation from their website I think says it all. “When we talk about our dedication to good design, we don’t just mean how something looks, but also how it satisfies a need, how it simplifies your life and how it makes you feel. ” This could very well be the concept of why design thinking needs to be applied and be part of every business. Gregg Steinhafel, the CEO of Target describes the inclusive structure as follows: “At Target, diversity is much more than a goal or campaign.

It’s a core value we integrate into every area of our business — from our suppliers, to our teams, to the shopping experience in our stores. We foster an inclusive culture that allows our high-performing and diverse team to drive innovation”. Both companies Target and Progressive involve not only their employees but also the customers in co-creations of their products/services. Design thinking can be applied at various scales; it is a very rapidly evolving field, used from manufacturing all the way to science.

It could start as an idea of one individual. For instance Jaime Oliver has won the TED prize in 2010 and he wants to use the money to start designing a process to tackle the pediatric obesity in USA as it is also causing a major out of control health costs among other things. As posted on IDEO’s website (Brown T. 2010 blog), his exact words are: “I wish for your help to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity. The key is the part of asking for everyone to get involved, give their input and be part of it. Not just be the consumer of the end result. On the actual TED website there is an opportunity for everyone to click and offer help or you can just “watch the talk”. There is also an open communication on IDEO’s website www. openideo. com DESIGN THINKING PAPER Either way, to wish big enough to change the world instead of just having the limitation of one organization is something design thinking could be a big part of in the long run.

Involving teams (which could be the organizations) to make it to make it happen. And this is what it is all about. The next big idea that will later on transform into something tangible and whether it will be with the support of the insurance companies themselves or new technology for measuring food, introducing classes on nutrition as early as elementary schools, new requirements in laws to inform consumers on the packages to make a better choice, instead of selling readymade foods high on fat and sugar content. The transformation has to start somewhere and that’s the idea.

In conclusion, I think all of us have the design thinking concept in us, given the opportunity to be part of something will give a new meaning and value to the end result. Whether it’s sitting in a cubicle working at the Progressive call center (but thinking out of the cubicle opportunity) or working at Target, being part of the diverse team, we share our experiences and if we learn to build on them instead of just accepting them, it is going to have a great impact on the way we think, live and accept the changes in our lives.

With all the changes happening around us and us constantly having to move ahead and keep up with the paste all organizations should adapt the design thinking as part of their business strategy. DESIGN THINKING PAPER References Brown, Tim. , (2009). Change by design, first edition, New York, NY HarperCollins Publishers Design Thinking Definition from Wikipedia (2010) Retrieved from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Design_thinking Progressive – Innovation retrieved from http://jobs. progressive. com/innovation. spx Target, Fostering and Inclusive Culture (2010) Retrieved from http://sites. target. com/site/en/company/page. jsp? contentId=WCMP04-031794 Brown Tim (Feb 2010), Jaime Oliver’s TED Wish, Design Thinking Thoughts by Tim Brown blog. Retrieved from http://designthinking. ideo. com/? p=442/#content What is the TED prize (2010) Retrieved from http://www. tedprize. org/ O’Toole Robert (Dec 2009) Design Thinking Learning in Higher Education essay, Retrieved from http://blogs. warwick. ac. uk/inspireslearning/entry/design-thinking-learning_essay/

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