Design Thinking: Can It Really Solve Real-World Challenges in 2021?


Design thinking has revolutionized the world of business in 2021. Should you embrace the design thinking principles? Keep reading to find out!


Design thinking is a modern-day approach to develop solutions that help solve real-world problems. We will discuss design thinking inside and out in a moment. For now, let’s focus on understanding the concept at the basic level.

Before generating ideas and developing solutions, business owners have to ask themselves one important question: Who will use the solution? Once they create an ideal buyer or user persona, it becomes easier to tackle the problems related to sketching, prototyping, testing, and executing ideas.

Design thinking questions the problems, assumptions, and implications through brainstorming, prototyping, and testing. It involves observing and developing empathy for the end-user. All of this helps create human-centric products and services.

How does design thinking work?

Here are the steps involved in design thinking. Let’s discuss them briefly before jumping on how design thinking helps change the world.

1. Empathize with end-user

As we mentioned earlier, design thinking is all about understanding the end-users. Therefore, you will have to observe and empathize with the end-users to better understand their needs, expectations, and aspirations. You should value the customers and prepare yourself to exceed their expectations.

2. Define project details

The next step is to collect information related to the end-users, the problems, existing solutions, their shortcomings, and other important insights. The idea is to have enough information to get clarity over the problem. The details help with brainstorming and producing innovative ideas.

3. Ideation to solve problems

This is where the design thinking approach begins to take shape. Once you have all the information about the problem, you can go ahead and start questioning the concepts and assumptions the existing solution was formed over. It helps develop a solid foundation for the new solution. In this step, you will be brainstorming and generating ideas.

4. Prototyping

The ideas need to be processed to create solutions the end-users can find convenient. But, you also don’t want the solutions to hit the shelf without extensive testing. So, you create prototypes to test the ideas.

5. Testing and analysis

Once the prototypes are ready, you can go ahead and test the solutions with your end-users. You can collect the insights and go over the entire design thinking process again if you need to.

How can design thinking change the world?

Now that we are well acquainted with design thinking, it’s important that we also discuss its possibilities and reasons why it’s so valuable for modern-day problem-solving. Here are the benefits of using design thinking to solve real-world problems.

1. Helps understand the customer better

At the heart of design thinking or ‘out-of-box thinking’ is understanding how users interact with different solutions. In other words, design thinking involves the users or customers to develop better solutions, products, or services. To achieve that, one has to analyze and understand user behavior and ask significant questions that challenge previous assumptions. You will have to investigate, research and develop prototypes to make them work for the audience.

2. Reduces risk of failure

Executing new ideas always runs several known and unknown risks. Design thinking helps overcome these risks and ensuring a successful product launch. The risk of failure is always there. With design thinking, you can eliminate bad ideas and save the time and money you might have to spend on them. You will always stay on course and develop ideas that can meet the user’s needs since design thinking is backed by data. The end result of design thinking is a reliable solution you can feel confident about.

3. Helps develop innovative solutions

The design thinking process we discussed earlier shows how businesses can ensure innovation and produce solutions with far greater upside. That’s the beauty of design thinking. It doesn’t just help businesses make incremental improvements in the existing product lineup. It also saves them from getting disrupted by the competition. In other words, the process helps produce unique and innovative ideas that can be tested quickly. In a way, design thinking provides businesses an edge over the competition.

4. Improves pace of generating quality solutions

So, how do you develop a large number of high-quality ideas? With design thinking, you can involve multiple people from different departments of the company to pitch innovative ideas. Since you are only creating prototypes, it is easier to test the ideas quickly and validate them through data. Thus, design thinking facilitates a faster pace of learning and developing breakthrough solutions. Moreover, you can use this method to develop solutions with a high rate of innovation consistently.

5. Ensures better customer experience

What’s better than having customers that are happy and satisfied with your solutions? We believe that when business owners listen to the customers and involve their inputs while building products, they can unlock the potential of their ideas. Listening to the users help businesses get a positive end result. Design thinking breaks down the wall between users and businesses and develops innovative solutions.

6. Key to generate more revenue

Lastly, companies can maximize their revenue and financial benefits by a staggering 56 percent if they put design thinking to use. The report by McKinsey shows how design thinking can lead businesses to generate a significant ROI. The human-centered design approach has helped businesses generate 32 percent more revenue! Well, you can achieve that only by consistently pursuing and embracing design thinking principles.

Keep reading!

Design thinking is a time-tested approach to problem-solving that has found space in the modern business world. We hope this piece of content helped you understand design thinking and its applications. What do you think about Design Thinking? Let us know in the comments!

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