2. Ideation: This is where the team translates the insights gained through customer research. Teams should use visual ideation techniques to promote creativity, such as jotting down or sketching their observations on sticky notes and grouping them on a wall. This 'thinking aloud on paper' can help crystallise thoughts. The ideation process is an important step in encouraging teams to creatively solve problems, rather than stick to a fixed list of requirements. Very often, we encounter companies that directly listen to and observe their customers, then quickly jump to translating the notes into a spreadsheet.
3. Prototyping: Testing and validating prototypes need not be approached as formal usability tests. Rather than developing a fully functional and robust prototype, consider having the team create mockups, stimulations, and process sketches to convey the overall concept to users-the look, feel and functionality of the experience-and get feedback quickly.
4. Testing: With design thinking, testing and validation can be treated as an informal and participatory experience, where potential users (customers, business partners or employees) can interact playfully with it and provide genuine feedback. The testing should not be held off until the prototype is complete; rather, user feedback should come at all stages of ideation-process sketches, simple mock-ups, simulations, and so on.
Ultimately, conclusions resulting from the design thinking process are not superficial as they highlight necessary changes that need to be made to business processes, technologies and organisational structures. The process does not end when the product or service is launched. Instead, it is imperative that teams incorporate design thinking into the experience itself, so it can be used to continuously refine and enhance the experience.
While companies still have a long way to go in bridging the gap between today's capabilities and the emerging vision of the future, it is time they embarked on the journey to embrace and integrate design thinking in everything they do.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.