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Business Consultants Insight: What is all the hype about Design Thinking?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The hype about design thinking

The methodology commonly referred to as Design Thinking is a common buzz term for Business Consultants today. The concept has proven itself as a successful and repeatable problem-solving method which Business Consultants and Professionals can use to achieve extraordinary results.

Design Thinking is thought to be one of the important skills of a good consultant within any profession from law, medicine, insurance, sport to politics and beyond. These principles apply to anyone starting out as a Business Consultant or Human Resources Consultants, Management Consultants, Finance Consultants, Small Business Consultants or Franchise Business Consultants.

An interesting example of Design Thinking is the Japanese bicycle components manufacturer Shimano. They investigated why 90% of American adults did not ride bikes. The team of Consultants found out that difficult retail experiences, the high cost of bikes, the complexity of maintenance and danger of riding blocked people’s desire to ride bikes. The Business Consultants came up with a solution by introducing the term “Coasting” which became very popular. Coasting is about enjoyable bike riding in safe areas with affordable bikes.



How can you apply this thinking to your business?  

While the application of the concept varies between Business Consultants, the principles usually include basic design principles of human-centered ideas, pattern recognition, functional understanding and prototyping.


1.Define the problem

While this sounds very simple, it is considered to be the most crucial step. While there are thousands of problems we face in a day, it is key to pick the right one to solve. Design thinking suggests that you should define the problem as a team with multiple viewpoints so include others in your thinking with you.

Observation and cross examination are key to ensure that the process and problem are understood. Instead of creating a simple Word document brief or PowerPoint, immerse yourself into the problems.

2.Consider a wide variety of potential solutions

Traditional business thinking has taught business people to choose the simplest, quickest and most efficient solution (often one that will involve the easiest sign off). The principle of Design Thinking promotes that the best solution results when 4 people work on a solution for a whole day, as opposed to one person coming back and forth on the problem over a whole week.

3.Refine the selected direction concepts

Design Thinking requires Business Consultants to delve deeper into concepts and explore the fragility of initial ideas. The group environment is considered to be conducive to growth and experimentation so Business Consultants usually strategise with a group of people by probing further and exploring unchartered territory. As part of the duties of a Consultant, it is important for the Consultant to coordinate between the groups as an independent thought facilitator.

4.Execute the winning solution

As you continue on the path of Design Thinking, you can commit resources to bring a dynamic solution. Implementing the idea should involve bringing the inspiration to life. The process is a journey which involves innovative change from identifying the problem, considering differ ways to solve it, testing ideas and ending up with a clear winner.


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