Bang Design

Design Thinking: A Strategic Compass for Navigating Uncertain Markets

With the business landscape transforming at an unprecedented pace, we’re seeing the limitations of traditional frameworks come to the fore. Strategic frameworks that defined where and how to compete, defining customer segments, channels, geographies, all in an effort to get a sustainable competitive advantage.

Amidst this sea of change, companies are looking for a compass to guide them using the one lodestar that remains: the end user and their needs. Design thinking provides this very compass, a methodology equipped to solve complex problems keeping in mind, the end users’ needs first and foremost.

Human-Centered Insights Fuel Growth

Design thinking is a problem-solving methodology that drives sustainable growth by unearthing unmet customer needs and spotting business opportunities. With an emphasis on user empathy and co-creation, it has been transforming companies making them more responsive, agile and innovative.

Research shows that companies that invested in design thinking developed a customer-centric focus, created innovative products and experiences. All of which led to them increasing their revenues and shareholder returns faster than the market.

Innovation Catalyst for Uncharted Territory

Expansion often requires venturing beyond established markets and product lines. In these uncharted territories, historical data offers little guidance. Historically, designers would design, companies would build, then market the products, hoping they give an amazing experience and turn out to be best sellers. Rapidly changing consumer tastes, evolving technologies make this approach prohibitively expensive.

As a part of Design Thinking, companies develop personas or archetypes of users across traditional segments and geographies, heroes around whom followers rally around. Co-opting them for research and even co-creation, companies uncover newer unmet needs, and business opportunities towards which they can invest precious resources with minimal risks.

Redesigning the Design Department for Maximum Impact

To realize the full benefit of Design thinking, companies need to move away from siloed workflows. And today this is possible because of the multidimensional talent coming through design or design-oriented B-schools. A new generation of designers who understand how to blend technology and business, keep the consumer at heart and deliver outstanding experiences.
And they can only achieve this if they’re involved from ideation to implementation. The following three steps go a long way in transforming your company’s design quotient.

1. Design the Strategy: Integrate design thinking into the strategic planning process from the beginning. This enables designers to contribute to framing problems, derisking processes and creating innovative solutions.

2. Design the Business: Extend the influence of design beyond product development. Apply design principles to optimize internal processes, facilitate collaboration, and shape a future-proof work environment. This maximizes knowledge sharing, increases employee loyalty and helps attract top talent.

3. Cross-Functional Teams: Break down siloed structures and embed design professionals into cross-functional teams. This cross-pollination of expertise fosters diverse perspectives, leading to more comprehensive solutions and faster innovation cycles.

Maximizing the Design Thinking Advantage

In an increasingly complex and unpredictable world, combining traditional strategy with design thinking will prove to be a critical differentiator. Leaders across all departments need to bridge their skill sets and embrace each others’ language. Design professionals, in turn, need to understand business functions such as execution, cost and scale optimization beyond their core specialities of crafting experiences.

Adopting design thinking and its human-centric approach, companies can guide the turbulent waters of today’s market with agility and confidence. Design centricity offers multiple opportunities for innovation, growth and sustainable customer loyalty, your only advantage in uncertain and testing times.

Sustained implementation of design thinking in your organization helps cross-departmental knowledge sharing, create high-performance teams and connect both your customers and employees to the company’s goals. As a founder/CEO, your first step would be to champion design at all levels, break down departmental silos and help Design Thinking yield success!

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