Design Thinking—it’s not just the latest buzzword. It’s a new mindset, a new way of approaching problems. It puts people at the center of everything.
It’s the way we’re working as we lead the world’s top companies into the New.
Five elements of Design Thinking
The guiding principle behind Design Thinking is putting users and their needs at the center of business. It’s about designing for change and creating new value.
Instead of designing a product and trying to find ways it will make people’s lives better, you start by looking at what users really want and need and work toward that goal. You look at the whole user experience from their perspective. And the more complex the project gets, the closer you need to look.
Focusing first on the experience rather than simply rushing ahead to just “solve the problem” leads to faster, more successful solutions and results.
There are five key elements of the Design Thinking process:
1) Human-centered. If you don’t understand the person who will be using the thing you’re trying to create, it simply won’t work. This principle starts with empathy and focuses on research to really understand people—clients, customers and users.
2) Creative and playful. Creating an open, playful atmosphere is critical to fueling creativity. It allows you to frame the problem in a new way, look at it from different perspectives and consider a variety of solutions.
3) Iterative. Once you’ve come up with a solution or product, it’s important to keep challenging and reframing the problem. Test, iterate, test and test again. Early rounds of testing and feedback helps ensure you are delivering solutions that people will love.
4) Collaborative. People with diverse perspectives work together, creating multidisciplinary teams that encourage different viewpoints and client co-creation. Working in a flat hierarchy.
5) Prototype driven. A prototype can be used to communicate and test your data. Whether it’s a sample product or an idea drawn on paper, creating tangible representations of your solutions allows for sharing and gathering feedback.
Design Thinking in action
Across more than 40 industries and partnering with the world’s leading companies, our people apply Design Thinking in the work they do every day.
We brought Design Thinking to life during a recent Tech Bootcamp in Melbourne, Australia, offering 60 recent graduates a chance to see what it’s really like to work at Accenture and how to apply the Design-Thinking process to solve a real-world problem.
The group was challenged to work in teams to create a new approach to align skills with project work. Coached by Accenture people, groups started by brainstorming and reframing the problem, and then applied the Design-Thinking approach.
The first step was to interview real staff to see what made them tick. The teams analyzed their findings to understand what was needed to formulate their solution.
To frame the solution, the teams collaborated in an open environment to inspire creative thinking. One team applied the “round robin” approach, writing the problem statement on a sheet of paper and passing the paper to each team member to add their solution to the problem.
Real users were brought in to test rough prototypes and provide feedback on what the teams needed to add or subtract from the solutions they had presented. Based on feedback, the prototypes were tested and rebuilt, and final solutions were formulated using leading-edge technologies, such as Salesforce.
In the end, a winning solution was created, but more importantly, the graduates gained invaluable experience in Design Thinking—designing for change centered around people.
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