Can design thinking skyrocket your profits? There’s a good chance that you’ve spent time getting to know who your customers are and how their pain points affect their decisions. But, do you put people, from customers to employees, first in every aspect of your business? If you’re not taking a human-centric approach, then you may be missing out on opportunities to increase your revenue.
“Design-driven companies have outperformed the S&P Index by 219% over ten years,” according to the Design Management Institute. This data suggests that design thinking, as a core business strategy, generates a higher success rate.
Design thinking is more than creating an exceptional user experience on your website. Instead, it’s a process that companies use across various channels and departments to increase end-user satisfaction.
Design thinking: Putting humans first
Design thinking isn’t new. The basic premise started as early as 1969. David M. Kelley, the founder of IDEO, tweaked the idea of design thinking for business purposes in 1991. While website designers have long relied on design thinking to build user-friendly websites, business leaders aren’t always sure how to implement design thinking across all aspects of their business. So, where can design thinking be used? Everywhere.
- Sales teams wanting to improve customer retention.
- HR departments rolling out changes to benefit packages.
- Web designers looking to boost website conversions.
- Marketers developing an email sequence.
Benefits of design thinking
When you understand your target audience on a deeper level, then your chances of success are higher. Your solutions and how you present it, not only solve an issue but also help your target audience realize that they have a problem. The advantages of design-driving thinking are vast.
- Increased collaboration breaks down silos, rallies teams around goals, and improves overall communications.
- The process of design thinking supports agile business decisions. You move quickly through the testing phase to make improvements.
- Involving your team during brainstorming sessions improves morale and delivers a sense of purpose.
5 Steps of a design-driven process
Regardless of where you implement design thinking in your business, you’ll take the same five steps for a human-centric approach. Adobe data shows, “Design-led firms consciously put the customer first, with 46% of design leaders citing an emotional bond with customers as a defining characteristic of an advanced design practice.”
- Empathize. Consider your end-user by putting yourself in their shoes. Immerse yourself in their life, their behavior, and needs. Observe and interact with your target users. Perform UX research by collecting data from your interactions and observations.
- Define. Take a look at your findings. Analyze the various information and interpret the data. If your interactions found specific fears and pain points, then dig deeper into where it stems from and how each aspect affects your user’s every action.
- Ideate. This is where creativity comes into play. With a strong understanding of your user, start a brainstorming session. You could do this during a meeting or with brain mapping tools. The idea is to accept all thoughts at this point and let the creativity flow.
- Prototype. Turn your ideas into solutions. At this stage, your marketing team creates the email sequence, or your HR department devises a plan for explaining benefit package changes.
- Test. Send your prototype out to your users. This is where A/B testing comes in. You’ll send one prototype out to a specific group and second one out to another group. Then, gather feedback, analyze that information, and tweak your product or service. Then test again.
Develop a strategy using design thinking
If you haven’t incorporated design thinking into your business, then what’s stopping you? Design thinking is a solid business strategy that benefits all aspects of business ownership, including customer satisfaction, product development, and employee retention.
Business owners often start with website UX then develop ways to incorporate design thinking across all departments. After all, a design-driven company never stops the cycle of innovation. Every project starts with the end-user, then follows a method of analyzing, brainstorming, and testing. Human behavior changes as new waves of technology hit, so it’s essential to improve your process at all times.