On Design Thinking

We believe design thinking can help companies truly innovate.

At kohactive, we have long placed a heavy emphasis on design thinking to build the products for the many brands and companies that place their trust in us. For those unfamiliar, what we mean by design thinking is utilizing strategies that take actual user data (problems, feedback, reviews, etc.) into account early in the product production process. There are many variants of design thinking, but ours can be summed up by:

  • Empathize - Conducting research to develop a true understanding of the users
  • Define - Using the research to observe where problems exist and beginning to identify opportunities for innovation.
  • Ideate - Brainstorming a wide range of innovative ideas to address user problems.
  • Prototype - Building real representations for a subset of the ideas and beginning to weigh the impact vs. feasibility of the ideas through feedback.
  • Test - Returning to the users for feedback and verifying that the goals have been achieved.

Whether it’s a research sprint or a design sprint, we also use these core principles when developing products. We believe that placing users at the forefront of the design process accomplishes many things, namely:

  • Reduces inefficiencies
  • Speeds up project execution
  • Reduces overall overhead
  • Refines product strategy to solve the most pressing of problems

For these reasons, and more, we ask that our partners set aside time and budget to obtain valuable information to inform decisions that are to come further down the project roadmap. Sometimes we are successful getting them to budget for it, other times we are not. The numbers that back design thinking rarely lie, however.

Forrester Consulting, one of the world’s most influential research and advisory firms, was recently commissioned by IBM, a global technology giant, to study the Total Economic Impact of IBM’s Design Thinking Practice. Forrester was able to conclude with a plethora of quantified benefits:

  • Project teams doubled design and execution speed.
  • Organizations slashed time required for initial design and team alignment by 75%, equating to cost savings of 223K to 1.1M per project.
  • Design Thinking helped project cut the number design defects in half on average.
  • Projects got to market much faster, resulting increased profits.

There are more to list, but one should take a look at the study linked above to truly grasp the magnitude of design thinking on IBM’s overall production and processes. The data is relative, of course, given IBM’s global reach and market share. It is easily conceivable, however, that the benefits of design thinking can apply to businesses of all sizes, if the goals and metrics are appropriately set.

One of my favorite benefits that was gleaned from the study was that it “encouraged an empowered, engaged, and happy workforce.” That sort of immeasurable value permeates all parts of a project with kohactive. With an empowered client (you!!), and a driven, engaged partner (us!), projects are set up with success in mind, and given the best chance to achieve that success. In the end, isn’t success the goal?

Design thinking allows us to focus on solving problems for users. We help organizations understand how to use design thinking to interview users, conduct usability testing, and build products that solve real-world problems.

If you have any questions about koahctive or design thinking, feel free to reach out.