Einstein was certainly right — we cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. In addition, with the rapid changes in society, the methods we have previously used to solve many of the problems we face are no longer effective. We need to develop new ways of thinking in order to design better solutions, services and experiences that solve our current problems.
The problems designers, business owners, and engineers face today are in a whole new level of scale compared to the challenges we have faced in the past few decades. In a largely globalized world, where the changes in economic and natural resources can be felt halfway around the globe, our challenges are becoming more intertwined with the systems that connect us all. To solve the new wave of problems we face today and in the future, we need a new kind of thinking, a new approach towards innovation. Design Thinking is a large part of that new approach towards innovation, as it allows people, teams, and organizations to have a human-centered perspective, and yet a scientific approach, towards solving a problem.
Which Problems Can Design Thinking Help us Solve?
One of the first questions people ask when hearing about Design Thinking is, "What is Design Thinking best used for?" Design Thinking is suited to addressing a wide range of challenges and is best used for bringing about innovation within the following contexts.
• Redefining value
• Human-centered innovation
• Quality of life
• Problems affecting diverse groups of people
• Involves multiple systems
• Shifting markets and behaviors
• Coping with rapid social or market changes
• Issues relating to corporate culture
• Issues relating to new technology
• Re-inventing business models
• Addressing rapid changes in society
• Complex unsolved societal challenges
• Scenarios involving multidisciplinary teams
• Entrepreneurial initiatives
• Educational advances
• Medical breakthroughs
• Inspiration is needed
• Problems that data cannot solve
Design thinking is a powerful approach to new product development that begins with understanding unmet customer needs. It’s a human-centered design process that approaches problem-solving with understanding the user needs. Design thinking encompasses concept development, applied creativity, prototyping, and experimentation. When design thinking approaches are applied to business, the success rate for innovation has been seen to improve substantially.