Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Will Design Thinking Deliver to the Consumer?

A new mantra among the corporations of the world is emerging for the teen years of the 21st century - Design Thinking.  Just like the concept of Innovation rose in the early 2000s, Design Thinking as an idea is finally on the rise.

The leaders in this space have existed for a while, couple of examples being IDEO and Procter & Gamble (with its Innovation Centers).  The level of understanding, misunderstanding or not understanding this space are clear from the Business Week article "Inside the Design Thinking Process", here.  The author, Helen Walters, discusses the Aspen Design Summit where multiple design driven sessions were conducted to solve hard problems.

I give credit to Ms. Walters on stating about the Design Thinking process as implemented at the Aspen Design Summit, "... the strongest takeaway was that those looking for a prescribed way to implement design thinking are destined to be disappointed. It's a messy, opaque process that depends as much on group dynamics as intellect or insight."

Preparation of such sessions requires experience and insights into human behavior.  Someone I personally know to be exceptionally talented at this is the Marketing Consulting Services of Copenhagen, see information here.

Yet, the one reason I suggest giving this article serious consideration is because the author highlights the key to the success of all Design Thinking processes, having the end user or consumer of the product or service engaged, which apparently was missing from all the sessions conducted at the Aspen Design Summit.  The author termed the results being developed out of the sessions to "seem like entirely inappropriate bunk" for the end user or consumer.

Perhaps all this is becoming news due to Roger Martin causing an uproar with his open challenge to the research driven, heavily analytical product and service development organizations and management consultancies, see my blog "Roger Martin - On Designing the Future", here.

I believe that exciting times are ahead as the left and right brained individuals realize that to truly deliver a breakthrough to their consumer, they must work collaboratively, break down the silo and unburden themselves from the past to really "create".

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