For long, design has been misunderstood as something to do with how objects look from the outside. It had to do with the outer appearance, the look and feel of a product. The fog from this misconception has been steadily lifting with design thinking becoming an integral part of productions. Steve Jobs, one of the first in the world to have understood the core concept of design and implement them to come up with revolutionary products, understood design as:
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works” – Steve Jobs
What is design thinking?
Design today essentially deals with providing solutions to various problems that come into the process of pushing a product to completion. It is a solution-based approach that identifies complex and sometimes hidden problems, understand hindrances faced in user experience and coming up with innovative solution for them. Design has upgraded from being a subsidiary to the process, to being an essential strategic need to be efficient and complacent with the demands of the market.
Design thinking encompasses three fundamental ideals in its core:
Inspiration– Inspiration is nothing but identifying a problem or a loophole that needs to be fixed. Viewing the world around differently, observing keenly and figuring out problems that others haven’t seen yet is an essential part of finding inspiration in the world around us.
Ideation- While inspiration can be the food for thought, developing it into an idea that can be executed makes a lot of the difference. Ideation is hence the second most important aspect of design thinking, the process of using abstract inspirations into concrete ideas.
Implementation-This is the last and the most important aspect of design thinking, executing ideas into products or services that are innovative and unique. Implementation is also one of the biggest challenges to design thinking. Many astounding ideas that could change the world order are never realised because the challenges in implementation could not be overcome.
The link with entrepreneurship:
Design thinking and entrepreneurship overlap in their most fundamental principle itself- identifying and solving problems of the society. In such a scenario, both disciplines have a lot to learn from each other as well as collaborate to bring out valuable insights. But more importantly, entrepreneurs could gain a lot by inculcating design thinking in their own functioning. Empathising with the customers, stepping into their shoes to understand their needs and spending capabilities, defining the problem an entrepreneur is attempting to solve, forming ideas on the same, prototyping using different products,and testing the prototypes to come out with the best product are important steps that entrepreneurs can inculcate in their process as well.
However, more than a process, design thinking is a mindset. As easy as it is to believe that following these steps, one can achieve innovation, design thinking goes well beyond that. It is a school of thought based on critical thought, diverse perspectives and problem-solving.
Design thinking is not a trend in business that will fade with time. It is rather an epoch moment in the history of business where the primary focus is shifting from profit to product. While not a complete and flawless concept in itself that will be a solution to all existing problems, design thinking will surely bring about positive changes and new vigour to the industry.