May 19

Design Thinking — Breakthrough Products Through Collaboration Between Tech, Design & Business

Design thinking — what is that? Contrary to thinking about design as a noun, Design Thinking is very much a verb; a process that allows you to find novel solutions to clearly defined problems. Fast Company summarizes the steps as (1) Define the Problem — targeting and framing the right problem to solve, (2) Consider Options — explore all solutions, no matter how wild, (3) Refine Options and Repeat (if necessary). Once product ideas have been developed, it’s time to test them with your customer by way of prototypes, minimum viable products or other lean feedback tools.

How using Design Thinking will fix Design Thinking. Embarking on a Design Thinking project may be difficult to sell to participants in other departments. Oftentimes, people will question its value and disconnection from technical feasibility and market reality. Bert Brautigam is optimistic that Design Thinking can be of great value , as long as it’s applied and measured correctly. That’s where the Product Manager steps in. They are needed to collaborate closely with the design, tech and business lead and develop a deep understanding of each discipline’s priorities. Furthermore, a Product Manager can use data to demonstrate the impact solutions have, using experiments and quantitative feedback.

How I introduced design thinking at my company. Once you get buy-in for a Design Thinking session, it’s time to structure an experience that promotes creative ideas, collaboration and willingness to question assumptions. Aizat Murtaza pitched the session in her company as a ‘Product Improv’ to make it “feel like a light, casual and informal workshop”. The team settled on a specific problem to solve — a health insurance comparison feature on their website — and set to work. At the beginning, she found it useful to play a video of famed design consultancy IDEO working through the design process for inspiration. Individuals from different departments then worked together to define, solve and iterate on experiments.

BonusUse Design Thinking for a better life.

Paul McAvinchey

About the author

For over 20 years, Paul has been building and collaborating on digital products with fast-growing startups and global brands, including AOL and WMS Gaming. Currently, he's a co-founder of Product Collective, a worldwide community of product people. Members collaborate on in the exclusive Member Hub, meet at INDUSTRY: The Product Conference, listen to, learn at Product Interviews and get a weekly newsletters that includes best practices in product management. In recent years he led business development at DXY, a leading product design firm in the Midwest, and product innovation at MedCity Media, a publishing startup acquired by Breaking Media in 2015.


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