Customer Focus: How To Apply Design Thinking To Better Your Product or Service

Design thinking is a strategic approach to solving problems that draws solutions from combining a range of approaches ranging from design, engineering, arts and social science with the business world solutions. Its aim is to narrow down the scope of requirements of any project and realize

 While used by top companies as the secret weapon to remain competitive, design thinking is not a one stop shop success management tip. It is a way of thinking, communicating and conducting business.

The Design Thinking Process Involves:

1. Empathy: Getting to know how your users interact with your product/service.


2. Defining: Asking hypothetical questions to understand more about user interaction with your product/service.

3. Exploration or Idea Phase: sifting through all sorts of ideas to come up with the best ones to befit your customers.

4. Build Prototype: bring your idea into reality and see how well it fits your customer environment.

5.Test: Put the prototype in front of user’s and allow them to freely interact with it so that they can interact with your idea.


Design Thinking In Action

  1. Empathy: Know Your Customers
  • Put Yourself in Your Customers Shoes: the way to discover user needs is to see how customers use your product in their natural setting. Better yet, test the product yourself and record your findings.
  • Use a User Map: A user map outlines what a customer achieves before, during and after interacting with your product or service. From this you can be able to come up with a customer centric product.
  • User interviews: this are the cheapest to do. All you need is to ask lots of questions and record everything said in regards to your products and services.


  1. Exploration of Ideas

 Defining your product or service is all about exploring different angles of your product. This means involving your marketing, sales, product development departments in coming up product or service ideas. Looking at your product/service competitors and non-competitors can help you with more ideas. Be sure to Maintain and facilitate open communication within the team:

  • Holding discussions in spacious room where everyone is comfortable
  • Ensuring full participation of everyone
  • Limit time for idea discussion and idea sketching to 10min max
  • Once the every group has presented its idea, it is time to critique each and every idea.
  • Through convergent thinking pick and blend the best ideas together


  1. Creating a Prototype

Now it’s time to make a prototype of the product/ service you’ve settled on. The prototype doesn’t have to be perfect. As you begin to make the product prototype, you realize a number of challenges related to your new product/service idea. Record and use this information to decide push or shove your idea. Note the different Types of Prototypes available at your disposal.

  1. Testing the Product

You’re finally ready for a rollout. Assuming that you have consistently been engaging your audience throughout the Design thinking process, focus on maintaining that relationship. Let your users use the product anyhow and see the findings.


In Conclusion

Making the customer experience simpler, removing the challenge points in the customer journey  and maintaining focus on the product/service end user, are some advantages that come with applying design thinking in an organization setting. More companies have realized this and are making huge profit margins from it.

Emmanuel Asena

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