Where do the ideas for innovation for your company come from? Do they appear as an instruction from a corner office? Or are they a result of brainstorming of teams, mostly decision-makers? If however, they are generated by the on-ground team that understands the customer needs, they are most likely to be innovative, smart and market focused. Marketing such a product will be much easier, making changes to this design will be much faster and finally, making a successful innovation with this thinking will be a cakewalk.
The biggest challenge, which is also its biggest advantage is that product planning based on market-ready designs is very much more effective than a theoretical this-should-work approach. Design thinking is mostly driven by teams that have experience and understood the ground realities of product usage. It is people who have their finger on the pulse of the market, who understand the utility and the user. Their inputs are often contrary to traditional or hierarchal wisdom, but isn’t that how innovation takes place?
If design thoughts followed the beaten path, they would never create something unique. They would never be agile enough, or responsive enough to the dynamic market needs. Ideators who cannot imagine a button out of place in traditional design are never the ones who make great products. It’s the ones who can visualize the product WITHOUT that button, and better, they are the design thinking innovators. Their thought process doesn’t follow rigid practices, they are free-thinking, making adjustments, thinking out of the box to create something better than before.
With new tools that allow much more freedom in thinking design, this ability will get a fillip like never before. As design technologies allow greater flexibility, freedom and new ways of representing form and style, innovation is certain. These tools have room for each and every unconventional thought- it can be worked out, looked at, and thrashed to details- till it becomes an innovative gem- or gets trashed. But the process does happen, unlike earlier when anything new was suspect. Design thinking will aim to create user-friendly, intuitive and even intelligent products that will make using them a pleasure. This allows looking at problems through different perceptions, in different contexts. Some tricky issues need tacky ideas to resolve. It gives an opportunity to straight, simple solutions for apparently unsolvable problems. And sometimes, when design thinkers are working on solving a challenge, it might be a change solution that can trigger even more innovation! Who knows where that can take us!
Finally, design thinking will drive innovative products only when the process of customer feedback and personalization – even for a group- leads the thinking. It will be the attitude, not the tool, after a while. An open mind with a million ideas on how to design differently is far more valuable than a technology expert who cannot think beyond the confines of his code!