When it comes to growing your business and standing out, a design thinking workshop may just do it! Read further on all the details to know.
Design is integral to business. Sitting down to consider how your products and services should function is what helps you set yourself apart from the competition. By iterating and reiterating existing information, you can design your way into offering something unique.
But design thinking is something very different, albeit related. And a design thinking workshop can help your business in nearly every conceivable way.
What is Design Thinking?
Most design processes begin via problem solving. Individual questions are approached and answered, moving on from point to point. But this process rarely creates room for new problems to present themselves via consumer-based testing. Design thinking involves bringing the target audience into the picture, and integrating them into the design process in order to analyze their behavior with the product or service, and identify new problems, or pain points, to address in the design.
The idea isn’t just to work off of consumer feedback. Most consumers do not fully realize what their complaints might be or don’t know how to adequately verbalize them. Design thinking involves directly analyzing their response and behavior to each iteration and making adjustments along the way. It’s a more organic approach to design, one that prioritizes heavy iteration and constant testing.
Integrating Design Thinking Into Your Business
A design thinking workshop can help you begin creating systems at work to better integrate consumer experiences into your design process, rather than working off of surveys, polls, focus groups, or internal suggestions and tests.
There’s something to be said for how bringing the target audience in changes the way you approach design, versus simply testing the design in-house over and over again. You need to find ways to approach your product not just from the perspective of a designer or engineer, but primarily – above all else – from the perspective of a user.
There are five distinct stages to design thinking. These are:
- Empathize – Begin by observing how your target audience interacts with the product or service. Get testers who will likely be using your product on a daily or near-daily basis get hands-on with what you have created, and carefully analyze what they do – without your intervention – and how they naturally navigate and intuit around your creation.
- Define – Gather your observations to try and understand where you might find ways to improve upon the design. This might be as simple as realizing that consumers tend to interact with your product in unintended ways that could become a feature of its own or realizing that it isn’t obvious enough how certain features work. Consider what difficulties people are brushing up against the most.
- Ideate – Brainstorm how you can unobtrusively fix these problems, without creating new ones.
- Prototype – Begin developing your solutions, making the changes you need to in order to create a new stable release that feels one, two, or three steps closer to what you want.
- Test – By far the most important stage, this is where you effectively loop back into the beginning of the first stage and see whether the changes you’ve made adequately address the pain points you’ve identified or reveal new ones.
This isn’t just about addressing a single problem – it’s about understanding the complex and interconnected series of questions and issues you need to work through during the design process, and addressing them all together with each iteration, like chipping away at a block of wood to slowly reveal the masterpiece within.
Design thinking can help with more than just product design. It’s an effective way to create and improve a user shopping experience, it’s a productive way to innovate in the design of an app, and it can even be used to change the way you work on a fundamental level by changing your workspace.
Why Environments Can Foster (or Diminish) Creativity and Innovation
Central to iterating in the workspace is identifying controllable factors that you can change. Certain factors cannot be controlled, or require great effort – things like the space you’re given, where your windows are facing, or your specific address and location.
What you can control includes how and where to separate your floor space, how to design common areas and “focus rooms,” making the most out of a meeting space, prioritizing diversity, taking better advantage of natural light, introducing more plants and greenery, your choice of color and art, workspace policies, and much more.
By manipulating these factors, you can implement design thinking in the creation of your ideal workspace, and greatly improve the productivity and satisfaction of your colleagues and coworkers.
Leveraging the Benefits of Design Thinking While Remote
Any business can put design thinking to work. By iterating and reiterating on a software, webpage, or product of any kind, a company can – even remotely – make small individual changes or sweeping overhauls to address unforeseen pain points and get closer to the ideal product before launch.
This iterative thinking process as applied to workspaces can also be beneficial to remote teams looking for ways to improve their productivity and creativity. Workspaces that are built and improved upon organically to fix issues as they arise, and improve features as they are introduced, can help drastically change the way you work, and help promote greater creativity and innovation in your team.
Remote businesses can still take advantage of the results of effective design thinking by encouraging that their key creative personnel work through local coworking spaces. Coworking spaces market themselves on location, design, and amenities, attracting talent by reiterating how they’ve arranged their floor with the space available to them to provide greater value to their tenants.
Bright spaces, filled with natural light and plenty of nature can help improve productivity. Striking a balance between isolated spaces for silent, focused work, and collaborative spaces for professionals to meet and blend ideas. Incorporating art and architecture that inspires while making practical use of space, remaining efficient, comfortable, and safe.
Finding the right workspace, whether remote or by reiterating the configuration of your own office plan, can also be improved by integrating design thinking.
Take polls and analyze worker behavior. Under what conditions do your coworkers do their best work, and how can you sustainably promote those conditions? How can you best balance their health, life, and productivity, to help them and you achieve the best outcomes? How do the little changes you’ve made – from designating meeting rooms to creating a common area, changing out furniture, using different colors, or reorganizing workspaces to take advantage of more natural light – affect work performance and overall coworker satisfaction?
Pick a coworking space that innovates and improves through the same process and understands how design thinking can help them create a space that better caters to its tenants.