“Design thinking” has been a fairly popular buzzword for the attendees of SXSW this year. Design thinking aims to create a process creative thinkers can use to foster innovative ideas. Marketers, entrepreneurs as well as people in many other fields can use this process to solve problems and craft experiences with innovative thinking. Today, we’re going to look at where innovative ideas come from and how understanding problems leads to big ideas.
Discovering Innovative Ideas
Innovation has more to do with adding new value than dreaming up an entirely new concept. Many ideas are abandoned in the infancy stage because we don’t feel they are “new” enough. You must find the pain points and then the solution that will make lives better.
There are three important qualifiers that innovative ideas usually intersect at. These are: things people desire, things that are feasible and things that are viable or sustainable. At the crossroads of these is where you will find your next big idea.
Principles Give Rise to Process
Now that we understand the idea behind being innovative, we need to define our guiding principles of design. Many people understand that design is not just how it looks, it’s also how something functions. The next level though, is using design to solve problems. Here are three important design principles to keep in mind.
- Design comes from an observed human need. To understand it we have to use cognitive and emotional empathy.
- Great design is iterative. You must develop many solutions before you find the best one. It leverages continuous learning and never truly ends.
- Design comes from a desire to create real outcomes.
Design Thinking Must Be Structured
People cannot have innovative ideas staring at a blank wall with a bunch of people sitting in a room. It just isn’t productive or efficient. Here’s the process:
- Initial insight —> discovery phase —> synthesize —> reframed opportunity
- Reframed opportunity —> generate ideas —> refine —> new solution
- Evaluate and iterate – do it again and again!
This is the overall process for design thinking. However, it does require deep thinking and extensive research to identify how people actually think and feel about any particular problem. This is why creative thinkers and entrepreneurs are always observing the people and world around them to even start to uncover the next innovative idea they’re looking for.