Busting Design Thinking Myths

Hello dear readers!

As we wrap up our second week of the Innovators Program, our participants are entrenched in the world of design thinking. For those new to the concept, design thinking is defined as: 

A methodology used by designers to solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions for clients. A design mindset is not problem-focused, it’s solution focused and action oriented towards creating a preferred future.

A lot of people hear “design thinking” and run for the hills. They cry:

“I’m not a designer!”  |   “This stuff doesn’t apply to me or my industry!”  |  “My brain isn’t wired that way!” |  “Shouldn’t it be ‘business’ thinking?!”

I hear ya! It’s a foreign concept to many to approach business problems and industry pain points from a “design” standpoint, but let’s address these one by one.

“I’m not a designer!”

NBD! You don’t have to be a professional designer to implement design thinking – all that means is that you’re approaching the problem the way designers do, starting from the bottom up and developing creative solutions to ideate and test for the best possible outcome. 

 “This stuff doesn’t apply to me or my industry!”

Uh, yes it does. Do you want to have innovative solutions to your industry-specific problems? Approaching them from a design thinking mindset takes you outside of your norms and develops new, different, and innovative ideas that are novel to a situation. In the same way that no two companies are exactly alike, businesses can’t operate on the same principles and expect to differentiate themselves from the competition.

“My brain isn’t wired that way!”

Yes, design thinking requires fast pivots and moves quickly from idea to idea. It can feel defeating after a few iterations of imperfect solutions, but that just means you are one step closer to an truly innovation idea. Entrenched businesses are resistant to risk and change, but by exploring many different avenues and solutions, you can lead innovation in your industry. Same way no two businesses are alike, you can’t expect to do the same thing the same way your competitors are and offer a unique solution to your customers.

 “Shouldn’t it be ‘business’ thinking?!”

Design thinking is fundamentally different from other ways of meeting challenges in that it is human-centered. This human-centered nature means that you should try to understand how the product will effect a range of people, but Of COURSE always have your best business practices in mind. It is not an abandonment of good business standards and ignoring data, analysis, and rationality. It was created to foster innovation and keep your businesses moving forward.

No excuses! Go forth and innovate!

Cheers, Magdalyn