Why Design Thinking works

As today’s organizations try to develop new and inventive ways to modernize their organizational goals, most often they come across barriers that are complicated to navigate. The question is, why? One theory purposes personnel biases get in the way, while other theories suggest old archaic mindsets conflict with future thinking. Researchers often tell us how Design Thinking can collapse these barriers and provide a different outlook to ancient mindsets.

A Darden professor (click here) details three deliverables for innovation. The first is establishing superior solutions. Organizations often hit a snag when individuals present the same problem/solutions to a tiring conflict. The goal of leadership is to diversify the thought processes of the organization by allowing free thinkers to challenge the old way of doing things: creating new ideas and fruitful conversations. Outside research is also a must for innovation. Understanding what customers want and need also drives the organization’s strategic vision.

The second deliverable is acknowledging risk vs. reward trade-offs. To be innovative, organizations must accept risks (or failures) in a constantly changing world. Threats also come at a cost. The risks need to be understood and accepted by all who will trade for positive results. Options are a must-have to move forward with innovation. Executive teams must manage expectations and provide suitable options within every communication phase to ensure desired outcomes are met.

Last, innovation requires total buy-in from employees. Employees who are orchestrators of fresh ideas should be allowed to think beyond local guidelines. With today’s technology and support from organizational leaders, employees advance innovation through Design Thinking. Design Thinking goes beyond the status quo. It builds collaboration within the organization, builds cultural engagements between various sections of the organization, and allows unrestricted communication from a bottom-up approach.

The question remains: does Design Thinking work for your organization? If so, how does your organization navigate thru the obstacles and challenges it faces? Please share your thoughts!

Originally published AETC

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