The Design Thinking (DT) approach has been described as the capacity of designers and professionals to face complex problems, reframing them through the identification of emerging themes: it’s an approach that looks at value and change from the people’s perspective and from the perspective of what is meaningful to people. In order to better understand the main features of such a "reframing process" very recently an investigation has been conducted by POLIMI on how DT could support enterprises. The main question is: “Design Thinking for Business: What Kind of Design Thinking Is Right for You?”

DT is a fundamental tool for enterprises which want to develop products and services to be more competitive. The research shows that there is not a single approach to adapt to all problems emerging by innovation processes, but that it is possible to recognize four main models.

The most adopted one is the Creative Problem Solving (chosen by 81% of the companies analyzed). It’s a traditional approach used by innovating companies which aims at understanding the users’ needs and imagining the highest range of possible solutions to respond to their needs, and then narrowing the field until the final solution (the double diamond is a visual representation of it).

The second most adopted model (49%) is Sprint Execution, a technology driven approach aiming at creating a product ready to be launched on the market and in line with users' needs. It is mainly used by digital agencies (100%), while it is taken into much less consideration by strategic consultants (46%), technology developers (45%) and designers (35%).
 
The third one is Creative Confidence, a model that differs from the first two because it focuses on engaging people to create an organizational culture mentality suitable to face with confidence the processes of innovation. This approach is mainly adopted by start-ups.
 
Finally, the Innovation of Meaning is the approach that aims at redefining the company’s vision, messages and values linked to the products and services they offer. This model is adopted by 34% of the sample.
 
4 paths have been identified and will be discussed with DESALPS partners: they could be a starting point both to assess SMEs for an effective well-tailored assistance and to transfer knowledge to the operators in charge to assist them. The DESALPS project is going to develop both instruments to increase SMEs competitiveness in Alpine Space area.
 

Reference: Observatory Design thinking for business – which kind of design thinking is right for you? – Politecnico Milano 2018