What can we learn from designers?
In a fast-paced period of change in organizations, and the need to question existing principles and practices, new ways and approaches are required. Processes have to be designed differently in order to keep up with change. Design thinking provides an answer to this question. Design thinking transfers the processes, methods, and mental settings of designers to problems in a design-alien context. This is exactly where we can learn from designers: How do designers deal with the uncertainty which arises when the path is not clear? How do they manage to bundle the excess of information in order to focus on the relevant? How do they know if they are on the right path?
In order to understand complex facts, designers look at these from different angles. A change in the perspective to the perspective of the customer and user helps to understand connections. In the words of Marcel Proust: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." In a design process, this way of thinking is a central point and basic prerequisite for making new discoveries or improving the existing through a new combination of existing opportunities. This creates innovation.
The knowledge gained from design processes is utilized by design thinking by looking at complex questions through the eyes of a designer in order to find sustainable solutions for them. For this purpose, the design thinking process usually starts with the phase of understanding and observation. As much knowledge as possible is collected on the subject, as well as the needs and wishes of the people affected. This is why design thinking is often referred to as "Human Centered Design". Subsequently, the insights gained are condensed into a synthesis that directs the spotlight to one spot and thus prepares it for an idea generation. Based on this, new ideas and concepts are developed. To test and illustrate the developed ideas, simple prototypes are produced and tested on the targeted group. Based on the feedback the ideas are improved further until an optimal user-oriented product is created.
Design thinking is more than just an innovation method. The design culture forms the foundation for the design thinking process and thus forms the character. Characteristics are the joy to experiment and discover. Mistakes are seen as the knowledge of tomorrow, so they are often produced early to generate a learning process. In addition, culture is characterized by an optimistic attitude. Focused on a positive change, where obstacles are seen as challenges and opportunities.
Furthermore, designers have realized that the changes in today's markets are too complex to be mastered by a lonely inventor. For this reason, they work together in teams. These teams are mostly interdisciplinary, so different perspectives and angles are represented, which leads to a greater ability to solve complex problems.
Thus, design thinking can be seen as a way of thinking and a philosophy which can change the corporate culture in the long term and therefore make it fit for the future. Not only designers are able to do that, even non-designers have the skills to do it. It is dependent on a design-oriented thinking, that is, curiosity and empathy. And that`s what all of us can (learn).