The value of design thinking and why you need to use it

The value of design thinking and why you need to use it

While the value of digital transformation to improve internal operations and customer experience is well recognised, many organisations are still reluctant to embark on such a process in fear of spending months devising a transformation strategy that will fall short of its potential. 

Atomic has helped numerous organisations through the digital transformation process and in our experience, one of the most common reasons a business runs into difficulties is due to a flawed design strategy.

That’s why we put design thinking at the heart of any digital transformation strategy. 

So what is design thinking?

Design thinking is a model of decision-making that puts the customer at the heart of digital transformation efforts in order to improve the customer experience. Within the context of digital transformation, design thinking emphasises how technology can be used to benefit the end user.

The five core stages of design thinking:

#1 Empathise

Digital transformation should start and end with the customer’s experience in mind.

To empathise with the target audience, research is needed to determine how they use the product and why. Gathering usage data, mapping out customer journeys and gathering feedback will help determine what’s important to customers and where the customer experience needs to be improved.

#2 Define

Having gained a full understanding of the customer’s needs and priorities, it is time to identify and define the pain points that need to be solved. For example, if customers are expressing dissatisfaction with your customer support process, developing a targeted goal to improve response times would be an ideal goal to implement.

At this stage, specific goals should be defined based on qualitative and quantitative metrics. A measurable goal will make it easier to measure success against throughout the transformation process.

#3 Ideate

Having identified the specific problems, ideas can then be generated that will best solve them. This can be a collaboration between all key stakeholders and departments to help pool ideas from different perspectives. It’s important to come up with a few solid potential solutions, and not dive into the first idea that arises. It’s also important to consider any existing technologies or solutions that can be evolved or re-purposed to solve these problems. There are many ways to open up the creative side of the brain, we use multiple methods to allow team work to expand creativity and think “outside of the box”.

#4 Prototype

Developing a low fidelity prototype is an opportunity to test the new ideas on a small segment of users. Real customer feedback will inform where the prototype works and where it needs improvement – allowing iterations to be made quickly and at little expense. The prototype stage is invaluable for preparing the product for dealing with live users.

#5 Test

At this stage, a more sophisticated understanding of the customer’s pain points will be determined, based on how valuable the prototype is to them. Using data on their usage as well as feedback to understand what works and what doesn’t.

Testing the end product allows you to make constant improvements and better solutions. It is important to understand that whilst this appears to be a linear process, multiple stages can be run and re-run throughout the journey as further feedback and insight inform a deeper understanding of the users’ needs. 

Rob Hallam

Rob Hallam

Client Services Director


31 July, 2021

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