Design Thinking Or Human-Centered Design? Or Both How To Understand The Benefits Of The Approaches

What is design thinking?

You have probably heard of the phrase design is too important to be left to designers. Design thinking is the tool that enables teams to design solution for impact.

As the New Year 2019 begins to unfold; we are kicking off by analyzing human centered designs and more precisely “Design Thinking”. A tool which has revolutionized and continues to shape the world of innovation and creativity.  The very important thing to know about design thinking is: it is customer centric approach. It aims at looking at the business from the outside in (the business’ point of view), it works the other way around.

Being a Human-centered design it is a creative approach to problem solving and was popularized by It is a process that is centered on and starts with the people, each new solution is tailor made to suit the needs of the end user, and abhors assumption but believes in people based insights is solution making.

Human-centered design is all about building a deep empathy with the people the solution is being designed for. According to the founder of IDEO, David Kelley he defined Design Thinking as: A human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success. Complex problems demand complex solutions

As the African economies strives to take advantage of the information and knowledge based economy, many organizations face more complex problems as a result of increasingly complex business models. The current evolution of today’s market offers a lot of advantages but along with unique opportunities come unique challenges.

These challenges are not as common as the ones companies faced and, therefore, demand more complex, multidimensional solutions.

To keep your company relevant demands innovation and disruption.

The ability to be relevant and meet the customers’ needs is a key factor which is responsible for driving growth and achieving higher profit. In today’s world your company is no longer dealing with basic application issues for their current products and services. Companies are facing multi-faceted issues that demand a special type of solution.

This where design thinking comes into the picture: by offering businesses with a simple framework, design thinking allows businesses not only to tackle everyday challenges but also gain a competitive edge.

In its simplest applications, design thinking is a process of creating and testing innovative ideas to improve a product/service or solve existing problems.

Design thinking provides your company with a “generic” framework applicable to all areas of expertise of your company and on the market. It is not limited to technology or product development: it is useful and effective in service based companies as well as manufacturing industries.

The design thinking processes is capable of yielding varied outcomes: new and improved products or services focused on your customer needs and experience; while at the same time improving your firm’s management techniques and processes and in the long run boosting your company’s internal productivity.

Being that it is not constrained to one area or another, design thinking is an assured way of transforming all your company’s teams, from sales and finance to marketing and operations, turning them into profit centers.

In a nutshell Design thinking takes your company a notch higher by offering a protocol for solving existing problems and uncovering new opportunities. When used effectively, design thinking is capable of creating a steady foundation for skyrocketing business.

Therefore design thinking and human-centered design are actually one and the same thing. Both have their benefits for your innovation process! So why not combine them and get the better of two worlds for your work? Let us proceed to look at look at the two approaches more keenly.

The basic idea of design thinking is that it is an interdisciplinary approach for teams to co-create and collaborate on building outstanding innovations and solutions. It is a solution-focused method which focuses less on the detailed elaboration of ideas, but rather on the extensive experimentation and drawing up of big ideas.

For the human-centered design approach the ultimate goal is to drive a customer focus deep within a business. This includes a culture open for sharing knowledge and collaboration between all departments within and outside the company. As a result, you get a product that resonates with the user and exceeds his needs.

The common ground-Understanding the Process

First of all, both Design thinking and human-centered design approaches demand an involvement of user and stakeholders in all stages of development process – from analysis to evaluation. This approach is based on an iterative procedure. The design thinking process covers four phases that are repeated until the optimal result is achieved: (1) specify context of use, (2) specify requirements, (3) ideate product design solutions and (4) evaluate designs. The human-centered design, on the contrary, follows six iterative phases: (1) understand, (2) observe, (3) define point of view, (4) ideate, (5) prototype and (6) test.

And even though the number of phases differs, the actions of the phases overlap with each other. The initial situation plays an important role in both processes, and each one includes the analysis of the problem, the features of the users and the analysis of usage environment. Additionally, the approaches work with prototypes which are developed and pretested to capture the needs of the user.

Conclusion: To Improve innovation process combine design thinking and human-centered design

We can now state clearly that both design thinking and human centered design are very similar. They both are mutually exclusive to one another- they complement each other. More specifically, extraordinary results demand extraordinary thinking, that is why design thinking is such an important methodology for a business that seeks to grow exponentially; indeed if the big boys like Apple, IDEO, Google and other renowned brands are using it; it is worth embracing it. In case you are interested in having design thinking don’t hesitate to reach out.