2.2 Design Methods, Design Thinking and Strategic Design Management
2.2.5 Design Thinking
Design thinking as a problem-solving approach had made a significant contribution in business, management, product design and practice (Liedtka, 2015). Design thinking is a well- established iterative design process that offers an approach to innovation and problem-solving (Micheli et al., 2019). Design thinking is a consistent, coherent, distinctive and management practice. It first appeared in the book title ‘ esign Thinking’ by eter owe in 1 8 . Initially, it had a limited application to architecture, but later applied in business practices by innovation consulting firm IDEO.
Further, design thinking expanded to the design of services, strategies, education and other social systems by Tim Brown. According to Tim Brown, design thinking is defined as
“bringing designers’ principles, methods, tools and approaches to problem-solving.” Thomas Lockwood, a design practitioner in business, defined design thinking as “a human-centred innovation process that emphasizes observation, collaboration, fast learning, visualization of ideas, rapid concept prototyping, and concurrent business analysis.” onsulting firms like IDEO and Continuum, academics like the Stanford Design School, The Rotman School, The Darden school described the process and tools of design thinking practice (Liedtka, 2015).
Liedtka (2015) mentioned that the most common design thinking tools are viz. visualization, ethnography, mind-mapping, prototyping, co-creation and field experiments. Customer journey, empathic design and personas are also some of the methods included in design thinking (Andreassen et al., 2016).
Tim Brown published one of the most popular article entitled ‘Design Thinking’ in Harvard Business Review (Brown, 2008). It mentioned that design thinking for innovation happens in three stages. These three stages are viz. inspiration, ideation and implementation. Inspiration stage deals with identifying the problem or opportunity that leads to solutions. Ideation is about
generating, developing and testing ideas. The implementation stage is for visualizing and a path to market launch. The design process is iterative and a system of spaces but not a predefined series of steps. According to Brown ( 8), a design thinker’s personality profile should include the following characteristics: empathy, integrative thinking, optimism, experimentalism and collaboration. A designer must emphasi e the customer’s needs, have innovative thinking with alternative solutions and work with other domains.
In the context of service innovation, design thinking is used to create effective and efficient solutions for organizations and create value for customers by designing experience-centric services (Jaaron & Backhouse, 2018). Jaaron and Backhouse (2018) mentioned that organizations adopt service design and design thinking to enhance service innovation.
According to Andreassen et al. (2016), identifying all the stakeholders, understanding customer’s demands and representing the service are the three prime aspects of design thinking.
The design thinking approach in developing the service process often provides value to the customers. It is based upon the experience-centric as the core of service design, where customers come first and the organization second. The adoption of design thinking to manufacturing industries, enterprises, service sectors depend on many attributes. The attributes of design thinking explored by Micheli et al. (2019) are viz. customer co-creation, problem- solving, interdisciplinary collaboration, ability to visualize, iteration and experimentation, abductive reasoning, creativity and innovation.
18.104.22.168 Design Thinking in Product Service System (PSS)
In many organizations, the prime challenge is how to deliver value to their customers through experiences (Lille et al., 2012). This challenge is tackled by developing the services and complementing the service offerings. Besides, a perspective of the designer’s approach is required in the development of a product-service system. Design thinking is a human-centred approach to stimulate innovation in several business processes, including the development process. Rosa et al. (2016) indicated that the design thinking approach could be helpful and support generating ideas and concepts of PSS. Significantly few researchers employed a design thinking approach in supporting the PSS development.
Henze et al. (2011) constructed a PSS framework of methods, techniques and tools based on the design thinking approach. They reviewed three case studies to conceptualize how the collaborators’ network should be structured to develop a SS. The collaborators’ network in the framework consists of service design network, service organization network and service
experience network. (Henze et al., 2011) investigate how the design consultants use the design thinking approach in implementing a product-service system for organizations. As a result, design consultants identify the difficulties, the necessary skills, tools, designer’s role and characteristics of changing the organization.
The comparison of the design thinking process and PSS design process was presented by Rosa et al. (2017). Their study was based upon a corpus linguistic approach and frame semantic elements. As a result, design thinking could be seen as a complementary entity to the PSS design process. In other words, design thinking supports the conceptual design, stakeholders understanding and opportunity identification in the PSS design process (Rosa et al., 2016).
Scherer et al. (2016) utilized design thinking and business analytics to enhance the PSS design model for companies. Their proposed PSS design model uses design thinking to understand customers’ needs and satisfy their emotional re uirements based on their resources and constraints (Scherer et al., 2016).
Pieroni et al. (2016) developed a framework for manufacturing companies to transform traditional products to PSS business models through the design thinking process (Pieroni et al., 2016). West and Nardo (2016) described a process by integrating service design tools with design thinking. This process was examined to PSS context based on two case studies (West
& Nardo, 2016). More recently, Carvalho et al. (2020) proposed a methodological framework that constitutes the design thinking structure. The design thinking structure is comprised of observation, ideation, prototyping, test and implementation. This proposed framework is for a PSS solution in enabling the treatment of organic waste (Carvalho et al., 2020).
The application of design thinking is applied in product and service development in the markets of Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Customers (B2C) and Business-to-Governments (B2G). For instance, companies utilizing design thinking are P&G, Pfizer, Nokia, Apple Inc.
and Intel (Scherer et al., 2016). To enhance experience-based innovation, a design thinking approach is employed in leading enterprises like Samsung, IBM and SAP (Rosa et al., 2016).
The design thinking approach helps develop a product, process and business model innovation (Micheli et al., 2019) (Liedtka, 2011). Innovation is a broad concept and could be achieved by implementing a novel idea, creating value for some stakeholders. A fundamental element of design thinking is human-centred design (Hendricks et al., 2018) (Trischler et al., 2019). The early design stages are concerned with applying in-depth user research, stakeholder engagement, visualization of process and empathy design to explore the needs of the end-users.
Previous studies shows that the design thinking approach has been applied in product design, branding design, service design and other areas such as information systems design (Brown &
Katz, 2011) (Vetterli et al., 2016) (Trischler et al., 2019). According to the firm IDEO, leading practitioners of the design thinking process mentioned that it is a system of overlapping spaces.
The design thinking process is not a sequence of orderly steps. A system of overlapping spaces includes inspiration, ideation and implementation. The function of inspiration space is to find alternate solutions for a problem. The ideation process is all about generating, developing and testing ideas. Implementation is to launch the ideas and solutions into peoples’ lives. The design thinking process is iterative that loops back through the inspiration, ideation and implementation spaces. Hence, these are mentioned as spaces rather than sequentially orderly steps. The design thinking approach can generate new and innovative products, services and systems based on these studies.
Design thinking is a well-tested approach that enables organizations to see the world through the eyes of their customers (Vetterli et al., 2016). A human-centered design toolkit, which is a field guide developed by IDEO. It aid public sector organizations, who could adapt design thinking to their problem-solving activities (Trischler et al., 2019). Liedtka (2011) identified essential tools and practices of the design thinking approach and demonstrated the two managers’ cases; managers who are, in effect, successful design thinkers. Micheli et al. (2019) addressed the most influential applied models of design thinking. The design thinking model developed by IDEO includes inspiration, ideation and implementation. The design thinking model developed by Stanford Design School includes empathy, define, ideate, prototype and test. The design thinking model developed by IBM consists of understanding, explore, prototype and evaluate. The models mentioned above tend to start from initial exploration to understand the problem to be clarified. Then move onto an ideation stage to generate possible alternatives. In closing, all conclude with an implementation and testing phase based on prototyping and iteration.