Design thinking is a process used to help kickstart projects and brainstorm product/service innovation. However, like any process this one has challenges.

What is design thinking?

As seen in the image above, design thinking has several stages. The process starts off looking for insights into customer behaviour and needs (empathise), which are then used as a catalyst for new ideas which then lends itself to prototyping and testing. Design thinking is a powerful tool for businesses to help them adapt to the ever-changing landscape, innovate their products/services and differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Some key challenges and how to overcome them:

  1. Poor team dynamics

Adopting the mindset going into design thinking is crucial for its’ success. Going in participants need to abandon hierarchal systems which may exist in their organisation. They need to leave company politics behind and embrace the notion that anyone can be a designer. Failing to do so may compromise the whole process, especially the ideate stage. This is because individuals may avoid participating out of fear that their ideas will be shot down or because they have been labelled as a ‘non-designer’ by their organisation.

To overcome this, rules need to be laid out. Individuals must make a conscious effort to listen to everyone’s ideas. As a result, innovative thinking may result from undergoing this process.

2. Failing to embrace the mindset of your customer

Great products/services all start with truly understanding who your customer is, what motivates them, what angers them, and what intrigues. It can be easy to think about what you want out of a service. However, it is crucial to gather insightful data about your customer, put yourself in their shoes to create a product/service that actually resonates with them. Failing to do this in the ’emphasise’ phase will start the project off on the wrong foot and may disrupt the process. Moreover, today consumers want unique customer experiences, and so understanding them and meeting their needs is vital to capturing their attention.

To overcome this, gather data, or speak to your target audience. Really make that effort to understand their needs, pains and gains.

3. Perfectionism

Sometimes when people hear the word “prototyping” they equate it to the finishing touches of a product. In design thinking you need to be comfortable with some ambiguity. You probably won’t come away with the perfect product at the end of the process, but you will be making headway to kicking off product/service innovations.

To overcome this, adopt an open mindset and let things be a bit fuzzy.