Design thinking is a methodology used for solving complex problems. It can be employed in a wide variety of applications, including the design of new products or processes, but is often used to address what are known as wicked problems. These are problems which are ill-defined or tricky to pin down, either because they’re so closely interconnected with other problems, or because they involve satisfying incomplete, contradictory or shifting requirements.
These problems are common in the social and political spheres, but are also increasingly recognized in the world of business, where stakeholders may have widely divergent values and priorities, challenges are often unprecedented, and may not welcome a clear “correct” answer. No matter what particular industry you work in, problems with these challenging qualities are likely to arise.
This is where design thinking comes in. Design thinking is a five-stage iterative design process that is intended to help understand the needs of users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and find solutions. As a set of creative strategies that can be applied to an incredibly wide range of problems, design thinking is an essential skill for anyone who wants to succeed in today’s complex and fast-changing business world.
Understanding the Five Stages of Design Thinking
These are the five stages of design thinking:
- Empathize. Gain an empathic understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve by inhabiting, as closely as possible, the role of a user.
- Define. Use the information you’ve gathered from empathizing with the user to define or redefine the problem clearly.
- Ideate. Challenge assumptions and generate ideas, looking for new and unexpected solutions, including those that may be unlikely or unrealistic.
- Prototype. Quickly produce lower-cost, scaled-down versions of the solution(s) you developed, seeing how they work in the real world.
- Test. Rigorously test the prototypes to see how they perform, eventually discarding those that fail and continuing to refine those that work.
Applying the Principles of Design Thinking to Real Problems
One of the most important things for students in MBA school to remember about the stages of design thinking is that they’re not necessarily sequential.
If testing reveals that none of the prototypes for a solution work under real-world conditions, for example, then a designer might jump back to the prototyping or ideation stage. They could also return to the defining stage, where they can reconsider the problem itself from a new angle, or the empathizing stage, where they can revisit the user’s experience. Any time a designer goes back to an earlier stage, they’re opening up new possibilities at the later stages.
With design thinking, the goal isn’t to move from one stage to the next in an orderly fashion, but to move among these stages as necessary until a solution can be reached.
Students at Geneva Business School learn how to apply the principles of design thinking
How Design Thinking Can Help You Succeed After MBA School
Students earning their MBA in Digital Marketing at Geneva Business School are introduced to design thinking early on in their studies, giving them plenty of time to practice using it throughout their MBA. They can gain experience seeing how it might be applied to project management, strategic digital marketing and a range of other aspects of business administration.
In Geneva Business School’s MBA in Digital Marketing, students learn about design thinking early on
Finishing their MBA with experience in design thinking means students have the hard skills to succeed in digital marketing, as well as the strategies they’ll need to keep advancing and innovating as the industry progresses.
Are you interested in putting the principles of design thinking into action in a career in digital marketing?
Contact Geneva Business School for more information about our digital marketing training.