7. December 2017

Why DESIGN THINKING is more than messing around

Design thinking offers a methodology that helps its practitioners repair, adapt, reinvent or develop innovative products and services. It provides users with a toolkit for dealing with so-called wicked problems - that is, challenges enmeshed within dynamic environments, for which there are no easy answers.

Being able to solve wicked problems is becoming a key necessity within organizations, and design thinking gives us real, tangible methods with which we can see, touch, and try out a high number of ideas an solutions. In short, design thinking supports in generating real impact by helping us develop solutions oriented to users’ needs.

When faced with challenges in the corporate world, we often choose to implement the most familiar solutions, even if we know what we’ve selected does not apply directly to the issue we’re facing. This approach, which we may think saves time in the short-term, often does not  produce the results we need for long-term success.

The road to new and better solutions – that is, innovation – can seem daunting, unruly and unstructured.

We are afraid we will waste our time. By relying on answers that don’t address the dynamic specificities of the problem we’re facing, we generate results that are not robust enough to ensure sustainability.

Design thinking deals with exactly this challenge. This approach to tackling problems looks above all at the needs of users and customers through “needfinding” (interviewing, observing, and more), prototyping and testing. In design thinking, a guiding principle is “fail early and often” to maximize learning.

About the author
Dr. Rachel Brooks
Dr. Rachel Brooks (full name Brooks-Ames Lachenmeier) has been Program Manager of Custom Programs at the Executive School of Management, Technology and Law (ES-HSG) since January, 2016.From 2011 - 2016, Dr. Brooks completed her doctorate in Organization and Culture at the University of St.Gallen. Her research explored communication structures in multinational companies and in particular, how managers pay attention to internal and external feedback when establishing sustainability initiatives in transnational agricultural supply chains. She holds a bachelor's degree in Latin American and Latino/a Studies from Smith College in Massachusetts, where she was on the Dean's List. She received her master's degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from New York University, with full funding from the Henry MacCracken Fellowship.