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BIG Answers

What is design thinking?
Design thinking is a critical thinking methodology using the designer’s mindset of curiosity, creativity, and collaboration to uncover the unmet needs of users to create innovative outcomes. It is a stuffy label for something that in practice is advanced common sense: empathy towards our fellow humans. 
How can design thinking help your business?
Executives are rewarded for solving problems with the latest information as quickly as possible. However, this assumes the correct question is being asked. By diverging, seeking new information before converging on a solution, we believe design thinking is the engine of innovation.
What does innovation really mean?

Innovations are an outcome, usually a product or service, that captures the value of an emerging technology’s value creation for a target set of users. However, an emphasis on technology, or feasibility, ignores the user’s needs, known as desirability.

For example, we don’t buy Bluetooth connectivity, we buy hands-free conversations. Thus, we believe design thinking is the methodology to capture user-centered needs and to create a pipeline of innovations that maintain an industry-leading position.

How can innovation help your business?

There is a strong link between innovation performance and the organization’s overall success. In today’s business landscape, disruption is a constant threat. A well-managed and successful innovation process is the only way to maintain your leadership position. Whether challenging the competition, or identifying a leapfrog opportunity to redefine an industry, design thinking is the tool for your organization to quickly respond to the rapidly changing business landscape.

Can innovation be a core strength of an organization?

Yes, and having a culture of innovation as a core competency gives your organization a sustainable competitive advantage. The key is teaching employees to practice empathy for their customers’ end users and then allowing them to creatively address the pain to create a gain. Design thinking allows for a sustained, well-maintained innovation funnel that will ensure the durability of your leadership position.

For example, Apple’s core competency is innovation. It introduced the iPod as an "innovative” way to listen to music and maintained that position with the iTunes store. Apple’s iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone, but by reframing music from albums to curated streams composed of individual songs, it leapfrogged far beyond the competition and redefined the word, “mobile.”

How does the design thinking innovation process work?

BIG uses the same methodology they teach at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, which consists of four phases:

Discovery: Getting to know your customers’ and their end users’ pains, gains, and jobs-to-be-done without offering solutions. The key is asking the right question, specifically that you’re addressing the human-centered need.

Insights: Looking for patterns in the data from the Discovery phase to uncover the “why behind the what,” that drives users to action.

Ideation: Building off user-centered Insights, we co-create solutions inspired by emerging industry, technological, and social trends plus the latest academic research.

Prototype & Experiment: Bringing the fruits of Ideation to life with low-cost, high-impact prototypes. We lead the testing of these prototypes for desirability with current customers and prospective users.

If successful, we move on to testing feasibility. If desirability is not met, we repeat the design thinking process informed by our earlier work.

How long does it take?

An average engagement takes twelve weeks. To fit your organization’s unique needs, the project can be customized with shorter “train the trainer” models or longer-term “innovation as a service” offerings.

What can you guarantee?

Our clients have received a deeper understanding of their customers and end users’ needs, which leads to prototypes of products and services that reinforce an existing leadership position and defend against disruption from competitors and startups alike.