Bert Brautigam has a lengthy and detailed article about design thinking and how it’s integral to today’s businesses on TheNextWeb.com. I highly recommend it to all founders, especially those in the early stages of ideation or idea validation: How Design Thinking will fix Design Thinking.
Design thinking is a framework for integrating design with business and technology to create a wholistic approach to product development. Design thinking puts the customer at the center of the product development process.
The business, tech, and design discipline naturally have distinct perspectives on the human and approaches on how to solve problems. Business would like to see a product generate crazy amounts of money, tech wants it to function flawlessly, while the design discipline wants to create a product that is so desirable that people lose their minds over it.
Unlike many long articles about tech and business on Medium, Bert Brautigam’s article is rife with illustrative diagrams that help the reader understand the concepts he’s writing about.
My career in tech began in the stone age of design. If design was considered at all it was put at the tail end of the product development process. Sort of like adding frosting to the cake. Not that necessary and certainly not something you thought of before you started to develop the product. Just like quality assurance, design was seen as the last step in the product development process, not the first. No wonder all PC software came with manuals the size of the Manhattan phone book! And just like phone books, “user manuals” have largely disappeared as well.
Design needs to be understood as a strategic discipline driving Design Thinking and not as a cost center. Design Thinking means to truly and consequently move away from a narrow technical and business only perspective to a truly interdisciplinary and collaborative culture of thinking and making. Design Thinking brings disciplines together to collaboratively find solutions within a highly complex and multilayered system of business, technical, and human context to ultimately bring out products that humans need and desire and are willing to make part of their lives.
If you are not familiar with design thinking Bert’s article is a good place to start. It should influence not just your product development process but the organizational design of your startup.
Building design thinking into the DNA of your company and your products will yield giant payoffs, just like Toyota and other Japanese car manufacturers blew past Detroit car makers by building quality processes into their lean manufacturing, rather than leaving quality control to the last, and often under-resourced, step in creating a product.