Design Thinking & Innovation: Revolutionizing Product Development and Strategy-Making Process

Design thinking has become a buzzword in business as it transforms how organizations approach problem-solving and innovation. Companies are beginning to realize the importance of incorporating design thinking and innovation in product development and strategy-making. This approach analyses problems holistically, bringing together user needs, technology, and business considerations to create effective solutions. This article will discuss the concept of design thinking and innovation and how it can revolutionize product development and strategy-making process.

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a problem-solving approach focusing on the user’s needs while balancing business objectives and technical feasibility. It is a creative and iterative process that involves empathizing with the users, defining the problem, ideating potential solutions, prototyping, and testing. The process is highly collaborative, involving cross-functional teams with diverse skill sets and perspectives.

Design thinking is about more than just creating aesthetically pleasing products or solutions. It is about understanding the user’s needs and pain points and developing solutions that address them effectively. Design thinking is rooted in product design, but its principles are applied in other areas such as business strategy, healthcare, education, and social innovation.

The Importance of Design Thinking in Business

Design thinking has become increasingly important in business as organizations seek to create innovative products, services, and experiences that meet customers’ evolving needs and expectations. Design thinking can help companies to achieve the following:

1. User-centered Approach

Design thinking is a user-centred approach to problem-solving, meaning the user’s needs and preferences are at the forefront of the process. This approach ensures that solutions are tailored to the users and their specific needs, which leads to higher satisfaction and better customer experiences.

2. Innovation and Creativity

Design thinking encourages creativity and innovation by promoting a non-linear and iterative approach to problem-solving. It allows for brainstorming and creativity without fear of failure or judgment, which fosters creativity and leads to new ideas and solutions.

3. Cost Savings

Design thinking can help businesses save money by identifying and addressing problems early in development. By prototyping and testing solutions early, companies can avoid costly mistakes and rework later.

4. Competitive Advantage

Design thinking can provide a competitive advantage by helping businesses differentiate themselves. By creating unique and innovative products and experiences, companies can attract and retain customers and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

The Design Thinking Process

Design thinking is a five-stage process that involves empathy, defining the problem, ideation, prototyping, and testing. Let’s look at each stage in more detail.

1. Empathy and Understanding the User

The first stage of the design thinking process is to understand the user’s needs and pain points. This involves empathy and putting yourself in the user’s shoes to better understand their experiences and perspectives. This stage is crucial to effectively developing solutions that address the user’s specific needs.

2. Defining the Problem

The second stage defines the problem by synthesizing the insights gained from the empathy stage. This involves framing the issue in an actionable and specific way, which helps guide the ideation process.

3. Ideation and Brainstorming

The third stage is creativity, which involves generating ideas and potential solutions to the defined problem. This stage is about creativity and brainstorming without judgment or fear of failure. It is essential to develop a wide range of opinions and then narrow them down to the most promising ones.

4. Prototyping and Testing

The fourth stage is prototyping and testing. This stage involves creating prototypes of the potential solutions generated in the ideation stage and testing them with users to gain feedback and insights. This stage helps refine the solutions and identify potential problems or issues.

5. Centralizing and Iterating

The final stage is centralizing and iterating, which involves refining the solutions based on the feedback received in the testing stage. This iterative process repeats the previous steps until the solution is refined and ready for implementation.

The Benefits of Design Thinking

Design thinking offers numerous benefits for businesses. Let’s take a closer look at some of these benefits.

1. Increased Creativity and Innovation

Design thinking encourages creativity and innovation by providing a safe space for brainstorming and creativity. This approach helps businesses generate new ideas and solutions they may not have considered.

2. Improved Customer Experience

Design thinking puts the user at the centre of the process, which means that solutions are tailored to their specific needs and preferences. This approach results in a better customer experience and higher customer satisfaction.

3. Cost Savings

Design thinking can help businesses save money by identifying and addressing problems early in development. By prototyping and testing solutions early, companies can avoid costly mistakes and rework later.

4. Competitive Advantage

Design thinking can provide a competitive advantage by helping businesses differentiate themselves. By creating unique and innovative products and experiences, companies can attract and retain customers and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.


Design thinking and innovation are critical to any business product development and strategy-making process. By adopting a design thinking approach, businesses can create solutions tailored to the user’s needs and preferences, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and better business outcomes. This approach offers numerous benefits, including increased creativity and innovation, improved customer experience, cost savings, and competitive advantage.

Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research popularly known as Weschool, offers Best Executive Education Programmes in India.

How to apply Design Thinking in your organization

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Design Thinking is defined as a human-centeric and prototype-driven process for innovation that can be applicable to any product, service or any kind of business design. In the words of Rolf Faste, it is “a formal method for practical and creative resolution of issues, with the intention of an improved future result”.
The very concept of Design Thinking is continually evolving, just like the creativity it is trying to foster. The process consists of several stages like empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping and testing. This human-centered methodology enables individuals to quickly identify, build and test new concepts and innovative solutions. WeSchool’s Design Thinking program is specially tailored for executives, helping them with the opportunity to incorporate these concepts in their day-to-day functioning. The few ways to apply the basic elements of Design Thinking are as below:
Research and Definition of the problem
Design Thinking seeks to solve a problem. This user-centered research technique emphasizes on the importance of empathy. It becomes essential to understand one’s customers and users, before designing a product or service. Customer satisfaction must invariably be at the helm of a Design Thinking approach.

This phase helps in generating ideas that represent potential solutions. It could include the use of various techniques such as brainstorming, mind-mapping and sketching to help individuals to come up with a creative solution to a complex problem.

Prototyping and Iterating

After identifying a creative idea, the next step is to make it tangible. Prototyping helps in pushing ahead, the making process that is ideal for Design Thinking. It is imperitaive to create prototypes to demonstrate and validate the output of any ideation process. These prototypes can be in varied forms, but it needs to convey the flow of the experience.
A Design Thinking process helps organizations to become collaborative and customer centric. It allows for decision-making and provides new perspectives and opportunity windows to organizations.
For any organization to thrive, they have to transform into a company with a design-centric approach. WeSchool empowers executives, managers and senior leaders of organizations to develop a customer-centric approach that would help the organization to meet its goal. For more information on our design thinking and innovation programs, please visit our website:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Ideation for everyday design challenges

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Ideation is defined as a process of generating a broad set of ideas on a given topic, with no attempt to judge or evaluate them. It is a phase in the Design Thinking process that allows individuals to translate the knowledge acquired during the inspiration phase, which is the initial step of the Design Thinking process. This model gets every team member involved in the process as they can experience, evaluate and brainstorm various challenges related to innovative ideas. The focus of ideation is quantity not quality, as the wide number of choices increases the likelihood for one of the ideas to be the seed for a great design solution. It is important to understand various factors before embarking on the journey of ideation and WeSchool helps participants understand these factors and how to make optimum use of the same. Here are a few fundamentals of the ideation process:
The brainstorming part of the ideation phase allows individuals to debate and discuss different ideas, to create a bank of ideas and solutions. This bank can be filtered and analyzed during the later stages of the Design Thinking process. The brainstorming session needs to be free of negativity and biases. This can be achieved if the facilitator keeps the session neutral.

Reversed Brainstorming
In a complex situation, when there is a dearth of creative and inefficient ideas, the team is encouraged to employ the reverse brainstorming mechanism. In this method, the members of the group reverse their mindset, they focus on creating the problem rather than the solution or make existing problems more complex.

Lotus Blossom Diagram
This mind-mapping tool allows individuals to organize ideas and visualize the categories of each one of them. It is an organized form of mind-mapping. The Lotus Blossom Diagram, looks like the following image:

The main problem needs to be addressed in the centre of the diagram.
The eight themes related to the problems needs to be addressed in the squares around the central problem.
Each of the main themes need to be separated in a new subset and used as the core for a new set of ideas.
The process needs to be continued until ideas are visualized and linked.
Leading innovation projects in large organisations is challenging, but the ideation process allows the team to build on hidden opportunities, revenue streams and ideas. WeSchool understands that the main quality of the ideation stage is that it is collaborative and participatory. We realize the creative potential of each individual and encourage them to put forward innovative solutions to tackle the problem effectively. For more information on our design thinking program, please visit our website:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Why everyone needs Design Thinking

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The most prominent thought that occurs when one thinks of a creative organization is probably a design firm, advertising agency or a tech startup. Building a creative workforce is important to every industry and this creativity requires a mindset shift that begins with leadership. Leaders need to allow each and every employee to participate creatively and invent new solutions. While venturing into the unknown together, it is important for both leaders as well as the combined team to hold a curious mindset in order to generate, embrace and execute and be open to new and innovative ideas.  It is the role of the leader to unlock the creative potential within an organization, in order to stay ahead of the game.

Leaders often tend to reject creativity and ingenuity, in favor of more practical and safe models. The consequence leads to a loss of ideas that could generate long-term value and new ideas. Design Thinking however, plays a key role in decision-making and delivering value to stakeholders. It helps build ideas from scratch, by meeting customer needs through creative and insightful solutions, with consumer-based strategies. Design Thinking therefore offers the best possible outcome to set a competitive advantage in the ever-emerging market. Regardless of the work environment, it is imperitive for all employees to develop and practice Design Thinking. Weschool understands and stresses on the reasons below:

Design Thinkers are problem solvers

Design Thinking is a concept that is applicable globally, across organizations and all industry verticals. It helps to provide solutions to various problems through means of a structured and well thought-out framework. Design thinkers are capable of thinking effectively, by building and expanding their concepts to provide highly efficient and out-of-the-box solutions. It does not fall in the pathway of traditional problem solving methods, as design thinkers tend to create solutions based on iteration and learning.

Innovation becomes a part of life:

The Design Thinking approach can help individuals create new, different and innovative ideas that are novel to a situation – be it at work, or in personal life. It helps businesses to differentiate from one another by bringing new and innovative ideas to the forefront. Design Thinkers focus on creating new markets with new possibilities to gain a competitive advantage.

Beneficial for leaders

Design Thinking can be used as a key driver of organizational strategy to overcome business problems and gain a good amount of customer insight. When one is encouraged to think creatively, they develop several leadership qualities like rapid processing of information, flexibility and the ability to rethink, evaluate an idea and restart a task.

Welingkar Institute of Management Development encourages all members of the workforce, irrespective of the industry or organization to undertake Design Thinking Learning. WeSchool believes that in today’s times, thinking creatively is the only way to exist in a technology-driven world. The training we provide equips employees with tools to make a tangible difference across various scenarios. To know more about out Design Thinking and Innovation Program, do visit our website: for more details.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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