Over the last several years, design thinking has gained its fair share of attention as an applied professional practice. In fact, it has gained so much currency in corporate activities that design thinking already heavily influences and is the driving methodology of the team with which I recently began a UX engagement. They even refer to their methodology as a design-thinking framework. However, I frequently see and hear about confusion about design thinking—sometimes even antipathy toward it—among UX professionals who don’t quite get what design thinking is and why it matters, and are concerned that it somehow dilutes the value of User Experience.
In my speaking and teaching, I frequently use the terms design and User Experience interchangeably, explaining that User Experience is an applied, research-oriented approach to design. This calls to mind some of my earlier writings, in which I discussed the nature of design and how we frequently use the term design to describe the characteristics of an object rather than looking at design as a process. However, much of the work of the Design Management Institute focuses on process and value—rather than simply craft. Read More
Shifting trends are forcing technology companies to reimagine their value proposition. IBM has chosen to create disruption through design. In embracing the future, the company is essentially invoking its past. Back in 1956, IBM was the first large company to establish a corporate-wide design program. But this time, the company’s goals are more ambitious.
Recently, we interviewed Karel Vredenburg, Director of IBM Design’s worldwide client program and head of IBM Studios in Canada, who told us, “We’ve put everything into this transformation.” The company is investing more than $100 million in becoming design centered. Read More
Great leaders have been able to lead significant social revolutions because they understood people’s needs and recognized and worked to alleviate their pain and suffering.  Such leaders’ empathy toward people has brought revolutionary social changes. Likewise, people who have understood and empathized with users’ needs, frustrations, goals, and motivations have brought the world innovative solutions such as the telephone and Apple iPod. Apple came back from its near downfall by designing products that people need and want and delivering mind-blowing, innovative solutions.
In pursuit of innovation, more organizations have adopted design-thinking strategies, including leading companies such as IBM, Intuit, Airbnb, Microsoft, SAP, and Toshiba. Still, only a few companies have harnessed the power of innovation. If your organization wants to incorporate design thinking into its culture, you must start by being empathetic toward your users. Design thinking begins with developing a deep understanding of your users and the problem you are trying to solve for them. Only by developing empathy for your users, you can design truly breathtaking solutions for their problems. Read More