How tech executives may use design thinking?

  • August 04, 2022
How tech executives may use design thinking?s

When deciding how to solve a problem, IT leaders typically concentrate on a combination of people, processes, and technology. Another powerful technique in their toolbox, design thinking can offer many viewpoints.

Solving complicated challenges is the most intriguing and difficult part of our employment as tech executives. These issues can occasionally only be of a technical origin. For instance, it may be necessary to transfer data between two dissimilar systems that are placed thousands of miles apart, employ various technical designs, and possibly even exist outside of our direct control, as is the situation with cloud technology.

Most of the time, the issues we're asked to address are not strictly technical. You've definitely heard the overused advice that when thinking about a problem, we should concentrate on PPT: people, process, and technology. And although it's a well-intended suggestion, it falls flat.

Think about a typical software implementation. Typically, we will begin by creating requirements with some feedback from end users and then start the software selection process. With perhaps one or two general requirements related to "usability," that decision focuses on the technical qualities of the software, taking into account factors like technical architecture, integration, and platform.

Once the software has been chosen, the processes that we believe to be crucial will be reworked. Users will then be asked to "test" the system with the implicit understanding that any human factors issues will be given lower priority or relegated to the "parking lot," where requirements are more likely to be forgotten or ignored.

This tendency occurs outside of only corporate technology. Think about the products that are at your office or house. Your television might have the most advanced features, resolutions, and technological specifications. Nevertheless, nobody can operate it beyond turning it on and off due to its confusing menu arrangement. Your coffee maker, on the other hand, appears to have been created by a mind reader who anticipated where you would like a button and made it so simple that you never bothered to read the instructions to learn how to use and maintain the device.

When to use a design-based approach to an issue

Design thinking is a broad group of approaches to problem-solving that focus on the human element of a problem, making it a priority to comprehend the people and their motives. With this knowledge, the team suggests, evaluates, and finally delivers a variety of solutions to the issue.

It's a strategy that is rather intuitive but difficult to employ effectively since it puts more of an emphasis on figuring out "unknowns" than on carrying out tasks. The latter is typically the emphasis of technological implementations, delaying the unknown in favour of finishing tasks using tried-and-true methods. This works well when merging a recently acquired business and needing to use your well-tested "playbook," but it frequently fails when establishing a new online store or personnel directory.

Whenever you encounter a new issue, consider whether it is more of an execution issue or a "fixing the unknown" issue. Although almost every challenge has components of both, if you're developing anything where the key success factor is whether or not users will embrace it, it's often a design problem. It's probably more of an execution issue if the main success criteria are doing a known set of steps in a certain amount of time.

For design issues, it's crucial to concentrate your efforts on having a thorough understanding of the people you're attempting to service or the issues they require your assistance with. As a result, technologists may find themselves in the awkward position of putting off or downplaying complex technical decisions while devoting hours to thinking about and testing seemingly insignificant details, such as wording choices on a marketing website.

When we were developing a new service, for instance, we discovered that the term "subscription" turned off potential customers. By simply changing the word "membership," we went back to the drawing board and reformulated what was the same service to generate tremendous interest. Further investigation revealed that this specific customer group was experiencing "subscription fatigue" as a result of the excess of subscription products, but was nevertheless drawn to the perceived cachet of a membership programme.

A designer can be anyone.

Too many technical executives minimise the value of design thinking because they believe it to be "fluff" or that they must be skilled at creating things, producing flawless sketches, or possessing a doctorate in anthropology or psychology. These are obviously useful tools for a professional designer, but empathy is a quality that most people possess that is much more important for effective design thinking.

Understanding someone else's wants and feelings is known as empathy. It's frequently confused with empathy and compassion, which demand a value assessment.

For instance, let's say I don't drink coffee but I need to design the user experience for a new smart coffee maker for offices. I might not feel much empathy or compassion for coffee drinkers and instead consider the best touchscreen for the machine or whether WiFi or Bluetooth are necessary.

Let's say I use empathy, pretend to be a coffee drinker, and maybe even observe and interact with coffee drinkers at work. In that situation, I might find that having a wide selection of coffee selections is crucial or that obtaining my coffee swiftly is essential. I might identify the inherent tension between these two goals and see if I can plan and carry out an experiment to see which is more crucial: choice or speed.

Before I've even started thinking about technological intricacies, I've already identified a significant set of conflicting wants that I'll need to resolve to properly design a coffee machine. This discovery was made simply by trying to understand my end customer and putting myself in their shoes.

The secret to experimenting with and putting design thinking techniques to use is in that. By starting your study of a problem in a different place, you can reorder the aspects of the scenario you emphasise and drastically change your chances of coming up with a solution that your end users would accept.

The creation of effective documentation should be valued equally with the creation of any kind of content. To ensure that the reader understands exactly what will happen next and what to expect, utilise compelling headlines. This is especially true considering how everyone and everything resides beneath a content avalanche. Users now skim much more often than they used to as a result. The information is considerably easier to read and understand when you employ compelling headings (and subheadings).

The ability to empathise can go a long way in helping you integrate design thinking strategies into your problem-solving toolbox to create low-cost and outstanding results. There are obviously complex methodologies and entire professions dedicated to design and design thinking.

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