Design Thinking to Drive Innovation and Revenue


Design Thinking to Drive Innovation and Revenue

Whether you know it or not, design thinking is everywhere.

Close your eyes and think about the elegance and power associated with a new Corvette convertible. The beautiful, bold color and curved body make it a sight to behold. You lean down to get in, your body positioned just a few inches off the road. This is exactly what a sports car should feel like.

The raw power of the engine takes hold and you punch the gas on the Interstate, hitting speeds just not possible in the family sedan. The top is down and the wind whips wildly through your hair. The destination is irrelevant. Whether you are getting groceries or going on vacation, you feel alive.

You have teams of engineers and car designers to thank for that experience. The latest model is inspired by the YF-22 fighter jet. Countless hours of careful thought and attention to detail went into turning that inspiration into a reality. The car begins as an idea. It’s transformed into drawings, then prototypes.

The end result is that the Corvette C7’s seats are at the perfect height for the ultimate riding experience. You feel empowered as the palm of your hand grips the gear shift. The engine purrs with just the right amount of power.

This dogged attention to the smallest details, and the process by which the car is transformed from an idea into something very real, embodies design thinking at its finest. When careful considerations are made at each step of the way, your customer wins.

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is an in-depth, logical approach to problem-solving. It’s a systematic method for discovering new possibilities. Design thinking allows you to implement your creative impulses to benefit the end user.

What is good for sports cars is also good for business goals and brand strategy. We’ll dive a little deeper into the implementation further down in this post, but first, let’s look at some potential situations that might call for design thinking.

Example #1

Your Business Needs a New Website

It’s good to recognize when your branding is dated and may no longer be serving your business’s best interest. The reasons businesses come to this conclusion, and the strategies they take to address this problem may differ. Some businesses may want to invest in high-end web design simply because that’s what the competition has done. Some may be looking at ways to increase web traffic.

Both of these approaches can lead to misguided results. Instead, what design thinking teaches us to do is step back and evaluate the goals for your website. What do you want it to do? How can it better serve your customers? Design thinking provides a holistic approach, where every decision is made with customer experience in mind.

Example #2

Your Business Needs to Improve its Trade Show Success

Your company may put a lot of work into preparing for industry trade shows. Like with the website example above, careful consideration needs to be paid to big-picture goals. Design thinking involves evaluating what you hope to achieve from attending the trade show in the first place. While it may seem common sense, it’s often overlooked in the preparation process.

Every decision you make about the display and materials can be traced back to whether it will help you attract new people into your sales funnel.

These are just two basic examples. But design thinking can be employed to enrich your marketing funnel, and make sure that your website, collateral and other marketing efforts are all serving the end goals.

Breaking Down the Process of Design Thinking

Below are the steps to employ design thinking as it pertains to your business’s marketing.

1. Uncover the Root Problem

As you look to evaluate your marketing the key is to identify the root problem. For example, we all want more traffic to our websites, but that’s not the root. You can have 100,000 daily visitors to your site, but if little to none of your traffic is converting, that would be the problem you might be looking to solve.

This stage requires high powers of observation and a curious mind. Think of a toddler asking “Why?” three times before they get a satisfactory answer. This can help you dig down to the root of the problem.

2. Generate New Ideas

This step requires some creative thinking, so you don’t fall into the trap of employing the same tried solutions to every new problem. Look at your problems from more than one direction. Do your best to step out of your corporate shoes and consider the experience from the customer’s perspective. Consider data such as website analytics and evaluate the conversions on every page.

What new, fresh approach can you take? How can better design better serve your audience? The solution rests in how to better serve your audience.

3. Evaluate Ideas

Design thinking transcends what’s been done before. It’s not about providing an option within the comfort zone. It’s about innovation to advance your cause. If Chevy stayed in their comfort zone, we’d have more Malibus and fewer Corvettes.

It’s time to gather and analyze your best ideas. Consider the pros and cons of each, and more importantly, what ideas have you not had yet?

As you go about solving the problem, think about how you can turn your platform into an experience. If you have multiple great ideas surfacing, it’s an excellent time to experiment, measure results, and determine what works best.

Furthermore, ideas can break the rules-if they solve the problems.

4. Create A Prototype

With digital media like websites and apps, prototyping is an essential part of the development process. By building a scaled-down model of the final product, something tangible or visual, we are able to better identify and understand problems that need to be solved before production.

5. Execute

Once the ideas, prototypes, and data have been thoroughly evaluated, it’s time to act. We should arrive at a better, more thought out solution – something that will be of value to those you serve. When the solution no longer meets our needs we can circle back to the ideas phase and begin the process of refining our next creation.

You can use this in-depth process to take a more holistic problem-solving approach. At the end, you should have a deeper strategy to implement, with results that often outpace expectation.

Implement Design Thinking into Your Business

Design thinking is a repeatable process that can be implemented in all facets of a business. It’s a way to consider your clients and customers in every decision that you make. In addition, it enhances the customer experience on a tangible level.

As you consider your business’s marketing, it’s important to consider whether you are a dependable sedan, or the flashy sports car worthy of the experience and the attention. For some, the economic and dependable vehicle to drive their marketing strategy may be the right fit. For others, upgrading to a Corvette may be the only way to convince customers to come along for the ride.

If your marketing feels more like a grocery-getter, when you’re looking to create an all-empowering, Corvette-like experience, you’re not alone. It may be time for the holistic-type of upgrade that we’re talking about. Contact Joint Media Marketing so we can help you jump-start the design thinking process to improve your branding and marketing strategy.

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About the author

Jason McSweeney is a marketing specialist and brand identity designer chosen as one of '13 Rookies On The Rise' by Advantages Magazine in 2011. His writing has been recognized by national publications such as VIBE Magazine and the Advertising Specialist Institute, in addition to WCKG Radio, Counselor Magazine, and Weekdone. View his Work or connect with Jason on LinkedIn.