Design Thinking, seems to be the latest trend sweeping through organisations, but how can a style of ‘thinking’ actually be responsible for a businesses survival?
A recent study by Richard Foster from Yale University estimates that a Fortune 500 company in 1920 had an average lifespan of 67 years, whilst today that lifespan has been reduced to 15 years. Companies like YouTube went from start-up to US$1.4 billion Google acquisition within 18 months. Uber only started operations in March 2009 and is already valued at US$50 billion. Seven year old Airbnb has just raised funding that values it at US$20 billion, second only to the Hilton Group of Hotels at US$23-billion and it doesn’t even own a single hotel room. The speed with which things now change has led to researchers, at the US’s Babson Olin School of Business, to predict that 40% of today’s Fortune 500 companies will be gone in the next 10 years.
These inspiring start-up businesses are less than 10 years old and yet have outperformed some of the worlds most established organisations, due predominately to the fact that they are leveraging the power of Design Thinking and are fully embracing their digital opportunities. Start-ups are continuously looking to design solutions to a ‘customer need’ and are prototyping their initiatives to test and validate their learnings. Design Thinking typically follows these 5 steps;
Empathise: Learn about the customers you’re designing for and be empathetic to their needs.
Define: Focus on a particular customer problem that you want to solve.
Ideate: Problem solve through ideas, brainstorm – take on the mindset of the customer.
Prototype: Develop hi-fidelity ideas that can be shared with customers.
Test: Share your ideas with customers to gain validated learning.
I recently met with an IT Director from one of the worlds largest Technology companies and found his insights both inspiring and daunting. During his recent trip to the U.S. he saw first hand, how certain Fortune 500 businesses were fighting back with their own ‘Design Thinking’ hubs. Hubs that are producing hundreds of customer-centric prototypes every month, with the ability to test their initiatives and validate their findings within 24 hours. They learn whether a customer-centric concept has legs in just one day! This essentially means that the largest global businesses will be creating hundreds of smaller customer-centric initiatives, with each initiative servicing a validated customer need. Is this inspiring or is this just totally daunting? Either way, Design Thinking has become an essential process that helps larger organisations to think like start-ups, acting with speed and purpose when developing a customer solution.
With over a billion websites online, we need to constantly remind ourselves that as businesses we’re here to offer value to our customers. If you’re aware that your industry needs to rethink its customer engagement processes, or other a different solution to meet with your customers needs, then digital disruption is a real and tangible threat. So if the phones aren’t ringing like they once did, or orders are down then it’s more than likely that in some fashion your business is already being disrupted. For help, advice and insight into what can be done, contact Spire Digital and lets discuss how Design Thinking might just be able to keep disruption at bay and also help your business to reconnect with the rapidly changing needs of our digital customers.