We have explored the basics of what entrepreneurship is. Also, we explored how creativity and innovation forms an integral part of the entrepreneurial process. Now I will now turn to design thinking. Let’s take it back one step. You observe someone, or some group of individuals (a customer segment), experiencing a problem ( we can call this a customer pain). You have an idea how to go about relieving this customer pain (let’s call your idea a possible pain reliever). Thus, before you can turn your idea into an opportunity, you have to clearly understand your potential customer. Furthermore, you also have to gain insights on how this customer pain effects them in their daily activities.
To do this, a design thinking mindset is needed. Next, I will highlight some important guiding principles for design thinking. Then, in my following blogs, I will provide some tools to help with divergent and convergent thinking; unpack the design thinking process; and then provide an in-depth discussion on each step in the design thinking process as shown in the model above.
Simple guiding principles for design thinking
SHOW DON’T TELL
Communicate your vision in an impactful and meaningful way. Do this by creating experiences, using illustrative visuals and telling good stories.
FOCUS ON HUMAN VALUES
Develop empathy for the people you are designing for. Establish ways to gain feedback from these users, its fundamental to good design.
Prototyping is not simply a way to validate your idea. It is an integral part of your innovation process. We build to think and learn.
BIAS TOWARDS ACTION
Bias towards doing, allowing over thinking.
Bring together innovators with varied backgrounds and viewpoints (in the case of start-up teams). This can enable breakthrough insights and solutions to emerge from the diversity.
BE MINDFUL OF PROCESS
Know where you are in the design process, what methods to use in that stage, and what your goals are.
Produce a coherent vision out of messy problems. Frame it in a way to inspire others and to fuel ideation.