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Design Thinking for Managers

Introduction to Role of Innovation in Creating a Competitive Advantage

Design thinking is a non-linear frequent procedure in which the individual or team of managers the design of the problem in order to make an insight to challenge assumption and redefine the problem for the purpose of alternative and possibly easy solutions which were not apparent at time of initial level of understanding of the problem (Szczepanska, 2017). It simultaneously provides the manager with a problem solving approach to analyse and understand the problem. It is a criterion of more productive thinking and working with observation of hand-on methods of solutions. Design thinking approach helps to have a better understanding of the people for which the solution or the product or services is being designed as it gives an insight to observe the target user (Liedtka, 2018). It helps with the process of questioning of the procedure; questions about the problem, about the assumptions and all the implications. It is a practical approach towards solving the problem in a more user understanding approach.

Background of Design Thinking

I was reading and tried to find out the development and concept of the origin of particular word design thinking. I came to know from various sources that the origin lies in the creativity techniques need for new methods of design for problem solving. These two factors led to the systematic thinking of creating a new approach and algorithm of design thinking. The first author to write about this was J Arnold in his book Creative Engineering in 1959, after this Bruce Archer paid attention to it and wrote Systematic method for designers in 1965 (Distanong & Khongmalai, 2018). In my opinion, inventing this approach Arnold made the base for design thinking as he gave four areas where design thinking can work and adapted to situations which are Catering to a novel problem or an old one requiring a novel solution, higher productivity and performance of the procedure of solution, lowering costs and higher chances for sale of the solution. Thus he had provided in his initial concept the two sure factors of high performance and novel performance. I think Bruce and Arnold paid attention to different aspects of design thinking, where Arnold gave 4 ways, Bruce was concerned with systematic process of conventional design, and he connected this approach to develop in the field of cybernetics, ergonomics and management (Foster, 2019). Herbert Simon has developed this approach of design thinking a way of thinking in his book The Science of Artificial in 1969 (Sczcepanska, 2017). Design thinking was ideated in architecture by Bryan Lawson.The decade of 1980 saw the conception of design thinking which was human cantered and design centred business management (Sczcepanska, 2017). This decade saw rise of practice of design thinking in the artistic, intuitive thinking that a manager applies to situations of instability, problem, uncertainty and conflict.

I have read and observed that with the beginning of the 21st century, design thinking became more fashionable as it was popularized among managers and in businesses. Ways to create more productivity among employees and decreasing costs through design thinking was taking pace; this was the time when service design also came into conception.

Why Design Thinking

In my view, when I learned the design thinking procedure, I found that Design thinking is a practical and cognitive process through which the innovative concept of designing the solutions are generated and developed adapted to the particular situations. Different aspects of creative design and thinking have been observed and understood through different studies, in different avenues and domains in both the lab culture and in real practices (Liedtka, 2018). It works as a preliminary prescription document for innovative thinking process of productand services in business management and in social and political concepts (Caprelli, 2020). However, I have found that sometimes the process have been oversimplified and technical knowledge has been avoided which cannot be called as a balanced scientific approach. Understanding the human psychology in the process of designing new and innovative solutions is the key to success for any business, here design thinking gives an advantage in that it is related with the study of a deep interest to develop an understanding of people for whom the solution is to be designed. It asks the question to the developer about the problem, the assumptions and the implications. I think lesser research has been done in the field of lesser known problems and unclear situations in which design thinking can make revolutionary progress. It can create many ideas in the brainstorming sessions; a hands-on approach is possible in this kind of thinking while making prototypes and testing. It also involves the experimentation state which has steps as prototyping, sketching, testing etc (Sarvar & Fraser, 2019).

The balanced approach of scientific knowledge and rationality of the design thinking should in my view, be examined with as many areas of study as possible, as it provides the best, out of the box solutions and innovations, trusted and tested through many norms. This approach can be used for innovative purposes in science and technological field as scope of Pareto optimality is present everywhere where only through redistributing or readjustments of the available steps or resources can make the results better and more productive (Sarvar & Fraser, 2019). This approach can be made to be most cost efficient and productive as Caprelli (2020) says innovation is most important as making the most as what is already available, taking the maximum efficiency and productivity out of a process or a product which was made by some invested resources, thus I can conclude that design thi8nking application in various field is a crucial step towards sustainability by making maximum out of available resources.

Process of Design Thinking

I have come to know through readings that there are many variants of design thinking today, most of them are somewhat similar to each other with there to seven stages or phases, they revolve around the principles taught by Herbert Simon in 1969 like the Hasso-Plattner, IDEO, Google design sprints, Austin centre for design, education program are few of them (Hoffman, 2016). For a better experience, it’s very important to develop and refine skills to understand and change to user’s behaviour and environment. Discussion of the general five phase model will be most relevant as it is in the middle of all the models and roughly gives a general estimate of the procedure, they are as follows-

Stage of Empathize- The first state deals with developing the empathic understanding of the situation or the problem which is to deal. In my opinion, it is consultation with the experts and academicians to find out more about the nature and hidden factors of the problem through observation and empathizing with people to have a better understand their experiences and their attracting points and immersing oneself in the environment to get a better and deep understanding (Caprelli, 2020). When processes human cantered, empathy factor is the base and is very crucial for its success; it allows the thinkers to think apart from their own assumptions which give them better insight into particular situations. A substantial amount of knowledge and information could be gained at this stage to use it at the next level.

Defining the problem- This is to put the information gathered and learned during the stage of empathizing and to convert it to data. This is the stage which allows to analyse the observations and learning and using them in a synthesized manner to define the core problem that has been identified till this point of time (Liedtka, 2018). Now to seek the problem in human centred approach to define it at this stage will make a better understanding to use it at the third stage. The define stage will help to collect ideas to establish features, functions which allow to solve the problems and at this stage, questions are asked to be executed by the people and to progress to the third stage. Let me give an example, instead of introducing the problem of a manager or a company, instead of “the company targets to increase the healthy food to country boys by 10%”, problem definition could be “country boys need to eat healthy food to perform better, being healthy is healthy for our nation.”

Stage of ideation- at this stage, on the basis of past learning, designers start to generate new and novel ideas now, as users are now understood in the first stage and analysis and synthesization of them have been done in the second stage and concluded a human centred problem statement (Baker & Moukhliss, 2019). This background is fundamental in that it allows the team to think out of the box to identify novel solutions to the problems, I have read about many ideation techniques like brainstorming, worst possibility, brain write etc. Here it should be noted that thinking of many solutions and innovative ideas increase the chances of best productivity and efficiency. One has to choose the best ideation technique which suits the nature of the problem and which are best to test the ideas on a practical basis.

Prototype- The team of the design thinking will now select a number of the ideas which are cost efficient and reflect the maximum probability of the best solution and will cast scaled down versions of the features of the product, thus to investigate the problem generated in the previous stage. These prototypes can be investigated within departments or a group of people who are not directly related with the design team (Dam & Siang, 2020). This stage is also an experimental stage and the aim is to predict the best solution with highest positive probability. These solutions are thus implemented into the prototypes and are tested one by one. As soon as this stage ends, the design team will gain the best idea of the ill-factors of the product or the situation and will have a clear view about the people’ behavior and thinking about using that product.

Testing- The design thinkers evaluate the complete product using the best selected solutions which are selected during prototype. This is the final stage of this procedure but this must be noted that different problems or situations can redefine the order of these five steps as and when required because these steps are so much interrelated and provide information for the homework of the next stage that these cannot be strictly defined in a fixed order every time (Liedtka, 2018). The results of the testing are used to redefine the problems and to inform the total behaviour of the end user. Changes and alterations can be made in this stage also as to rule out the second best and for a deep understanding for records.

Personal Learning and Improvement

What I believe is that the benefit of design thinking has not been incorporated in the education curricula. A creative mind-set to develop relevant and fundamentally strong programs for the students cannot be seen in schools or colleges. Failure is very important to learn and basic human nature is to avoid failure, I believe that design thinking should be included in the curriculum as it demands practical approaches to a situation or study from both teachers and students which cultivate many times productive learning and mind-set.

Design thinking helped me in several ways-

Empathy- My prejudices have been lowered for any new situation as I have started to work with design thinking. More questions pop up on my mind and I look for other solutions and such problem to compare my project.

Define- Redefinition of the problem can only be possible when empathy develops, and I have noted that indifference has been developed and first-hand information is more interesting for me now. I see the end question of what productivity will a project will give to the end user is the crux of its success. A bird view perspective of looking at the problem is being developing in me.

Ideation and feedback- after I started problem solving in the design thinking prototype, I seek feedback from a number of people, which was previously worked only on my belief system. Generating multiple ideas to problem solving has increased my thinking and opened up my avenue for out of the box thinking by multiple ideation techniques of which worst possible is my favourite.

Action plan for Second Hand Market of High Brand Clothes

The action plan has been developed for the next six months in which I will work on a project of second hand market of high branded clothes and apparel. In these six months I will give 1 month to each step of the project for design thinking and the additional month be the provisional for any step which requires further studies and/or deeper understanding.

In the step one of empathising I will try to find out the actual reasons behind purchasing high brand clothes and will include several factors which will be emotions, needs, durability factors etc. and the percentage of these factors on the total amount spending of the target people will be quantified. And the factors which provide the best understanding of the buying behaviour of customer for these high branded clothes and apparel. The uncomfortable reactions after buying of the high branded clothes will be studied case by case and tried to find out actual deviation from the plans of the companies that took place.

In the second step of defining the problem statement, the analysis of the uncomforted producing deals will be done and what wrong happened according to the company’ plans and then I will synthesize these problems to find out the core problem statement. I will try to find out the basic problem with the help of some statistical tools including the standard deviation, testing of hypothesis, correlations for the probable cause and effect which were hypothesized in my previous step. This statistical analysis will help to quantify the data with accuracy and will increase the probability of success of the possible solutions selected as consumer behaviour can be as wide as the number of consumers.

In the third step for ideation, On the basis of the background of the previous steps, the information generated will be used by me to create a number of ideas of solution about the basic problem which I will state. This stage will demand the out-of-the-box thinking pattern and previous problem solving of the second hand apparel companies will be checked and errors will be found on the basis of market respond to those corrections. Then I will make select some relevant ideas which will stand against the ills accounted in the previous solutions to the problems.

Prototype and planning, in the fourth stage of design thinking strategy of my project, I will apply all the information qualitative and quantitative to identify the best possible solutions which can be adopted to minimize the risks and to apply against the shortcomings of the problem of second hand apparel sector.

Testing phase, the final stage, the solutions which have been shortlisted by the above steps will be tested against some parameters made in the third stage and to test them to find if anyone gain traction, this stage will decide the completion of the design thinking procedure because this stage will tell whether I need to go back to the previous stages to correct some mistakes which will be identified in this stage only, and thus a month’s provision may be used. Most probably, I will use that one month in finding out the problems in the previous stages to make my procedure better than what was found out after the last stage.

References for Role of Innovation in Creating a Competitive Advantage

Baker, F. & Moukhliss, S. (2019). Concretising design thinking: A content analysis of

systematic and extended literature reviews on design thinking and human?centred Design. Review of Education 8(1).

Caprelli, L. (2020). 7 reasons why innovation is important. Retrieved from https://lisacaprelli.com/7-reasons-innovation-is-important/

Dam, R. & Siang, T. (2020). 5 stages in the design thinking process. Retrieved from https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/5-stages-in-the-design-thinking-process

Distanont, A. & Khongmalai, O. (2018). The role of innovation in creating a competitive advantage. Kasetsart Journal of Social Sciences. DOi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.kjss.2018.07.009

Foster, M. (2019). Design thinking: a creative approach to problem solving. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2379298119871468

Hoffman, L. (2016). 10 models for design thinking. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@elizabeth7hoffman/10-models-for-design-thinking-f6943e4ee068

Irbite, A. & Strode, A. (2016). Design thinking models in design research and education.  International Scientific Conference 4. DOI: 10.17770/sie2016vol4.1584

Liedtka, J. (2018). Exploring the impact of design thinking in action. Darden Working Paper Series 434. Retrieved from https://designatdarden.org/app/uploads/2018/01/Working-paper-Liedtka-Evaluating-the-Impact-of-Design-Thinking.pdf

Sarwar, A. & Fraser, P. (2019). Explanations in design thinking: new directions for an obfuscated field. The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation 5 (4). 343-355

Sczcepanska, J. (2017). Design thinking origin story plus some of the people who made it all happen. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@szczpanks/design-thinking-where-it-came-from-and-the-type-of-people-who-made-it-all-happen-dc3a05411e53

Siang, T & Dam, R. (2020) Design thinking: get a quick overview of the history. Retrieved from https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/design-thinking-get-a-quick-overview-of-the-history

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Management Assignment Help

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