Design Thinking Process to Improve Product Development

May 17, 2022

Eteva Team

Digitally transforming and empowering organizations, enabling them to disrupt their own industry | Eteva Tech | LinkedIn

A lot of times when a new product is designed with the perfect ideas in mind that fulfil the demands of the market, it somehow fails to garner traction and profitability in the marketplace. Predicting the success of a new product is difficult, and some even believe that it is impossible. Financial investment and process improvement cannot ensure product success, as we’ve seen in countless industries.

So what can be done to minimize these risks and identify exactly what the market needs? Well, since no method of product development can ensure success while also allowing for rapid market entry, businesses are always looking for new approaches to reducing product development’s inherent risk. More and more companies are adapting the MVP (minimal viable product) approach these days in which a product may be released to narrowly specified markets rapidly, reducing the risk of generating something that customers don’t want or no longer require. This type of approach is largely dependent upon design thinking.

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is a problem-solving approach that uses empathy to identify what people want and how technology can meet those needs today. Using empathy, we may build products and services that are tailored to fit individual customers’ requirements. This approach is increasingly becoming an integral part of business strategy as it is a human-centred, interactive learning method that focuses on customers as individuals with stated needs and works backwards to a technical solution as a framework for product creation. This provides a deeper understanding of how a company’s products are valued in the marketplace and provides a level of clarity on corporate objectives.

Since the focus of design thinking is on the end-user, we are able to see user behaviour from a fresh perspective. It could lead to more customer-centric tactics being adopted by corporations because it necessitates that we question our assumptions and reframe challenges in order to come up with strategies and solutions that aren’t immediately evident.

The stages of Design Thinking

1. Empathy is the first step.

It’s important to get to know the individuals who will be using the product you’re building before you begin the design-thinking process. A deeper knowledge of the issue at hand is gained by doing so. Empathising with users can be achieved in a variety of ways. Imagine that you’re trying to improve the onboarding process for new users. Talk to a wide variety of actual users during this period. Ask yourself questions while observing what they do, think, and want. Gathering a large number of observations is the goal so that you can begin to understand your customers and their perspective.

2. Defining the problem

Compiling and analysing the information acquired in the last stage, this stage of design thinking focuses on defining the fundamental challenges you’ve observed. The challenges must always be human-centric and shouldn’t be considered from a product perspective. If you’re working with a UI/UX design team, it’s important that you’re able to ask questions that assist your team think outside the box and looking at the problem from multiple perspectives that can be further characterised into audience-focused problem statements.

3. Ideate a plan of action.

In the last few steps, you’ve gained a deeper understanding of the user’s pain points and precisely identified the problem your team will be working to solve. Once you’ve recognised an issue, the next stage is to brainstorm possible solutions for it. The product development teams have to come up with innovative solutions and think creatively in order to have a product built for success. Bring your team together and brainstorm a wide range of concepts. As a final step, have them collaborate with each other, mixing and re-creating each other’s ideas.

4. Prototypes are the fourth step.

Once you’ve come up with a variety of potential solutions to the issues identified, narrow your list down to a few and begin prototyping. The solutions from the ideate stage can be thoroughly tested by building a prototype of the product. The goal is to find the most effective solution to every problem encountered. Develop several low-cost prototypes so your team may test the hypotheses you’ve produced.

5. Put it to the test.

It’s time to evaluate the usability of your functional prototype to see if it addresses the issues you identified in the Define the Problem stage. Your prototype should be put to the test in front of actual customers to ensure that it meets your objectives. Continue testing as you move forward with implementing your vision. If usability issues are discovered during tests, they are often utilised to return to earlier stages of design thought to re-evaluate the problem and come up with a solution.

 

Design thinking is a problem-solving strategy and product development teams are encouraged to experiment with new and out of the box design concepts. Empathising with the users can help you gain a large audience base and minimise the risks of failures. Iterative design thinking will be the norm in the coming future and it’s best to keep up with the trends.

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