Design thinking for identifying needs and innovating

Design thinking for identifying needs and innovating 
Innovative practices from design are stimulating new dynamics in collaboration with a focus on co-creation and shared customer value. Traditional approaches to development typically engage a small set of actors who define and lead the development for others. In Design thinking, all actors who are impacted by a collaboration are part of the mix, who together, co-identify and create goals, processes and outcomes.

Design thinking is a process of developing solutions to problems through a systematic iterative method that invites exploration and exploitation of new ideas. As a general approach design thinking aims to open new spaces for creativity that foster deeper understandings of the problem, the needs of the customer, and what is possible within the collaboration to best meet the identified needs.

Design thinking involves five phases, each of which aims to help the group arrive at the best possible approach or design to meet the needs of the customer.  

Phase 1: Emphasize: The intent in this phase is to observe, listen, and engage with the context or problem of interest, dialogue, focus groups, surveys, storytelling, observations are among the tools that can serve to develop empathy.

Phase 2: Define: The second phase involves framing the problem by synthesizing what is understood and observed in stage 1.

Phase 3: Ideate: The third phase involves brainstorming and formulating solutions that can be developed and tested.

Phase 4: Prototype: During the prototype phase small-scale versions or parts of a larger solution are developed

Phase 5: Test: During the final phases, the prototypes are tested in real-life scenarios, typically on a smaller scale. As well simulations can serve well to test the prototypes.