Type ‘Design Thinking process’ in Google search and select ‘Images’. You will get a bunch of processes all more colored than the others. Are there indeed different processes? Some better adapted than others?
In fact, all are variations of the Stanford’s one. And this one -compared to the others- is beautiful in its simplicity.
Beyond a marketing differentiation, each of us takes over such process with a personal interpretation insisting on some characteristics.
We did it as well to insist on some key cultural changes required in companies:
- An iterative process enabling to go back at any time. It requires giving enough autonomy to the teams without any Stage-Gate constraints. It might be tricky for companies used to linear ‘predictable’ processes.
- Divergence and convergence phases symbolized with bubbles of different sizes. Companies focused on Operation Excellence might be reluctant to divergence.
- The most critical steps with a color code from green to red are
- Observation is often the most neglected. It asks to ‘get out of the building’ to meet the users with a true open mind.
- Testing requires as well asking and actively listening the feedback of users without feeling defensive.
- Defining the users’ need depends on the capabilities to synthetize the observation, to take a stand and to align within the team…
- Finally, the implementation often fails because of a lack of project continuity
- Maybe we could have colored in orange prototyping. It requires accepting imperfection despite the company culture. Perfection is not part of Design Thinking, agility and speed are.
One of the key challenges in Design Thinking is the collaboration of transverse teams, cross-silo to the benefits of all. It is not visible in such figure representing this process.
Those challenges need to be acknowledged and managed. Coaching and a team work over a long period help.
Apparently very simple, the Design Thinking process greatly challenges many company cultures. These are opportunities to transform them via innovation and to propagate step by step with the top management support. The latter is essential to develop and sustain this new know-how. The leaders are role models in their own environments!