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  • Academy of Design Thinking

Design Thinking Innovation - A Human Centred approach to solving complex problems

The world is changing at an unprecedented pace. The challenges we face are often complex, full of ambiguity, uncertainty and unknowns.  ‘Innovate or Die’ has become a mantra for many organisations, big and small. We are all expected to innovate in whatever we do, improve our products and services, create new products and services, be more efficient, do more with less, find new markets, innovate the business model, create excellence in customer experience, adopt new ways of working, make good use of technology.

The big question is HOW? How do you innovate? Companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, Airbnb, Fidelity, and many more use Design Thinking as a process to innovate, disrupt and grow. You can learn to use Design Thinking as a routine approach to innovation.

Not only at work - you can use it in life, to grapple with hard problems, when you are stuck, and do not know where to start.

What is Design Thinking?

If you google Design Thinking, you will find lots of definitions, and they all make sense. At ADT we define it as:

“Design Thinking is a human centred approach to solve complex problems in innovative ways, that delight people, make business sense and use the technology responsively”

Design Thinking is not the only approach to problem solving. Where the human centred approach differs, is in putting people at the centre. It starts with a deep understanding of human needs, empathising with people, their needs and desires, their goals and aspirations, their frustrations and pains. But it doesn’t stop there. It explores the business needs and whether we have the technology and the capabilities to carry it through.

Anybody can become a design thinker

The key to Design Thinking Innovation success rests in its application, the more you use it the better you will be. Once your mindset shifts from: “ I know all the answers” to “I need to hear some different perspectives”, “I need to understand more”, “what else have I missed”, you will not jump immediately to offer solutions. Instead, you will discover a bigger world of possibilities to explore. 

The secret of Design Thinking Innovation is simple: keep using it, until you make it your own. In the words of David Kelly:

Learning the skills of design thinking is like learning a musical instrument. You can understand the basics in one lesson, but it's through ongoing practice that you gain mastery and true creative confidence.”.

At the beginning you will use Design Thinking  “by the book”, same  as when you start cooking a new recipe, following the instructions to the point, measuring carefully every ingredient, getting upset if you are missing any of them. As you become more used to the approach  approach, you will start becoming a lot more creative in the way how you use it, how you embed it  in the context of your business, how you combine it with other methodologies you are familiar with, like project management, Lean, Agile, Fastpath, strategy etc. Staying  with it and mastering the application will bring value to the business and the people you are designing for. 

Where do you start? At the beginning! Get to know the fundamentals. By that I mean not just read about it, or hear a webinar, or a lecture. Start getting your hands dirty! Learn by doing! 

Join a practical course, where you can get both some theoretical part and ample practice of the methods and tools.  Academy of Design Thinking offers a course on Design Thinking Innovation that will take you from conceptual knowledge to meaningful, valuable practice that brings actionable results. 

Come play with us! And get a Certificate too that is recognised in UK and abroad.


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