A design thinking approach to software development

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Although there are multiple approaches to developing a software, the one thing that is common is that their end result should be of use to the one most important person, the customer. An approach that puts the customer right in centre of the whole process is the Design Thinking approach. Design thinking is a creative approach that makes use of a designer’s toolkit to solve customer problems.

A key reason that many software solutions don’t resonate well with their customers is that they were developed without a thorough understanding of the customer’s problems and the ways in which they would actually use it. Empathy goes missing, in such cases. Customers are not always worried about the technology behind the solution. They are only worried about whether the solution makes their lives easier and solves the problem it was intended to.

So, what is Design Thinking?!

Design thinking is a human-centric approach that puts the customer at the centre and uses tools that help solve a problem through analytics and creativity. Solving the problem is the core of design thinking. It is a mindset where teams are thinking about the solution and the ways to solve the problem, rather than the problem itself.

In this approach, the software team focuses on the why of the problem before starting with the implementation. This comes by observing, and understanding customer behavior, problem areas.

Great Innovus’ approach to Design Thinking

At Great Innovus, we adopt the design thinking ideology to solve complex customer problems. We follow the Stanford design school’s approach to Design Thinking.  It is a 5 step process and goes into iterations as needed. The process starts with Empathy to defining the problem, then ideating solutions and picking the best idea to prototype (mostly a MVP – fail fast and fail cheap model), test it with real users and repeat the process as needed. 

As we know, empathy is the ability to put oneself in the other person’s shoes. It is the first step of the design thinking process as the emphasis is on empathizing with the customers in understanding their needs and finding out what they want. It is about looking at the solution from your customers’ perspective. Customer interviews, VOCs(Voice of Customer), and OVOCs(Observational voice of customer) are some of the methods we deploy to gain understanding.

With the understanding of the customer from the Empathy stage, we identify the problems in this, the Define stage. All the information gathered from the previous stage is analysed and assimilated, to define a clear problem statement.

Now that we have defined the problem statement, we brainstorm in the Ideate stage for possible approaches to solving the problem. The focus is on encouraging as many creative solution approaches from the team and noting them all down. A non-judgemental approach is encouraged to elicit out-of-the-box solution approaches. Each participant’s ideas are listened to with utmost care and debated upon to get a better understanding of the idea. We make sure to include members from cross-functional teams to generate ideas from different angles. The most suitable idea is chosen from among the ideas and shortlisted for prototyping.

This is the stage where the creation starts to happen. We build a working prototype that demonstrates the idea chosen from the previous stage. The aim of this stage is to build something that shows how the idea would work and to gain stakeholder feedback. The solution at this stage is not a perfect one.

The advantage of going with a prototype is to fail fast and fail cheap, so as to optimize resources. The feedback is then passed into the prototype and it keeps evolving.

This is the stage, where the rubber meets the road. The prototype is put to test by real users and their feedback is collected. We don’t just check if the functionalities are working but also keenly observe how users interact with the system to make it continually intuitive.

Why Design Thinking, then?!

  • Customer-centric design
  • Faster time to market
  • Check feasibility quickly and reduce resource wastage
  • Seamless communication among stakeholders
  • Clear solution roadmap

Great Innovus has been successfully delivering solutions based on this proven approach with steadfast customer-centricity. Apart from practicing ourselves, we have also been conducting workshops for our customers, partners on Design Thinking and enabling them to benefit from it.

Get in touch, to deploy the power of design thinking to address your problems.

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