The Business Value of Design Thinking

April 28, 2021

The Business Value of Design Thinking

For many years, the importance of design as a discipline has been overlooked by the corporate world at large. In fact, most people still think of designers as individuals who exist simply to make pretty objects and art. However, the impact of design on consumer psychology and behavior is something we can’t ignore.
The focus for this piece is geared towards the value of problem solving through design thinking and innovation, in relevance to business development and customer experiences.

What is Design Thinking?

According to industry leaders, design thinking is an iterative process – a continuous cycle that provides experts with a framework used to solve complex problems. It is a way of using systemic reasoning and intuition to explore ideal future states, always keeping the end-user in mind. The foundation of design thinking lies in the value it places on the importance of human-centered design, using empathy to place customers, clients and other stakeholders at the center of the problem-solving equation, first and foremost.
It is important to mention that design thinking methodologies are lean and aim to provide a structure that allows designers to critically analyze any problem, in order to pitch design solutions. However, it cannot be said that one framework is better than the other. Instead, it is a matter of how a particular framework is applied and facilitated by design thinkers and strategists alike.

Why Should Design Thinking Matter?

The answer to why design thinking should matter to a business is simple. A loyal customer or end-user is the single biggest advantage that any business can have, and if we as designers begin putting customers’ needs first and aim to solve their problems, undoubtedly, we will always come out on top. It is important for organizations to remember that good design can not only strengthen your user base, but it can also ensure growth and revenue.
In the past, the world did not fully comprehend the importance of customer experience or the many different levels of interaction a customer undergoes when using any particular product. However, today more people are finally beginning to recognize that a meticulous design thinking process can also double as an excellent business strategy aimed to solve problems and optimize customer satisfaction. A great example of this is the double diamond model that caters to iteration-based divergent and convergent thinking activities that help designers, business owners and other stakeholders to collaborate with one another.

Read more: 11 Pillars of Great Ecommerce User Experience

The Need for Human-Centric Design

With newer technologies and collaborative tools, designers and companies alike are now able to engage customers in a multitude of different ways, on an on-going basis, providing important information in real time. For this reason, user experience (UX) design has now become a major source of competitive advantage for industries, both locally and globally.
In the wake of the ongoing global pandemic crisis, this couldn’t be truer. As government-enforced lockdowns continue to change how people solve their problems, demand for mobile apps and intuitively designed websites has skyrocketed. Design teams are now finding themselves battling new UI and UX challenges to create products that satisfy ever-evolving consumer needs. To do this effectively, design teams have shifted their focus towards developing thorough understanding of consumer behavior to create products that drive tangible business outcomes.
When we think about some of the most iconic products from the past decade — at the expense of sounding a little cliché. Apple, Uber and even Airbnb stand apart from their respective competitors mainly due to their particular focus on human-centric design. This allows them to cater to real-world problems, thereby tying design with technology to bring the user experience to the forefront. As a result, they have also fundamentally changed the landscape of how the world perceives design.
Whether you are a strategist, or a CEO, or someone who is looking for ways to add value to your company, you need to start thinking about it in more experiential ways. Our client CPO – America’s leading online tool retailer – was struggling to break even with its eCommerce presence. The site’s user experience favored shoppers that already knew which specific products they needed and didn’t actively encourage more exploratory catalog browsing. Keeping the experience of every end-user category in mind, we redesigned CPO’s eCommerce site and within 6 months of its launch, saw its online KPIs increase dramatically. The client’s eCommerce revenue grew by 20.8% and conversions increased by nearly 30%. Moreover, the bounce rate decreased by nearly 8% which showed that CPO’s online shoppers loved their revamped experience.

The Value of a Culture Driven by Design Thinking

It becomes clear that a culture driven by design thinking serves to promote innovation, productivity, and growth while keeping consumer needs above all. Thereby ensuring that organizations, corporations, startups, et al maintain their competitive edge by identifying and solving the end-users’ problems via design thinking and thus, incorporating the strategy of experience design as an integral aspect of their business model.
A strategist or experience designer holds the primary responsibility to plan and take educated risks when executing the design thinking process. This means working closely with large cross-functional teams of researchers, designers, developers as well as company stakeholders — to design methodologies that enable in-depth user research to prototype and test new services and products, and create innovative systems that bridge corporate strategy with design innovation to optimize sales and boost growth.
Utilizing good design by following best practices is a sure-shot way to cracking the code. With growing traffic on mobile, our client Shoebacca encountered high bounce rates because their online store’s load speed and user experience weren’t optimal. With a mobile-first approach, our team built a Progressive Web App for them. The results became evident in just 3 months: bounce rate decreased by 16%, pageviews increased by 33% and page load times decreased by 32% on mobile phones.

Closing Thoughts

There is a wide array of opportunities that can help boost a product’s performance using practices founded on the principles of design thinking and experience design. Inevitably, the goal is to keep building a culture of innovation that is driven by design thinking process and facilitates every stakeholder involved, to foster empathy and open doors to infinitely vast possibilities.
Visionet’s expertise in human-centered design has helped companies in creating customer experiences that drive adoption and loyalty. With our methodical customer-centric design approach, we map out your customers’ journey across all their touchpoints to deliver a unified experience. Get in touch with our user experience experts today for a complimentary assessment