Three Design Thinking Disruptors

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Design thinking is benefitting individual innovators and large companies alike.

In the last several years, design thinking’s popularity has skyrocketed as businesses learn the power of creativity to solve business problems. But for over a hundred years innovators have leveraged human centered design to disrupt industries.

1) When Henry Ford pioneered the Model T, he forever transformed how we think of transportation. As Todd Olson points out, the Model T “was not a marvel of technology, but of design.” Olson makes the point that Ford designed a simple car that was affordable for the middle class. Ford designed it so that it was as easy to operate as a horse and carriage. He made sure that his design would appeal to humans. The Model T was a true product of human centered design and engineering.

2) A juggernaut that helped make computers a household product in the 1990s, Microsoft has leveraged design thinking to “to deliver increased access, reduced friction, and more emotional context to the greatest number of people.” Microsoft calls their version of design thinking “inclusive design.” It is their mission to “empower every person on the planet to achieve more. Designing for inclusivity opens up our experiences and reflects how people adapt to the world around them.” They’ve applied design thinking to a Skype translation tool, social gaming, and the education space.

When put to action, design thinking is capable of creating incredible results for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

3) Nordstrom has used the principles of design thinking to quickly generate solutions that produce human centered design. The design thinking process is also about “making it real fast” and aiming to build an MVP (minimum viable product). This innovation strategy enables a business to build a prototype that customers understand while at the same time giving customers the chance to give feedback that will allow the business to turn their MVP into a finished product.   

The Nordstrom Innovation Lab Sunglass iPad case study is a superb example of how Nordstrom produced human centered design over a short period of time:

Human centered design has been at the core of innovation strategy and thinking for a long time. Some businesses have consciously wielded the design thinking process to disrupt while others have seemingly stumbled upon it. Striving to produce human centered design has proven successful time and time again.  

Want to learn how design thinking can change the way you innovate? Let’s have a conversation.

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