Design Thinking and Its Key Benefits

Design thinking is a business concept that has existed for many years. In fact, Thomas Edison is credited with some of the earliest ‘design thinking’ with regard to consumer goods. While many of us consider Edison to be the greatest inventor who created the light bulb, he actually surrounded himself with a team of brilliant minds and encouraged them to look beyond the ‘idea’ and to determine the ‘need’ that it could fill with consumers, the general public.

We think of the phonograph today as being the catalyst that boosted popular music through the 20th century. However, Edison envisioned it as a business tool for dictation, not music. This highlights the importance of design thinking from the outset of a project; one could devise a better system early on that could tap into the desires of the consumer public.

Design thinking can best be characterized as a

“methodology that imbues the full spectrum of innovation activities with a human-centered design ethos (Brown).”

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The CEO as Chief Innovator

In some companies, the CEO is simply a business person. Their job is to steer the company in the right direction by approving the best product lines and marketing approaches. However, these business-oriented CEOs often leave the creative aspects of creating products to others. This has never been true of Steve Jobs. When Jobs held the position of CEO of Apple, he was always seen as its chief innovator. In fact, it’s no stretch to say that the company is where it is today because of Jobs. Following his death, many have wondered if Apple will continue its innovative approach to creating electronics.

Jobs is Apple’s most famous co-founder. While Steve Wozniak and Mike Markkula, Jr., never became household names, Jobs has almost been synonymous with Apple from the beginning. One look at how the company began floundering during the twelve years Jobs spent away from Apple (between 1985 and 1997), it seems obvious that his innovative ideas were what drove Apple. Not only did Jobs come up with many concepts for products, he also was a great leader. He encouraged Apple team members to bring forth their own ideas, and his inspiration brought out the best in others. He had a vision for his company, and it was well-known that this vision drove him to excellence.

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The Power of Social Proof

In marketing, social proof is a tool used to influence customers to make a quick purchase decision, based on the actions of other people. It’s not a new concept, but the internet has injected a new life into it and became a powerful marketing tactic to increase awareness of a brand or a product.

Social proof capitalizes on people’s natural tendency to be influenced by groups of people whose actions are deemed the right behavior in ambiguous situations. Customers who are unable to make a decision tend to rely on other people’s comments, feedback, and suggestions in order to arrive at a purchasing decision.

The enormous power of social proof can manifest in different ways depending on which platform the business or the brand chooses.
To illustrate:

  1. Authors utilize reviews and ratings on Amazon to drive up book sales.
  2. Bloggers rely on many comments to drum up interest on the site or a particular post or article.
  3. Social media marketers and online personalities display their total number of followers, fans, friends, subscribers, and likes.
  4. Businesses use customer testimonials to attract even more customers.

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The Service Experience Design – What Is It?

Service experience has become essential to businesses that want to succeed in today’s global and highly competitive market. Service experience is basically the customer experience, or the level of service they receive from a company during any transaction. Service design experience, then, is the process by which a company organizes its structure, employees, and communication efforts to create a positive customer relationship from beginning to end.

Without a positive customer experience, business suffers. Even the largest companies in the world have learned the harsh lessons about customer service. Those that tout the lowest prices have discovered that even being the least expensive brand on the market isn’t enough to retain customers and keep business growing (an essential component to long-term goals).

Take a Moment to Consider Your Favorite Brands

Each person who has any level of interaction with a company, whether it’s purchasing products, shopping for goods in a store, or contacting customer support, will inevitably have a list of their favorite brands. Looking at your list of favorite brands, what is it about them that puts them at the top of the list? For most consumers, it’s a combination of the best products at a fair price (notice ‘cheapest’ is rarely ever a consideration) with quality service.

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An Overview of the MoSCoW Method

Whenever stakeholders are involved in either business decisions or software development, they will place specific requirements forward that are required or desired through the development of the program or business model. Prioritising these requirements is a vital component in the ultimate success of the project and the MoSCoW Method is a technique that is used to simplify the process.

Stakeholders can be defined as any individual, whether part of the business or client, who has a vested interest in whatever development is being planned. A stakeholder could be the owner of a company, executives, investors, or even a single client who requires a specific software program developed for a singular need.

The MoSCoW Method aims to create an easily definable process of understanding priorities and in which order they are most significant. Developed by Dai Clegg, an Oracle UK Consultant, he eventually donated the intellectual property rights to the MoSCoW Method to the Dynamic Systems Development Method Consortium (DSDM).

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An Overview of the Kano Model

The Kano Model is used in product development and focuses on the features of a particular product and customer satisfaction. It has a number of components to the model itself and is broken down into five key categories: one-dimensional quality, attractive quality, must-be quality, indifferent quality, and reverse quality.

The Kano Model was created by Professor Noriaki Kano in the 1980s and has since become an integral aspect of product development for many companies around the world. The underlying concept behind the Kano Model is that consumers have particular needs (must haves) and desires (wants) that they both consciously and unconsciously look for in the products they purchase. This is true for both regular necessities as well as one-time purchases.

The Five Key Categories of the Kano Model
The following list breaks down the five categories of the Kano Model:

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Overview of Google Fit

June 2014 witnessed the announcement of Google Fit, a health and fitness platform made for Google. While not being the most comprehensive and detailed of health apps, the Google Fit manages to stand on its own pretty well, letting users get all the basic functionalities of health and fitness tracking.

The Google Fit begins with a simple set up. Users download the app, install it by agreeing to the Terms and Conditions, and allow the app to access location and activity info. The location is used by the app to allow the user to see their progress in their exercise location.

Google Fit’s main features include:

Goals

What’s a health/fitness app without exercise and activity goals? Users can customize their daily goals according to their regular activity level or daily steps taken (walking) goals.

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Overview of Apple HealthKit

Apple’s very own health and fitness tracking app is Apple HealthKit, which provides detailed options as far as wellness/fitness tracking goes. The HealthKit is integrated into iOS, known as an easy to read dashboard that allows diet, activity, exercise, sleep pattern, and other data tracking.

The HealthKit is very active – and not just in the health functionality way. It uses the iPhone’s M7 or M8 sensor to pull user data, and data points can be individually granted or denied as per user preference. The HealthKit works nicely with third party apps to add extra functionality and also lets the user take full control over their information. Appla has given privacy a serious thought, which is a plus for many users. The HealthKit works with Mayo Clinic and Nike as well as other partners to give the full health and fitness experience.

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The Long Wow

The Long Wow is a means to achieving long-term customer satisfaction through systematically impressing your customers again and again. Going a step beyond just measuring satisfaction, the Long Wow is an experience-centric approach to fostering and creating it through innovation, focused product development and service design.

First, A Little Context

Businesses have begun to realise that the lofty goal of customer satisfaction might in fact be a red herring. A satisfied customer isn’t necessarily a loyal customer; today’s satisfied customer might find even more satisfaction in your competitor’s offerings tomorrow. And so we’ve started to see the rapid diffusion of tools like the Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Experience Score (CES) and Voice of Customer (VOC) which try to quantify loyalty and satisfaction. Such measures are popular because they track behaviours that create economic value: a customer recommending your brand to a friend, or a customer returning to buy from you again. But measuring loyalty and satisfaction doesn’t create either.

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Innovative Design by Building on the Past

One of the business strategies that has kept Apple at the top of the electronics industry is the fact that the company has rarely rolled out a brand new product that had no connection to an earlier design. In fact, a look at the company’s history shows that Apple actually has very few distinct product lines. Most of their products are actually product families. For example, the iPod family includes the iPod, the iPod Mini, the iPod Touch, and the iPod Nano. While each of these products has done very well, they all serve the same function and are related. This may sound like a detriment, but it’s actually one of Apple’s biggest strengths: the company builds upon its past products while still incorporating innovative designs and features.

Apple’s products have always been built with two design philosophies in mind: make products that everyone could use, and make products that are simple in design and operation. Simple doesn’t always mean eliminating needed functions, of course, but in many cases, it meant removing things that weren’t always necessary. Sometimes, in fact, it meant removing things that were once seen as innovative and necessary. The first iMacs, for example, gained a lot of popularity because they came in five bright colors. Today, iMacs are all white and have lost their unique pod-like design. The iPod, on the other hand, went the opposite way: the first models were stunning silver, and it seemed like that sleek look was going to be the calling card of the device. Today, though, iPods are available in multiple colors. The iPhone has gone from a device controlled by Apple to one with a healthy group of developers and third-party apps.

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