Empathizing and generating the best ideas, key factors in Design Thinking innovation
18 de September de 2018
18 de September de 2018
Enric Bayó, the Director of Business Innovation at the ACCIÓ, the business promotion department of the Catalan Government, led a new session of the Focused Program on EAE Business School's online campus. The session was entitled "Design Thinking: a key factor in business innovation" and it focused on designing new business products and experiences that go beyond simply functional aspects.
At the start of the session, Bayó explained two innovation methodologies, linear and iterative, and three different levels, incremental, adjacent and radical. From that starting point, he went on to differentiate between the approaches using the example of a company like Hewlett Packard, which combines these three levels when innovating, depending on the process that they want to carry out, taking two variables in account as points of reference: market risks and technological risks.
When we embark on an innovation project, he explains that, in the beginning, we can make lots of changes and the cost of these changes is extremely low. However, as we move forward with the project, as the investments we make get larger, we become increasingly committed and making changes becomes more and more complicated and expensive. Therefore, "it is advisable to make changes at the beginning because it is cheaper and more economical".
The innovation expert established three innovation methodologies used nowadays by companies, although these are not the only approaches: Stage & Gate, a linear methodology that focuses on deliverables used in well-established companies; Lean Startup, more focused on potential customers; and Design Thinking. The last of these is the innovation model recommended by Bayó as it is based on resolving a problem in order then to identify the way of making the solution profitable.
There are five phases of Design Thinking: empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping and testing. The process starts with empathizing with potential users, reformulating and generating insights to define the specific problem to be resolved. The next phase involves generating the largest number of ideas, selecting the best and starting to prototype. "Everything can be prototyped, not only a product", explained Bayó.
When it comes to empathizing in Design Thinking, we have to be open and strive to understand the customer, explained innovation expert, who defines insights as "the reason why, the motivation behind a user's behaviour when faced with the specific problem at a particular time". In addition, he added that, "in the Design Thinking methodology, we empathize to try to understand the reality through the user's eyes, making their problem into our own problem". To achieve this, we have to focus on the desirability for the customer, the benefit that they perceive. This requires us to make a great effort to understand these users, their motivations, routines, concerns and aspirations. To empathize, Bayó specified different roles and techniques: detective (analysing data), journalist (speaking to users), anthropologist (observing users) and imitator (being the user).
After empathizing in Design Thinking, the next phase consists of defining through: people techniques (types of users), empathy and synthesis maps (a point of view based on which different solutions can be developed). The following phase consists of ideating. "It is a matter of generating the maximum possible number of ideas to resolve this problem", explained the innovation expert, who underlined the importance of generating varied ideas, before going on to select the best.
To generate the best ideas, Bayó recommends "multidisciplinary teams with different points of view" and paying great attention to the questions asked: "It is important to know how to ask questions. The best questions will lead us to the best ideas". Bayó emphasized the importance of self-confidence when putting ideas forward: "We are all creative and we have to believe it. Original ideas emerge when we have been generating ideas for a long time. If we do not like an idea, we should try to build on it and the try to generate a better idea" he explained to the students of EAE Business School.
In the last part, focusing more on conclusions and the most significant aspects of the Focused Program session, the innovation expert recommends concentrating on the creative focus, being visual whenever possible, not passing judgment, striving to find a large quantity of ideas, fostering the generation of bold and original ideas and using creativity techniques, such as brainstorming. To finish off, once the best ideas have been selected, Bayó advises drafting an information sheet on each idea individually, analysing the following four fields: need, approach, benefit and competition.