Strategy & Innovation

Design Thinking: 11 tools that make it easier to practice!

9.3.2018
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Dynergie Expert
Innovation consulting agency

Before launching your innovation project and using the Design Thinking method, you need to be sure that the foundations of your project are solid. If this isn't the case (and even if it is), I invite you to read our article "how to make a success of your innovation project!"Design Thinking is one of today's major trends in the world of innovation. Some people can explain the method to you, but few can apply it correctly! In this article, you'll find 11 concrete tools to help you put this method into practice and reap all its benefits.

Design Thinking : Key points to remember

There are many definitions, each more complicated than the last... The only thing to remember about design thinking is that we're going to build an innovation that's totally in line with the user's expectations. All you need to do is respect a few basic principles:

  • Build a team with members coming from different disciplines (Marketing, Design, R&D ...) and get a close collaboration between them.
  • Spend time in the field, adopt an ethnographer's posture and remain objective.
  • Carry out numerous phases of creativity, in a logic of divergence/convergence.
  • Prototype, innovate incrementally and test each advance.
  • Always refocus your project around the end user and use their feedback to achieve perfection!
The key points of Design Thinking

The Design Thinking toolbox

To implement these tools, you need to adopt a particular posture and acquire know-how that can only be developed through practice. It is important to remember that these tools are part of an iterative process, so they will be used and improved throughout the project.

1. Stakeholder Map

Identify each part of your project's ecosystem, and then identify the interactions that exist between them. You need to define the framework of your project from the beginning. This will allow you to have a global view and to better understand the functioning and the relationships between the different actors. It is important not to forget any of them, because it will be increasingly difficult to integrate them later on.

2. Empathy Map

Following your observations and interviews, identify the thoughts, expectations and feelings of your users. Do the same with each actor of the ecosystem. This first phase of immersion in the field will allow you to better understand your users and identify their needs. It is essential to know how to put yourself in their shoes in order to achieve an innovation designed for them and not for you!

3. User path

Trace your users' journeys by taking into account their feelings and emotions. Then analyze each step independently and identify all the associated pain points! The goal is to determine the areas of work based on the current user experience in order to improve it.

4. Hopes and fears

Identify the concerns and fears, but also the expectations and desires of the team regarding the project. This first draft will give you a general idea of the potential of your project and the important themes to be addressed. It is useful to leave this poster in plain sight so that it can evolve throughout your project, until you no longer have any fears.

5. Idea Thumbnails

Generate as many "spontaneous" ideas as possible that address the identified pain points. Complement this first phase with creative sessions to diverge as much as possible.

Then rank all the ideas according to pain points and improve them. Try to make the basic ideas interesting and the "crazy" ideas doable.

6. Usage scenario

To improve your ideas, put yourself in the user's shoes, imagine several scenarios and build their best possible experience.

7. Prioritization grid

Rank and prioritize your ideas according to different criteria such as feasibility, market acceptance, company strategy, and those that seem important to you.

It is imperative that you spend time on defining the criteria as these will allow you to identify the ideas with the most potential.

8. Statements of Need

Reposition yourself and refocus your work around the end user by comparing the user's needs resulting from the initial pain points with the benefits provided by the selected solutions.

The objective is to see if the selected ideas respond completely or partially to the problems identified in the previous phases.

9. Assumptions and questions

Identify the hypotheses that are still untested as well as those where you still have doubts and prioritize them according to the risk they may generate.

The goal is to identify critical assumptions that you need to verify in the field as soon as possible.

10. Returns grid

Synthesize and classify all feedback and new information from the field tests (what worked, what needs to be changed, new ideas and unanswered questions).

This will allow you to confirm certain points and to plan the rest of the project.

11. Today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow

Build a "minimum acceptable experience", with the best feasible ideas, to project in the short term.

Then, project yourself in the medium term with the ideas that need to be reworked and finally, keep a long-term vision with the ideas that make you dream but that are not possible for the moment.

No innovation without business!

Innovation is a process that plunges us into an uncertain environment, in which we have to evolve by facing up to theunknown and changes. The method and tools presented in this article provide a concrete response to this problem.

You will surely arrive at the right solution, the one that will perfectly meet the user's needs and the one that will be accepted by the user.

However, you need to be able to step back and take a global view of the project, always keeping in mind the business side that will make your concept/idea a real innovation!

And for that, we advise you to use as a guide "The White Paper on Innovation through Uses in 6 key points" which will allow you to refine your idea and make your project succeed.


Dynergie Expert

Innovation consulting agency

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