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  • S.LAB | Constructing Enterprise's Innovation Ability with Design Thinking

    23 November 2016
    S.Point, Member Firm (China)

    The term "design thinking" has been mentioned more and more in recent years, and its function has been widely publicized and even exaggerated. In simple terms, it is a kind of creative problem-solving capability. Design thinking emphasizes a people-oriented definition of problems always based on people's needs and experience and seeks solutions through a series of visual and image of visual and concrete means. Design thinking is not mysterious, but it is not easy to make good use of it.

    Today, S.LAB will share some of the experience we have accumulated in the use of design thinking to help companies build their innovation capability.

    How to change

    Generally speaking, a thinking mode needs practice to become a habit, and design thinking is no exception. For organizations, design thinking needs to be learned by individuals and teams to eventually become a habit of organizations. It includes:

    • People oriented: Everything starts from user needs and experience.

    • Put forward a good question: A good question is more important than the answer. Innovation is a journey of learning and discovery rather than a path known from the very beginning.

    • Left and right brain thinking: Integration of inspiration, logic analysis, creativity and strategy.

    • Systematic thinking: Thinking from the perspective of the entire ecosystem to understand the appeals of different stakeholders.

    • Cross-domain cooperation: To enable close cooperation between talented people with different backgrounds to break the thinking pattern through communication.

    How to implement

    Domestic complex and ever-changing consumer demand continues to bring new challenges to all kinds of companies, as well as gives birth to a number of special user-centric innovation models.

    We see many excellent enterprises are walking at the forefront of innovation. For example, Xiaomi has created a loyal fan community through the C2B model and realized joint product creation by both the company and its users. Haier has transformed from a traditional manufacturing enterprise into an innovation incubator through the integration of a platform-based enterprise, personalized users and staff consisting of “makers”, which have brought new vitality and creativity for Haier. The customer value-oriented WeChat updates quickly despite its position as the No. 1 domestic social media. Alibaba, built on a large platform of massive e-commerce transactions, gives business power with data.

    This means that any innovative approach must advance with the times, and that design thinking needs updating.

    Methods and tools

    Design thinking and Innovation capability, after being much talked about, have become a slogan, even a vague concept for many companies. In fact, design thinking-based innovation capability is a series of constantly-evolving specific methods and tools.

    • Innovation capability - insight: When market demand gets more and more complex and changeable, enterprises need more abundant research methods, and innovation teams need to combine anthropological in-depth study and online and offline behavioral data to seek opportunities for innovation in a clearer user image and behavior scenario.

    • Innovation capability - imagination: Innovation needs a burst of inspiration, but it also requires the help of strategic thinking to evaluate and screen creative ideas. Meanwhile, an innovation team needs both left and right brain thinking and professional design abilities to quickly present abstract product and service concepts in a concrete and story-telling way and collect feedback and verify assumptions as soon as possible.

    • Innovation capability - action: We emphasize "more action and less talking", "small and quick updates" and "build to learn". We don't wait until everything is perfect to start contact with users, but use a simple prototype to make rapid verification for angel users. When it's found that the direction of innovation needs adjustment during assumption verification, the innovative team should be good at quick updates and even direction change.

    From methods to practice

    The above methods for building Innovation capability of organizations are just a general introduction to the field of design thinking. To truly acquire innovation capability, enterprises need solid step-by-step practice and a process of trial and error.

    S.LAB is trying a variety of forms to help enterprises build up their innovation capability, including workshops, joint creation projects, and joint innovation centers.

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