Promoting Innovation Through Design Thinking

By: Shanza Anwaar

In a world with an unprecedented amount of global connectivity and accessibility to new tools, it is shocking to learn that since 1990, creativity scores among children have consistently inched downwards.

American researchers have revealed that creativity is declining and this hypothetical “creativity crisis” could hinder innovation in the future. Yet, recent mobile technologies, the digitization of the manufacturing sector and the success of CES 2013 would state otherwise. In fact, one of the popular ways of fostering creativity in companies is by integrating Design Thinking in the company culture and overall innovation ecosystem.

What is Design Thinking?
Ade Mabogunje of Stanford’s Center for Design Research defines design thinking as the “intellectual activity, process, and attitude by which humans adapt to their environments.”  This method of thinking has risen into prominence as a result of several factors:

  • An ever-increasing need for innovation in all sectors to boost economic growth.
  • Design thinking heavily influences the “Economic Value Chain.”
  • Web 2.0 and the rise of Social Media are erasing the boundaries between businesses and customers.

How does thinking like a designer foster innovation?

Designers are people who not only inspire creativity, but embrace failure as a learning curve.  Thinking like a designer means trying out numerous possibilities, identifying problems and having the freedom to experiment.

Bill Burnett, the executive Director for Stanford’s Design program at states that “in order to be successful, you might need to completely re-engineer your company.”  Moreover, to cultivate innovation, skipping traditional market research and getting to know customers on a personal level is crucial.  “You’re looking for frustrations, processes that waste time or work-arounds people have found to accommodate poor designs” Burnett says.  Lastly, generating prototypes and “testing” them in the market gives your customers a way to engage with you and the product.   The feedback from clients ignites more creativity and thus, leads to more innovation.

To learn more ways to foster innovation in the corporate world, attend the Business Innovation Summit 2013 which will address the need for innovation as well as discussing the key corporate skills involved in nurturing an innovation culture.  For more information and registration, please click here.

Shanza is a Social Media Intern at Altitude Accelerator. Pursuing two undergraduate majors in anthropology and professional writing at the University of Toronto Mississauga, Shanza is also a co-editor and content writer at the Digital Enterprise Management Society. She hopes to make her mark as a Social Media Consultant.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal and professional experiences. Visit Altitude Accelerator for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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