In recent years, the topic of “Design Thinking” has received increasing attention. Design Thinking is currently “hip”. If the pair of terms is entered in Google, the searcher will receive 61.6 million entries. About half of the companies listed in the DAX already use Design Thinking in their own companies. Some case studies may illustrate this. Design Thinking is used in many different ways in practice today: in product development, business model development and improving the customer experience. Due to the fact that most Design Thinking projects in business are subject to secrecy, it is difficult to give case studies. Unfortunately, the authors’ own projects could not be used for this purpose. However, a few case studies were found during the literature research, three of which will be briefly described below.
Case study GE Healthcare – Philosophy of the Design Thinking Team
GE Healthcare has a cross-functional organization called the global design group. The philosophy of the design team is translated as “The magic of science and empathy”. In an internal GE document, it is written: “Whether it is a product, user interface or user environment, our philosophy is to enrich this experience with technology, enthusiasm, hope and a deep understanding of human needs […]. Our design values [include] authenticity; empathic design, shared information and trusted relationships, imagination in the workplace, essential expression, and the science and mathematics of beauty (Lynx, Swan, and Griffin 2015).” In order to change the organisation in this respect, an initiative called “Menlo Innovation Ecosystem” (hereafter referred to as Menlo) was launched to ensure that more and more employees become familiar with the Menlo mindset (i.e. Design Thinking) and adopt it in their daily work. A project format was developed for this purpose, which essentially consists of five phases. Philosophy (“mindset”) and methodology follow the Design Thinking logic.
Phase 1, entitled “Exploratory”, is an intensive briefing of the project initiator (called “sponsor”), during which the team leaders enter into dialogue with Menlo employees to question and understand the Design Challenge. In this phase, the framework conditions for the project (duration, budgets, team composition, etc.) are also clarified.
Phase 2 is called “Boot Camp” and serves the team development both in terms of the relationship among each other and the necessary expertise.
Phase 3: Entitled “The Research Plan”, Phase 3 involves researching the users and the context of the problem in order to generate in-depth insights.
Phase 4: In the “Innovation Camp” the research results are presented, not only internally, but especially to the customers in order to get direct feedback from them.
Phase 5: The findings are condensed in such a way that problems are defined and prioritised from the customer’s point of view. In the same phase, solution ideas are created, built in the form of rough prototypes and tested again through confrontation with customers. Finally, three to five solutions are presented to senior management.
Design Thinking Workshop
Develop innovative solutions with your team
In the workshop, a team from your company develops solutions and pre-prototypes according to a special method.