The anatomy of
a ‘Design Thinker’

Put down your egos and put customers first

When I started out as a creative I always felt that what set me apart from my co-workers and clients was the ability to approach problems with a sprinkling of lateral thinking, a dash of creativity and a good slug of instinct.

I used to think that my ability to design something well was more than enough to engage my intended audience and help them see the world the way I did? As a designer I designed, developers developed, strategists strategised, and uxers… (well they probably didn’t even exist then!)

Working together is key to delivering the best results, but what does the ‘best’ really mean? I suspect it used to mean increased conversion metrics or site engagement, and improved ROI or brand look and feel etc.

But what ‘best’ should mean now is a fundamental shift and realignment of the company / customer relationship into something more symbiotic.

The landscape is changing and in an evermore competitive market companies need to understand their customers more than ever. No longer creating competitive products instead, they need to design attractive services that work with their customers for their customers resulting in solutions to their problems, greater trust, improved experiences and increased brand loyalty, all of which will help to transform your clients business.

Where I work currently we now use service design to drive digital transformation for our clients.


This is not how we always did things but in recognising the need for a new approach, (admittedly one that embraced a lot of good practices we were already employing) we decided to redefine our proposition and reflect on our cultural values and re-educate the whole team as to what it means to practice ‘Design Thinking’ *(More on how we did this next time)


Design thinking is not about thinking like designers


As designers we undoubtably have a small advantage as we have already been trained to think a little differently, with an open mind, but it is how we apply those skills that will set designers apart within an organisation moving forward. It is our responsibility to be the champions of this mentality and facilitate workshops, embrace techniques and cultivate the methodologies. We need to foster an environment that services the needs of our clients and their customers. By putting our training to good use designers will become the the catalysts forbusiness change and might dispell the myth that we don’t deserve a seat at the top table.

If you are not sure where to start then if you can remember and focus on these 5 things then you wont go far wrong.

5 things to remember

  1. Foster a culture of collective responsibility
  2. Keep the user’s needs and emotions at the forefront of the process
  3. Challenge and understand the BIG question
  4. Think creatively, collaboratively and visually, to surface innovative ideas
  5. You will need to iterate to improve

I have been fortunate enough to learn from some great creative leaders who have helped me put down my ego and put customers needs first. I still want things to look beautiful (I will never sacrifice that) but I have learnt the value of trusting the team around me to work together to deliver the right solutions to the key problems to the best standards.

If you liked this or found this helpful please let me know but over the course of putting this together I came across a few blogs you might like to read also. Enjoy.

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