Design Thinking: Creativity Meets Logic


Design thinking is just like root cause analysis in that it involves peeling back the layers of an issue to achieve the optimal solution. Businesses often use this method because of its general effectiveness. In design thinking, complex problems that have numerous factors are pulled apart in a predetermined series of steps until the original cause is discovered.


Initially, of course, the problem must be identified. Doing so is the overall basis of the design thinking process. From there, the question of why is asked. Why is the problem happening? Which brings us to the next step of answering our own question. The cause of the problem is then labeled. For instance; customer checkout times at a local grocery store see a dramatic increase during rush shifts.

Design thinking takes us through those steps again and again until you hit the initial cause of the problem. Now, keep in mind that using the term “design” refers to the way things function. The customer checkout time has increased because there are more training cashiers that are getting used to the job than there are cashiers with experience that do not require supervision so the transactions take longer to process. A way to fix this would be to not train as many cashiers during the rush shifts and to instead substitute cashiers that are more time efficient.


By using experienced employees during rush shifts, customer checkout time decreases and eliminates the problem. Design thinking brings resolve to our questions of “why is this happening” and “where did it all begin” by acting as a guide to the optimal solution, or at least one that can be experimented with. Perhaps switching cashiers doesn’t solve the problem. What else could management do?

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