Innovation and Design Thinking — Part 01

Juan Pacheco
Nov 10, 2020 · 4 min read

In the search of inspiration for innovation and Design Thinking.

Inspire new thoughts by discovering what people really need. In that way, innovation and Design Thinking are key elements of change process, because their strength lies in research and empathy with the client or final user, whom we intend to know and understand more closely.

“Don’t wait for the proverbial apple to fall on your head. Go out into the world and seek experiences that generate creative thinking.”

- Chris Flink, Executive Director, Exploratorium

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Design Thinking applied to innovation is about making changes through observation

The problem:

Consider why during COVID19 pandemic times, have part-time ventures proliferated? What is people’s unmet need?

The solution:

Innovation and Design Thinking involve observing natural people’s behaviors, which help you discover their unmet needs. Sometimes, you can’t just ask people what they need, because they won’t tell you for various reasons, however you can always learn a lot from them through observation, research, and of course tons of empathy.

Innovation and Design Thinking along with six tips for observation

When you are curious about real people regarding:

  • Their way of life.
  • The way they attend to their needs.
  • How they solve their problems, and
  • How they deal with day by day.

Once you’re able to answer these fundamental questions, you’ll spark new ideas on how to design better products and services for them. Below, I leave you six tips on how to observe people.

Look for things that trigger behavior

Some factors that become triggers for behavior are obvious, like road signs on a highway that tell us where to go. Others are more subtle, like the line printed on the edge of a train platform to warn passengers to stay away from there.

In this way, developing a keen sense of observation will undoubtedly help you a lot when you do field research and especially when you are implementing Innovation and Design Thinking as a strategy in your company.

Look for adaptations

Adaptations are hacks or workarounds that people develops to make a product or system work better or at least more suitable. What does the adaptation tell you about final user needs?

In general, the adaptations are non official product improvements and of course not considered by the company, however, they are there and many people are using them. Along that path, the best you can do is take advantage of these hacks and adopt them as improvements within an innovation and Design Thinking framework to make them official in the near future.

Look for what people care

Innovation and Design Thinking are processes based on research and empathy, which can tell us a lot about someone based on the stories they tell and the things they surround themselves with.

Here’s where the wealth of initial research adds substantial value to the process, providing a lot of information that is considered important insights in future improvements, or new features to be developed

Look for body language

People smile when they are delighted and hunch over when they are tired or detached. Interpreting people’s non-verbal language is an easy way to assess their emotional needs.

Some time ago I learned that the body screams, what the mouth is in silent. And if we put attention into the body language of our customers when they are using one of our products or services, we can see beyond what they will eventually respond to us with a survey.

Finally a pro tip, put special attention into the eyes of your customers. There’s a lot of thing you’ll learn just watching them.

Look for patterns

Pay attention when people repeat something. You may discover hidden patterns or routines, which may point to underlying needs or values.

When you are applying innovation and Design Thinking in the same process, finding patterns of behavior not only helps you to identify unmet needs. In addition, you can very easily establish new benefits of the product or services that you surely did not have planned and finally you are getting closer to the prediction of your customers’ movements.

Behavioral patterns are clues that users and customers leave us during the path they’re taking for, and we must learn to identify, to act quickly on them.

Look for the unexpected

Things that are hidden or that stand out in surprising ways often invite you to explore a deeper story.

And it is on this point where everything that has to do with innovation and Design Thinking in the company is based on, since by investigating, observing and empathizing with your final users you will surely discover things that you never thought would exist.

juanpacheco

Design Thinking coach and Senior UX Designer

Juan Pacheco

Written by

LATAM BDM (Business Development Manager) @ TCS Interactive | Design Thinking coach and Senior UX Designer, NLP practitioner since 2015. **opinions are my own**

juanpacheco

As Design Thinking coach, I’m working in product and service design from the visioning up to delivery. Unlearn things is a challenge, but so far is best way to create new one experiences.

Juan Pacheco

Written by

LATAM BDM (Business Development Manager) @ TCS Interactive | Design Thinking coach and Senior UX Designer, NLP practitioner since 2015. **opinions are my own**

juanpacheco

As Design Thinking coach, I’m working in product and service design from the visioning up to delivery. Unlearn things is a challenge, but so far is best way to create new one experiences.

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