Nov 16 / Dr Karen W Miller

Do you have a way to systematically innovate in your business?

Challenging many growth champions is a way to systematically and routinely innovate within their business. This could be looking at new processes, ways of doing business, new offers to the market, ways of making complex decisions or looking at the wicked problems. 

Each of the aforementioned take time and effort and don't always result in innovations. There are many reasons for this.  Often, teams aren't on the same page as their leader, or aren't really sure how to activate their creative juices when required.  Sometimes its because teams don't have a system to help with being creative.  Sometimes its because people aren't sure how to be innovative in the business. 

The 4D double diamond design thinking framework is a systematic way to be routinely innovative. Once the 4D double diamond design thinking framework is learnt, understood and implemented, it can be used on a regular basis with teams. Doing this helps teams to be on the same page as their leader, as they work through each of the steps. The leader teaches the teams each of the steps.  Together they work to solve problems, make decisions and address change by being routinely innovative. 

The 4D double diamond design thinking framework begins with discovery followed by defining, then designing and lastly doing.  You will find many other design thinking frameworks out there. We find this framework is proven with a range of businesses when seeking to routinely innovate on a regular basis. 

Design thinking is being embraced by leaders who are change makers, innovators, or creatives who seek to improve growth in their business. They do this by considering the needs of their customers, investors, suppliers and their talent. Design thinking is human centric. 

Design thinking is founded on the principles that every human is different and has a different viewpoint, and context. Differences are embraced.  

Using the 4D Double Diamond design thinking framework encompasses divergent thinking where the team purposefully seek different viewpoints.

In the discovery stage, the team are curious to learn and to hear what stakeholders have to say. They identify the relevant stakeholders first.  Then set about by hearing their views in a number of different ways.  This helps the team to better understand the different views and contexts.  This process continues until convergence is reached.  Convergence is reached when no more new information is forthcoming. 

On reaching convergence, the team are in a better position to understand the various contributing factors to the issues, any pain-points or benefits desired and so on.  At this stage the team may build a persona and/or an empathy map to explain their rationale. This enables the team to define what they hope to achieve. You will see in the double diamond framework that defining is at the point where the two diamonds meet and is the second stage in the 4D double diamond framework. 

If we are developing a solution of an offering for the market, then the third stage of the 4Ds again begins with divergence, as various solutions are sought in the design stage. Some of the many potential solutions are designed and tested, others are discarded.  Designed solutions are put through the desirability, viability, feasibility testing as part of the process.  This solution testing goes on until convergence is reached and a design is selected.

The fourth stage includes developing a minimal viable product for a market launch. The doing phase is the fourth stage in the 4D double diamond design thinking framework.  This is where the solution goes to market. Typically, at the doing stage there is the launch, then learning from the launch.  Often, this involves further tweaking and new updated models launching.  In the doing stage, the focus is on doing, learning and growing. 

The 4D double diamond design thinking framework is useful to use when leaders are making tough decisions, or when leaders face complex problems.  Design thinking is a go-to-tool for leaders who are looking for new ways to grow their business. The framework is mostly known for it's use in product/service innovation design or blue printing.  However, is usefulness is often underutilized as a way for understanding environments and making sense of them.  Design thinking is particularly useful in uncertain times. 

Leadingrowth offers various courses on design thinking and is one of the few institutions that provides in-depth courses for each of the four steps in the 4D double diamond design thinking framework. If you would like to learn more just ask, as we are happy to help. 

Dr Karen W Miller (PhD)

Using design thinking since 2008 to assist businesses with their growth goals, Karen has refined the process and reduced the complexity that can confuse those new to design thinking. Karen has been an academic for 17-years working across three universities and two private institutes teaching PhD, Masters, MBA and undergraduate students using design thinking when developing her courses. Karen has an abundance attitude and believes there is enough for everyone.  She uses this attitude when sharing her design thinking knowledge. Learning more about design thinking is a passion that Karen hopes to share to assist people to realize they can lead themselves, their team and their enterprises to routinely implement innovation into their lives. 
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