Use Design Thinking to Leverage Success

Entrepreneurs and design thinkers share a desire to put something better out into the world. You are innovators with aspiration.

Social entrepreneurship is on the rise but whatever kind of entrepreneur you are, here are lessons that drive success.

Leverage discovery.

Design thinkers push beyond boundaries and tradeoffs to find alternatives that encompass seemingly opposing goals. For example, providing better healthcare to more people at a lower cost. How? By staying in the discovery phase for longer to better understand the challenge.

Let your idea(s) evolve and grow.

You have probably put tremendous thought into this, believe you have a great idea and, probably do. However, great companies that stand the test of time, continuously evolve. IBM, once about business machines, now provides services.  Apple, formerly Apple Computer, introduced the now ubiquitous smartphone.

  1. Start with a great, diverse team. Creativity is collaborative. Diversity drives innovation. The design thinking methodology facilitates conversations across differences, getting you out of debate and into action.
  2. Start small. Evolve the concept over time. Design thinkers tackle big, complex, messy problems one piece at a time. Do not try to be all things to all people. Explore options that deliver greater value – that “wow” factor.
  3. Reduce risk. Leverage design thinking to evolve the concept and, consider how best to deliver the value. An idea is different from a great business concept that we can deliver effectively at a price point that works – as we say, “What wows and “What works”. Use the tools to learn and drive multiple options. Co-create with strategic partners. Design experiments to learn and refine.

Find the best path forward, quickly – without wasting time, resources and energy on the wrong concept or, delivery.

Go ahead and dream big. Design thinking will help you turn your dreams into reality!

This guest post is courtesy of Daisy Azer. She is an entrepreneur, principal at Waterbrand Consulting Inc., and adjunct lecturer of design thinking at the Darden Graduate School of Business. She is co-author, with Jeanne M. Liedtka and Randy Salzman, of the new book Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector (Columbia Business Press).


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