Why Design Thinking? Design Thinking and Its Contribution to The New Product Development Process

By: Dr. Adilla Anggraeni MBA.

Design thinking was first introduced by Stanford University in as a part of encouraging innovative mindset of the students. It consists of five different stages: empathize, define, ideate, and prototype. What makes design thinking unique is the fact that it is an iterative process. A Harvard Business Review has suggested that there are three different scenarios in which a company would need to implement design thinking. First, when the company realizes that it has a strong need to focus on user experience. Secondly, is when the company has an intention to expand globally, and third is that aims to compete on  innovation rather than efficiency.

Design thinking is a rigorous approach to new product development that organizations can consider as part of their mindset.  The empathize stage for example, offers a very rich insight into the minds of customers. During this stage, a new product development team may gather different insights and see things from new vantage point, with the hope that the new perspectives may offer. Secondly, the define stage allows the new product development team to define the customer problems based on the insights that they have gathered.

The define stage may bring to light some customer problems that have been overlooked before. This stage also allows for the problem to be stated clearly, allowing possible solutions to be proposed in the ideation stage. As the name suggests, the ideation stage involves a discussion to generate ideas as possible solution to the problem. Usually, brainstorming is used as a method. It is important to encourage free flow of ideas during this stage to get ideas that may be unconventional or out-of-the-box.

Ideation stage can be challenging because it requires flexibility and acceptance to everyone’s ideas. To successfully pass this stage, each of the new product development team would need to possess several characteristics, such as being able to adapt, to connect seemingly unrelated concepts and attributes, and even turn the commonly held beliefs around to come up with innovative solutions.

Prototyping stage involves creating a simple model of the proposed solution that is aimed at refining the concepts and testing it later on. There are many forms of prototype. The simplest ones can be in the form of a paper prototype, a simple drawing that shows how the product is going to work. In the context of a creation of a new service innovation, the prototype can be in the form of user story or service blueprint.

The last stage of the design thinking process is called testing. During the stage, the prototype is tested based on two main criteria: technical and financial. Technical criteria are related to functions and capabilities of the new product or service, whereas the financial criteria allow for evaluation of market acceptance and potential sales of the new product/service.

Dr. Adilla Anggraeni, MBA. is currently the Deputy Head of Business Management and Marketing and Faculty Member in Business Management and Marketing Program at Binus Business School International Undergraduate Program. Further about her profile can be found here.


Dr. Adilla Anggraeni, MBA.