“Ah, you are a design agency … you do design thinking as well”? It’s a bit of a hype isn’t it? We’ve tried design thinking, but it didn’t seem to work.”
Jürgen is one of our talents from dott.experiences. With his extensive years of experience in the field he has become one of our sources of truth when it comes to service design and design thinking.
I’ve heard it over and over on business events lately. Design thinking is getting lots of traction, and rightfully so, but it is being dismissed equally fast and for all the wrong reasons.
Design thinking looks deceivingly simple at first sight and feels very natural to most people when they are being introduced to it. As soon as it is being introduced, we see it getting simplified into “innovation in 8 easy steps” or “the 4-phased approach to customer-centricity”.
With that simplification, many organizations undermine the value potential of design thinking before they even get started. And that’s a shame! The use of the methods and tools drawn from the craftsmanship of designers continuously proves that they directly contribute to making organizations more innovative and more human. For me, one thing stands out in those simplifications. It’s the same aspect of design thinking that systematically seems to be omitted: synthesis. Synthesis is where you transform the data that you have gathered into insights and guiding principles on which you build the rest of your innovation and transformation process.
This is no coincidence as synthesis can be really hard to do well. It is probably the hardest part of the entire methodological process. On top of that, this step is the least linked to a specific tool and the most difficult to learn in a short workshop.
And still, this is likely the most crucial step in design thinking. And the most influential one to the quality or innovativeness of the outcomes of your process.
That’s why I want to share with you what you need to aim for during synthesis:
Your synthesis must provide you with one or more new facts about your customer’s preference or behavior that you didn’t know until you viewed it from their perspective.
Every iconic design, from architecture to business service has a novel way of looking at the problem at hand.
The specific description of the outcome for which you will search the best way to achieve it.
Finally your synthesis needs to produce a set of design criteria. These are the characteristics that your design has to meet.
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