When ‘The Da Vinci code’ became a best-seller, it created a sudden curiosity about Leonardo da Vinci and his work, for the younger generation. There were many memes and mail trails, that listed some of the amazing work that Da Vinci had attempted and succeeded in his lifetime. In fact, his Wikipedia introduction lists up to 15 areas as “main areas of strengths “on varying topics from Music, Maths, Anatomy, even History and not to forget Art. He had the ability to think analytically as a mathematician or an astronomer and still tap into creative ideas while painting his masterpieces. This duality in thinking, is the reason why some of his inventions are still being replicated into reality even today. Along with a high degree of usability his inventions involved precision planning. Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the early Design Thinkers.
What is design thinking? It’s a solution based approach to problem solving. Solution seekers need to be perceptive, creative and think of all possible problem scenarios and then arrive at the best possible solution or solutions. It was initially perceived that ‘creative thinking’ belonged to more design heavy industry like architecture or even furniture manufacturers. Design thinking is a confluence of both the analytical thought and synthesis thinking- that is someone who is using both the left brain and the right brain. The divergent thinking looks at various options, ideate on solutions and continue to ask “why not and what if” questions till a solution is arrived upon. The convergent thinking helps in finalizing on the ideal solution for the problem from the many ideas. This thinking narrows down on specifics and taking steps into logical conclusions. The convergent thinker asks “what next and if /else”. Design thinking combines both these thoughts and hence is complete solution to a problem. In all these technicalities, we might simply miss an important point, that is, design thinking involves empathy and responsiveness in arriving at the final solution.
In the technology industry when so much is dependent on logic and reasoning, the general assumption is, design thinking would be very difficult to adapt as disciplined approach. However, on the contrary, the technology industry is rampant with some fantastic design thinking that has changed the way of life- in fact this is THE disruptive sector due to its design thinking.
Let’s take the example of the 1st generation iPod when it was released. The concept of how music is stored, searched or exchanged changed forever because the new iPod design was adaptive. Minimalistic keypads, a single home button, pocket and hand friendly and absolutely sleek. It became a “must have”, status symbol. If Apple products are an example of tangible design thinking, then both Google search engine and the Amazon websites are early examples of good design thinking software ideas. These websites are intuitive i.e. able to fore-see options and ideas for the user. This empathy for the user is the biggest driving factor for the success of these products. To simplify, it uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with technological feasibility and logical thinking to create a viable business strategy or create customer value.
In the software industry, organizations provide value-added service when they are sensitive to the customers needs. Ushering a new way of thinking and innovation is one-way for organizations to remain competitive and amplify their overall craft.