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Design thinking: Thinking outside the box

Professionals in all areas of a business are pressured to deliver the best possible results. 

Design thinking emerged in this context. Its goal is to apply design methodology to other business segments such as customer experience. The intention is to address the search for a solution by focusing on what your customers’ needs are. 

But how can you put this into practice? With creativity, it is possible to develop attractive solutions for processes, products, and services.

In this content, you’ll learn what design thinking is, how to implement it, and how it can increase your sales. Read on and understand a little more about this new way to bring innovation to companies!

What is design thinking?

The term design thinking means “thinking like a designer” and was described in 1969 in The Science of the Artificial. However, it only gained notoriety when David M. Kelley, a founder of IDEO (product design consulting firm), considered the methodology as “a way of acting creatively.”

Later, Tim Brown – CEO of that company – defined the term in the book Change by Design. For him, it is a highly people-centered approach (anthropocentrism) and aims to offer innovative solutions under the perception of the end customer in a creative, collaborative and multidisciplinary way.

Design thinking suggests searching for answers and creating new products together, in a cooperative and integrated manner between different departments (multidisciplinary teams) and the target audience. What happens is an authentic brainstorming in which everyone involved takes the place of those who will consume the solution.

The result is a project focused on empathy that wants to have a clear vision of the whole and raise opportunities and standards. The plan is to consider several factors and analyze them as possible directions to reach the business objective.

How to deploy design thinking?

Applying actions based on this methodology means going against the scientific method; the process does not occur based on statistics or numbers but based on real knowledge and more human testing.

Since the purpose is to respond to people’s demands, there is nothing better than to think from their perspective.

Although this concept does not have the required techniques or steps, there are some steps that simplify its application. Let’s see below!


The starting point is research where you gather data to create a solid framework for positive results.

Interview your audience and draw a profile. Who does your brand marketing need to reach? What is the most suitable age group? Is the niche market open to this marketing? What are the appropriate marketing experiences to attract them? These are some questions you need to ask.

As they say, “the first impression is the one that remains.” Therefore, trying to promote a unique customer experience needs to be a priority.

Outside consumers, it is essential to consider your professional team. If they understand the company’s purpose and are aligned, brainstorming will be much more productive.


Developing efficient analytical skills requires deep self-knowledge as well as knowledge of your competitors.

You can only innovate if you have information about your industry opponents and know what the strong and weak aspects of your business are.

In this circumstance, doing a SWOT Analysis will help a lot. This is a management tool that weighs internal factors against the external risks of an enterprise. It shows exactly what sets your brand apart from the competition, and points you in the best direction to build customer loyalty.

Doing market research, thinking like the customer and listening to the opinions of everyone involved are attitudes that help you find the best solutions.


After collecting a range of innovative ideas, you need to select those with potential for success. Once again, the consumer is the main focus. If you have no customers, your products and services are pointless.

When talking about innovation, it is necessary to seek the support of technologies that help facilitate the work. Big social data is a solution that can generate insights into people’s behavior on social media—what they think about particular brands, what their spending habits are, and so on.


The time has come to start design thinking. Here, everything that has been studied should be examined from the lens of what your industry offers.

For example, your company produces high-tech notebooks, so the final cost of manufacturing turns out to be high. You are known for the quality of your devices, but competitors have improved their products creating less of a competitive difference.

The problem is, a lot of people would like to buy from you, but they can’t afford to pay the required amount. How can you solve this? Is it possible to replace some components so that they are cheaper and regain this market share?


If you are not a technology expert, the concept of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) can be very valuable in the testing phase. Using as few resources as possible, the idea is to make a simplified version of the final merchandise for customers to evaluate.

This allows you to find out what works well and what needs improvement before the definitive model is marketed.

This methodology can also be applied in the service sector. Just think of the sense of immediacy and practicality that people seek today. Here, the cost to consider is always the average service or response time.

What is the effect of design thinking on the internal team?

Now that we know what design thinking is and how it can be applied, one effect it should have on your business is a change in perception about the consumer or user.

When this way of thinking is adopted, the focus shifts completely and the result is improved customer experience. Empathy and collaborative behavior are now part of the organizational culture.

With these values internalized in the team, attention is drawn to what the target audience expresses, seeks and shares.

By Felipe Arruda – Marketing Strategist

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