5 Tips for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses To Incorporate Design Thinking Into Their Business

Design thinking is relatively new for small to medium-sized organizations. It can be overwhelming at first, especially if your organization is unfamiliar with the methodology, and if you already feel like you may lack the resources to take on anything new.

That said, design thinking is essential for businesses that want to ensure they are adaptable and able to grow in highly competitive markets. Adaptability is often the differentiator between companies who grow and succeed and those who stagnate and fail. Design thinking is both possible and accessible for small to medium-sized businesses, and below we have outlined some tips to get you started.

To start using design thinking in your organization, you must first understand the tools available to understand your clients better. After gaining a deeper understanding of your end-clients using the empathize phase of design thinking, you can identify how to create additional value for them. You will also be able to pinpoint what they value and don’t value – enabling you to zero in on only what is valuable to them (often saving time and money while increasing revenue/delivery/adoption).

Here are our five tips for small to medium-sized organizations to start using design thinking:

  1. Start Small: Apply design thinking to a small project. As you and the organization get more comfortable with the methodology and understand the results and behavioral change that design thinking can produce, you can then start applying it to larger projects.
  2. Spread the Word: Once the empathize phase is complete, and you have gained a deeper understanding of your end-clients, from marketing to operations to HR, ensure everyone in the company knows who those clients are. This information will shape the strategy of each business line and allow them to keep the end-client in mind as they make decisions.
  3. Recognize Lesser-Known End-Client Groups: Develop personas of customers that the business doesn’t know as well. Oddly enough, many companies have client groups that may not be as well-known or understood. It’s great to have them as clients, but maybe you don’t quite know them as well as the other groups or your typical clients. Take time to empathize with them – develop personas, empathy maps, and journey maps – so going forward; you can further build out this client base and increase retention of that group.
  4. Target New Client Groups: To set your business up for growth – develop personas of the type of clients you don’t currently have but would like to target. If you are looking to expand your reach into a new client base, this is an essential part of your strategy.
  5. Keep Your Best Clients Happy: Develop personas of your most important client groups (whether this group of clients is essential for growing the business or they provide the most profit) and identify areas where you can improve retention and client satisfaction.

 

Recognizing that design thinking will help you understand your customers better is key to driving business success. The better you know your customers, the more you will be able to ensure you are not only meeting their needs but also anticipating them. You will be able to deliver more value to them, which ultimately increases their satisfaction with you, their stickiness to your business, and potentially their spending with you.