Design thinking, human-centred design, “HCD”, customer centred design, user centred design… all current buzzwords. But what do they really mean, and are we just paying lip service to them?
If we start by asking what they have in common, it is the idea that we put people at the heart of everything we do as a business. Sound simple? The concept maybe. But what does this mean?
It doesn’t mean that we go and survey all our customers and ask them what they want. After all, the average person would not be able to dream up the concept of a motor vehicle (like Henry Ford) or an iphone (like Steve Jobs and his team).
But what both Henry and Steve had was a deep understanding of human need. People would have asked for a faster horse, or a more comfortable saddle or carriage, to enable them to travel greater distances, faster and in more comfort. But by understanding the need, something far better was conceived.
What design thinking (and the rest) provides is only a tool which sets out a process to connect with people. We also need a mindset that is willing to be open, curious and experimental. Embracing risk and using it to our advantage. This is often the hardest part for a business.
But by understanding customers’ hopes, dreams, fears and needs better, a business can design better products, services, experiences and brands to deliver to those needs. It helps us connect authentically with real people in a meaningful way. And then you will build loyal customers who will be pulled to your business, rather than you having to go looking for them.