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How do you embed Human-centred Design in your organisation?

Part Three – 'How to think creatively' series

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This article is the last in a three-part series. In Part one, we went over what Creativity is, divergent and convergent thinking, and how to think creatively. In Part two, we delved deeper into how to use Creativity to solve problems and how fun collaboration can help spark innovative ideas. In Part three, we will focus on how Design Thinking can help to tap into Creativity and the importance of Human Centred Design.

How Design Thinking can help to tap into Creativity

When we think of Design Thinking, we often think of start-ups and big companies like Nike and Apple. But Design Thinking is also a powerful tool for small and medium-sized businesses. It can help you build better products, grow your business, and connect with your customers.

Design thinking is a framework for innovation that involves exploring problems, generating ideas, testing them, and refining them. It's the process of finding better, faster, and more elegant solutions than what's already out there. Design thinking is about Creativity, exploring ideas, and coming up with solutions, and it's a way to solve problems and create better products and services.

Design thinking is a human-centred approach to innovation and problem-solving that focuses on user needs and expectations through intuitive experiences. Companies increasingly recognise the value of Design to help navigate their evolving businesses. There is a clear link between design thinking and better ROI (Forrester, 2018), and increasing design capabilities leads to improved CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) and product adoption.

Companies need to meet the growing demand for Design by empowering staff with the right tools to cultivate in-demand design skills. This will enable them to create solutions that will sustainably support the needs of the end-users and communities. Organisations that use Design Thinking across their business to meet user needs - simplify problems, reduce complexity, align goals and vision across teams.

Human-Centred Design must be in the organisation's DNA, and Design Thinking principles must be understood and used by everyone in all aspects of their work. Organisations must focus on their enabled and empowered teams just as much as their clients. It's about creating great experiences through an innovative and iterative approach. We need to be continuously curious and focus on the end user.

Another thing that needs to change is the way we measure Design Thinking. Business metrics like ROI will not work in the short term, and the outcomes we can gain through a change in running the whole company can only be measured through the fundamental shift in an organisation's way of working and purpose.

Importance of Human-Centred Design

Many companies have tried to incorporate Human Centred Design, but it hasn't worked. Most of the time, this is because of a lack of understanding and prioritisation. For Human Centred Design to work, it must be ingrained in the organisation's DNA. It's not about upskilling or bringing in a set of individuals, it's about giving the right tools to everyone in the company and changing the mindset (Fox, 2021).

According to IBM, "The human-centred organisation is one that exists to fulfil a purpose for its users, customers, and community, and orients all of its innovation and operations activities around those people. It has instilled the principles of human-centred Design and applied them in their most pure form to every aspect of their organisation." (IBM, 2021)

While we don't know exactly what the future holds, a few things are clear. First, you must think differently about building and implementing solutions for the new reality. The human perspective is essential for successful Design, and that perspective is evolving—rapidly. Human-centred design lets you better understand people's needs, motivations, and concerns, but it also makes for a more efficient, more flexible design process. By engaging early with users and seeking their input and feedback, you gain valuable insights while still working with paper prototypes and sketches rather than fully built products. You can pivot early and avoid steering resources in the wrong direction.

How do you embed Human-centred Design in your organisation?

When we think of Design, we often think of aesthetics, User Experience, and the like. But Design is more than a single discipline. It's a way of thinking and problem-solving that draws from many fields, including science, engineering, psychology, and more. Design Thinking is a way of approaching problems that draw from these disciplines and creating creative solutions.

We are going through uncertain times, and it may not feel like the right moment to update organisational practices and processes, but Design Thinking will help rebuild the post-pandemic world. It is finding solutions to intriguing questions that are popping up, thought-provoking topics. Many companies are developing design skills to deliver best-in-class customer experiences.

The best way to learn is to create a safe space in your organisation and start doing Design Thinking. Learning by doing is the best approach for embedding new ways of working. Maybe find an internal project or two and implement the design thinking process. You will need some human-centred expertise on these teams, but they don't all need to be experts. Within a few weeks, you'll know whether these approaches are working.

Design thinking involves a process of creating and testing ideas with a focus on human needs, behaviours, and interactions. It is a way of thinking, not a specific set of techniques. It's about empathy for your users, understanding their needs and motivations, and creating intuitive, practical, and delightful solutions.

You can read more about Design Thinking and the 5-step process in our article on how to reach your users through Design Thinking -> how to reach your users through Design Thinking.

  • Forrester. (2018). The Total Economic Impact™ Of IBM’s Design Thinking Practice How IBM Drives Client Value And Measurable Outcomes With Its Design Thinking Framework. IBM.

  • Fox, M. (2021). Videos. Retrieved from

  • IBM. (2021). Enterprise Design Thinking. Retrieved from

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