Design Thinking is the New Black

Human-centered design is a new up and coming scene in which designers put into the account of the target user and design around that basis. In order to successfully produce a new product, one has to be able to identify the problem and the user to identify the situation at hand and then solve it utilizing creative problem-solving techniques. This week the student organization Design for America taught the design process that was developed at Northwestern University and they were teaching us the process in a condensed version with a case study on senior citizens. Our team identified Alzheimer patients and their forgetfulness and developed the How Can We statement as “How can we help Alzheimer patients at home to remember daily tasks and belongings.” Our design was a bracelet that is connected to your phone and has sensors on other everyday objects so if the distance between the two sensors grows, then the bracelet would vibrate and notify you. One can also send push notifications as reminders such as caregivers to remind about medicine and the bracelet would vibrate and also get notifications on a phone.

Designing with the end users in mind allows one to identify all of the possible facets that ultimately allows the innovators to tweak and make the product or service into an even better prototype. Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo, has said that she utilizes design thinking in nearly every aspect of the company’s decisions now. The user experience of a product is reexamined from the trends in women’s snacking to how she, as a mother, would view her own products on a shelf. PepsiCo has taken an initiative to curate a more robust portfolio and a more health-conscious focus as well while keeping the customers in mind. This type of forwarding design thinking has led to their steady growth versus their competitors.

Empathy with users allows a company to be able to refine their processes and products. The design-centric culture that the Harvard Business Review cites is a new movement that large organizations are utilizing to analyze complex problems and that is exactly how companies are developing new business strategies along with product innovations. Companies like GE and IBM have adopted such tactics and have noted how business strategies differ little from defining user experiences. The movement towards integrating design thinking into every aspect of companies means that it is a valuable skill to have and to be able to master. In order to continue to be innovative, there has to be constant change and to be adaptive to the changing culture of society nowadays. I believe that design thinking will empower companies and now will empower us, as students as well.

5 thoughts on “Design Thinking is the New Black

  1. Hey Kenny,

    I like how you started and titled the blog post. sI do agree and see how design thinking has become a trend in innovation. Great example with the exercise you guys did on the Alzheimer patients. I would suggest some way of directing the vibrations in the bracelet, as how will the patient know where the medicine is located beyond just knowing that its somewhere near. The links you put are also great examples. I learnt alot from reading the articles. If you’re interested, you could look into these:

  2. Hi kenny,

    I totally agree that design thinking is the future of strategy, especially for corporations. With design thinking, I think corporations can really push the boundaries of new product innovation. It was interesting to learn that Pepsi’s CEO consistently relies on design thinking as a tool in her strategic decisions.The user experience is also definitely a critical component when going through design thinking and I think that will be a major part for our group project when figuring out what problem to solve!


  3. Hi Kenny,
    Great post! I definitely agree that human-centered design is the focus of design nowadays, and the series of activities Design for America had us do certainly allowed us to experience that. Like from your article about how Indra Nooyi thinks about design by putting herself in customers’ perspectives, I think this is effective and a trend that many companies are slowly catching up on. Also, I like the idea your group came up with about how to help people with Alzheimer’s. It is a very sad and prevalent disease and I believe with our technology today, we should be able to create systems that make the lives of those impacted easier. In addition, I think it’ll be nice if you also add pictures to your future posts for us to visualize your projects. Great title by the way!

  4. I agree with design thinking being the new black. People where black because it is always slimming and they know they will always look great! Companies are more about design thinking because it makes them look good as a company. Keeping the consumer in mind when creating products will make them look great even when they are compared to other companies.

  5. Hi Kenny, great analysis of the benefits of design thinking and thinking with the mentality Design For America taught us. I also enjoyed reading the articles you provided. I wholeheartedly agree that by thinking human-centrically and customer-centrically, you come up with more innovative, feasible as well as valuable products in the long run for the customer. Companies must truly harness this mindset in order to come up with better products and sustain a competitive advantage over their competitors similar to Indra Nooyi’s approach with PepsiCo. Here are a few articles I have come across in which other companies have harnessed this mindset.

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