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thinking design

Design thinking is currently trending in organisations and businesses around the world, as they seek innovative ways to solve problems and to increase their competitiveness.  But what does design thinking actually mean?

Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.Tim Brown, CEO & President, IDEO

Design thinking simply means to bring together what can be done (feasibility), what is affordable (viability), and what people want (desirability), to come up with new ways of doing things and new products that can change the world. But what’s new about that??

A lot of times, people gather data, or they have an idea of what they would like to do, or they see a problem and want to fix it.  So they make assumptions and start deciding what they would do, even before understanding what the real issue is.  Like an NGO that decided to grow tomatoes in an empty plot of fertile land, on the bank of a river, near a village.  The villagers themselves, walked 5km to less healthy land to grow their crops and the NGO thought, “What a waste!! Let’s fix this, right now”.  They got permission from the village chief to plant on the land, and they started energetically planting a variety of tomato that would help increase nutrition for families in the village.  Genius, right?? Wrong… Halfway through the growing season, they turned up at their farm to find the tomatoes trampled and destroyed.  “Sabotage!”, they cried.  “Who would do such a thing?”.  An elderly villager walking past, simply said, “Hippos!  This is why we don’t plant here.”  And it turned out that local villagers already had a balanced diet from eating products found locally, that they had grown for centuries!

What happened in this story, happens all the time in businesses and organisations across the world.  Great ideas get developed, without any consideration for the humans that these ideas are meant to benefit.  But design is fundamentally about creative problem solving. It starts with understanding what people need, and then designing a solution that can best meet that need.  And that’s exactly what we do at Emé.  Design thinking is our philosophy and it’s how we can get to that all-important goldmine that is “impact”.

So next time, you want to solve a problem, consider our services.  We would love to talk that walk with you to make a real impact.


For more information on “Design thinking”, visit IDEOU’s page on Design Thinking