The furniture industry can also apply this tool – use it as another tool to innovate!The design work requires reflection and some freedom and through Design Thinking we can effectively develop products more adapted to the current consumption and lifestyle – whether in our home or in our office or commercial space.The tool, already applied in many creative and disruptive industries, has come to stay, taking advantage of the fact that it revolutionizes the way to find innovative solutions to problems, in this case, creative solutions focused on the real needs of the market and not on assumptions and/or studies.Note that it is not a methodology, but a model of approach. Therefore, this tool, which we detail here, should not be seen as a recipe or magic formula that, applied to the same problems, will produce the same results. Each case is different. There are good practices in the approach that can deliver excellent results, even in the furniture industry in the various stages of product development. It is an approach/ thought that goes beyond the need to create a product or service.The idea is to enter the consumer’s life and seek to dictate future behaviours and needs, to try out new points of view and to have flexibility in producing the idea, to learn from mistakes and to evolve rapidly (fail early and learn fast is the focus).The approach seeks the solution of problems in a collaborative format, in a perspective of maximum empathy with all the interested parts of the business – people are placed in the product development centre – not just the end costumer, but everyone involved in the idea of development. The business areas of the company (or project team) are all called to contribute and actively collaborate.The process consists of trying to map and join the cultural experience, the world view and the processes inserted in the life of the people, with the objective of obtaining a more complete vision in the solution of problems and, in this way, better to identify the barriers and to generate alternatives feasible to take action (with the promotion of much brainstorming to the mix). It is not based on behavioural assumptions or consumer studies, but rather on the actual needs of the target consumer of the product; it is an approach that we can assume to be “humanized” and can be used in any business area.
The stages of Design Thinking can generally be summarized by the following steps:
- Identify areas where opportunities for innovation can be found;
- Discover the opportunity to innovate;
- Develop an innovation opportunity (product or service);
- Test the ideas — prototypes;
Implement the solutions.
And how can you apply these practices to a company?
Sales Team: can use techniques from this approach to develop a superior ability to “shoe the costumer’s shoes” and thus create more powerful strategies of influence and confidence building with the buyer;
Direction/ Production team: may find patterns in the past that can be repeated in the future. Instead of looking through the rear view mirror to set the course forward, Design Thinking can help the company’s Direction to find totally innovative solutions, without looking at the past, but at the client’s current expectations and desires.
And it has become commonplace for many SMEs to use this collaborative, practical and multidisciplinary perspective to achieve ambitious business goals.
The pragmatism and humanism of the approach takes the creative process from the purely artistic sphere and takes it to a more functional level, making it possible to apply it in several areas of the company.
As Steve Jobs once told us and is the example of Apple - “design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works!”