Both events were good opportunities to present the audience with our human-first approach, which is the main focus for us at Indeed throughout all our developments. They were also great chances to explain the Design-Thinking-Mindset because, even if Design Thinking has been discussed a lot lately, it seems that this complex and all-embracing work method is still not fully understood and does not get the attention it deserves.

Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and the Internet of Things are becoming more and more the focal point of many developments and seem to be an ever-important part in all areas of life. They are tools to improve various processes and give us an advantage. Nevertheless, it seems that mankind and humanity are often forgotten along the way. How is that even possible? What is the future going to be like and where does humanity fit into this new world?

Design can be the answer to this as design knows methods and processes that are relevant to such developments.

The relevance of product or service is not dependent on said product or service in itself, but on the people, they have been created for. So it is extremely important to widen the horizon and think outside the box. Design does not raise the question ‚Does the product look good?’, but what helps the user to achieve their goals?’ What are the so-called ‚unmet needs’?

With usability as the main focus, the design should raise the questions of ‚Who is the user?‘ and ‚What does the world around that user look like?‘. Thanks to user research, countless new possibilities of innovation that focus on users and human beings are now being realised. Functional, emotional and social needs that meet important requirements and therefore have a high relevance in terms of innovation and create value can now be achieved.

Product Development used to be a process chain with the design being the last link to make it ‚neat and pretty’. It used to be an added value and everyone was satisfied.

However, ‚Design Thinking’ has a completely different objective: The whole development process should be led by design! The objective should be to create an iterative, agile and dynamic process, that ultimately leads to extended, more specific but first and foremost to relevant innovation. Of course, this is an investment but ultimately it leads to substantial added value.

Design Thinking is about 5 basic steps:

  • Identify: Create teams to collect existing knowledge and to examine: what do we have and what do we know?
  • Explore: Without already having solutions, highlight areas from existing knowledge that could be further developed
  • Ideate: Generate targeted ideas for said opportunities
  • Create: Develop relevant concepts for the best ideas
  • Deliver: Translate those concepts into products and services

The result will be an innovation that will be economically successful because the iterative approach will ensure relevancy as the main focus. Temporal changes should also be considered and an eye should be kept on conformity within the findings. These adjustments are typical for design thinking.

There are two options of development:

  1. ‍Product driven – good possibility for smaller crisp projects
  2. Human-driven – sensible approach as it creates a variety of possibilities for innovation.

The human-first approach widens the horizon. It is not the goal to change the product but to think outside the box and focus on what’s useful for the customer.  An example would be via innovation of the ergonomics of the application, user interaction or via purchase process.

A functional value can be created if, for example, a hard hat for a construction worker is not seen as a hard hat, but as an item of workspace security. Equipped with a GPS system the product will not only prevent injuries but can assess potential danger and therefore prevent dangerous situations.

Emotional added values can also be created, e.g. if headphones are not just thought of as a tool to listen to music but as an interface for music experiences. If they are connected to a smart device, it allows you to share emotional moments with others and would mean a significant added value rather than just a new look.

The necessity of innovation is evident. While it was enough for companies in the past to maintain the status and create incremental innovations now and then to stand out, it doesn’t work like that in today’s business world. Incremental innovation is a given in every company. If you want to keep up or better still shine, the innovative capability has to be an elementary component and disruptive innovation has to be the goal.

Despite all of this there will inevitably be deadlocks and setbacks and good product development needs time and an iterative process. If controlled and content aware, every step will invariably lead to advancements and added value in form of usable results and progress. That way budgets can be allocated to different KPIs and the result is absolutely worth it.

Finally my personal recommendation on the road to successful innovation:

  1. You do not need to be genius but to use the right methods
  2. Do not think in solutions – think of opportunities
  3. Radical is normal – because today’s ideas are tomorrow’s commodity products
  4. Build a tribe, make your team shine and write love letters: Respect that you stand on the shoulders of giants if you are looking into the future
  5. Get to know your human costumers: “If you want to know about the lion, do not go to the zoo, go to the savanna”
  6. Start doing it!
Heiko Tullney Profile image

Heiko Tullney

Strategic Design

Heiko is a creative mentor, connector, and musician. He leads and stimulates the creativity process and execution of diverse product, services and user experiences.

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