Who I am & what I do….
Hi there! I am Hillary Coghlan, a professional and qualified Marketing Service Design and Innovation specialist located in Boxworks Co Work.Space, Waterford. I started my business Triangle Marketing in Dec 2016 and I specialise in Research, Services Marketing and Business Strategy. Triangle Marketing helps small businesses (incl. micro enterprises and start-ups) to identify and implement opportunities for growth and innovation using the latest best practice, tools and business models in entrepreneurial thinking, service design and innovation. We use creative thinking to help solve business problems for growth.
One of the tools we love using is Design Thinking, which helps to re-shape business models for innovation. Companies such as Uber, Airbnb. IBM, Apple, Google, and Proctor & Gamble all use Design Thinking to identify opportunities to creatively improve existing products or develop new products and services.
What is Design Thinking?
The process follows a series of steps applying human centered approach - putting customers and users first. The process creates empathy and develops an in-depth understanding of customers current and unmet future needs. Defining these needs leads to generating many ideas and uncovers better ways to improve and innovate products and services or create new ones.
The steps we follow are empathy, ideate – generating ideas, define solutions, create prototypes, and testing or prototypes. While every stage in the process has equal importance, testing prototypes is a crucial step to validate your idea with customers and users. Exclude testing at your peril as this enables products to fail fast and succeed sooner which means by testing with customers we can identify early on whether a product or services will sell or not and often suggests further improvements. Failing early saves valuable resources including time, money and effort, and helps get to market quicker with an alternative products.
In Ireland, the Irish Research Development Group run annual design thinking workshops for their members - mostly large manufacturers and educational institutes. For small businesses, Design Thinking workshops are often, cost prohibitive and inaccessible, due to the location and distance from their business.
Benefits of Design Thinking
Design thinking is a learned process and can be applied for any business problem. It is a valuable resource because it is repeatable over time and can help businesses to continually innovate and maintain their competitive advantage.
It is relatively easy process to learn and is cost effective to implement as a process of continuous improvement and innovation.
Does it fail in organisations and why?
Sometimes yes it can fail. The key to successful Design Thinking relies on:
- Having an open mind. Be aware this is an ambiguous process – the starting position is known but the end is not….yet! Where you think you might be headed is not always where you will arrive.
- Structuring the problem by asking the right questions and having the right people involved – co-create with customers, users and stakeholders.
- Get to the Genba is a Japanese term used in Lean Managment. The idea is to be customer-driven, one must go to the customer's genba to understand his problems and opportunities, to gather and process data. For Design Thinking to be successful, it is important to go and involve your staff, customers, users and stakeholders - listen, observe and experience services and products just as your users do. Experience their journey for idea generation.
Acommon denominator for all business, irrespective of size or sector is change, driven by technology and customers’ demands. If small businesses are unable to change, adapt, plan and innovate for future client needs, then it is highly unlikely they will exist in the future!