From the EMBA Digital Leadership class with Isabel Creuznacher, by Claire Murigande

With a lecture titled “from idea to MVP in a day”, Isabel walked us through the principles and process of design thinking in less than a day. We had the opportunity to work in teams on a concrete case: designing a career or life coach App. In an effort to share a concise and precise overview, here goes my crash course version in less than 400 words.

Design Thinking: Human-centered innovation

Let’s begin with the obvious question: what is Design Thinking?

“Design Thinking is a mindset, a culture and process to create products, services and business models based on extensive human-centered research and iterative prototyping.” Prof. Larry Leifer (founding director of the Center for Innovation and Design Research at Stanford University)

Well, how and where do you start with a new idea? The key is to get several perspectives because empathy will increase your output.

The principles of design thinking include four elements:

  1. Put together a team to get your different perspectives.
  2. Remain people oriented. Ideas come from the interpretation of statements people make and not the statements themselves. So, it is crucial to understand the people behind.
  3. Get your insights by challenging everything.
  4. Focus on finding the needs before creating the solution.

The “double diamond” process

Need-finding phase

Okay, we’ve got the definition and the principles. Let’s move to the process. You have the CHALLENGE, so start the research for a proper understanding by asking yourself: What do I know? What do I not know? Next, collect all the insights. At this point you want to make observations in the specific context of your challenge. Then you reach the SYNTHESIS point, where you interpret and identify patterns. At this stage, you define your field of innovation. You have now completed the first diamond loop, or the need-finding phase.

Solution finding phase

Moving forward, you continue with ideation. At this point, quantity beats quality. Therefore, write down whatever (crazy) ideas come up. Next, select the ideas you want to prototype. You can use the business model canvas for visualisation. At this stage, you need to make your ideas tangible. There are no limits to the type of prototyping but the process must be quick. Keep in mind the following questions: What do I want to test? How do I want to test? and of course with whom? These two final stages complete the second loop, or solution finding phase. You now reach the SOLUTION point, where you start testing your thinking process - the "double diamond"

Run test interviews and collect feedback. Systematically capture that feedback by classifying positive and constructive inputs, plus questions and new ideas that arise while testing. This will enable you to iterate and fine-tune your prototype.

You’re now ready to pitch your idea!

About EMBA Digital Leadership

The EMBA Digital Leadership offers visionary executives with digital ambitions a compact 16-month, part-time executive program. It includes the following highlights: An organized TEDxHWZ conference, an Innovation Challenge (including pitch) as well as possible start-up financing for the own business idea and individual coaching. The program also includes EMBA study trips to innovation hotspots such as ETH Zurich and WEF Geneva as well as three study tours (USA, CHN, CH). An unique study program in Switzerland! The number of participants is limited to 20 persons.

You want to learn more about the EMBA Digital Leadership? Check out our blog and find all the information you need.