When we are thinking about creating a new project or even having one in operation that is not performing as well as we hope, it is important to implement the methodology of success, ie Design Thinking, the design mindset used by Google Ventures and of course Increase the lab, to validate and implement ideas.

But what exactly is it based on? The first thing we need to understand is that its highest priority is to give importance to the user, who is ultimately the one who decides whether or not they want to use our product or service. In design thinking, the users, the business model and the technology have the same weight the goal of achieving solutions that are desirable, technically feasible and economically viable.

Based on these three concepts, a “double diamond” process is followed, in which phases of divergence alternate with information gathering and generation of solutions, and phases of convergence, in which the information is delineated and the most appropriate options are selected and solutions. It is a non-linear process, characterized by iteration, consisting of observing, prototyping (prototype understands every element that can make an idea tangible and teach the user) and testing, to later rotate if necessary. Technologically marvelous products can be created without regard for the user which, when they come to market, are not what the user was looking for, inaccessible to the user, or perhaps not understandable. In short, the desired goal is not achieved: success.

Empathy and definition that users know

The methodology consists of five key stages that are essential to carry out: empathize, define, develop, prototype and test. In the first phase, our goal is to put ourselves in the user’s shoes, get to know them and find out what value their idea or project has for society. It is based on receiving information about their needs and desires in order to offer innovative solutions that really impact their lives. In short, put all the challenges on the table and tackle the problems constructively. Observing and studying the user and gathering all sorts of information is essential as we need to understand what is really relevant to them.

Among the tools used in this phase, the following stand out: Shadowing (understanding shadowing as the technique by which a user can be observed in the shadows), actor map, interviews or benchmark. The benchmark consists of analyzing what the competition is doing, collecting their “best practices”: what they do on social media, what their value proposition is, whether they have closed funding rounds, how they make money or what their business model is. That way we can mimic what works for them and work on any challenges or problems they seem to be having.

Definition phase: interpreting information

Later, in the definition phase, hypotheses are made. We have received a lot of information from the empathy phase and now it is time to interpret it and identify behavioral patterns that will help us to gain insights and opportunities to solve the problems of our product or service.

After creating these hypotheses, we generate the focuses from which we can create solutions and build the creative challenge that we later shape in the ideation phase. In order to focus, it is important to understand the reasons that have led us to these hypotheses, the reason for the needs of the users and how we can improve what the market is currently offering.

45% of companies have no specific strategy They don’t collect data and don’t know what their users need and do. It is important to bring order and structure to our creativity so that we can prioritize and work better in the ideation phase.

Brainstorming, solving challenges

In order to generate ideas, we must begin to establish our knowledge and thus create solutions to the challenges we have encountered. Previously we have collected all the information that will help us to understand the user. Now is the time to meet your needs and desires with a purely creative process, thinking of a thousand and one innovative and disruptive solutions.

Brainstorming or brainstorming helps us to achieve quantity and variety of ideas that solve the identified problems. Brainstorming ends with the selection of the prototypical concepts based on technical feasibility, cost-effectiveness and user requirements.

Prototyping and testing, the moment of truth has arrived

After thinking, it’s time to flesh out the ideas prioritized in the previous phase and make them tangible. It’s about, about create a prototype that we have in a short time and can test on the market, without spending hundreds of hours programming an application. Therefore, the objective of the tests will be to validate the hypotheses that we had defined in the first phases. In other words, we will again extract information about users’ needs and examine how the generated concepts satisfy them or not, to identify possible improvements or changes.

In this phase, interviews or tests with users who are part of the target group are essential: the so-called “user persona”. In addition, campaigns can be carried out on social networks with mock-ups or small designs, where we test the market’s appetite.

Definitive, Listening is the most important maxim in the entire design thinking process. We want to understand the user, who is the focus. Therefore, we must be convinced that we are not selling, but understanding their needs, so our best weapon is always to ask, empathize, connect and reach out to them. Because this is the only way to create something that you look for, need, use and buy.

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