Design is the basic or hygiene towards a successful product development. The concept between Product Design and Design Thinking is extremely thin, although both look identical. Design thinking is more from end-to-end product development. In Product Design, the designers focus on the problem statement, end goals and product users. 

The Design Thinking approach fits very well in product designing. Product design focuses in creating the right applications, matched with the right technology and thereby, extending to user to establish right experience. The product customer value is concluded on the basis of the experience across the customer decision journey. Design thinking approach involves creative and systematic approach to problem solving, keeping customer first. 

Let’s understand how Design thinking approach is followed in the Product Management.  To start with, the Design Thinking methodology focuses on inspiration, purpose, iteration and lesser ambiguity as the development begins. In other words, Design thinking shows the point of intersection between purpose, feasibility and viability. The Design Thinking is somehow close to agile methodologies.

There are six ways through which Product Managers apply Design Thinking: 

  1. Being Creative while undergoing research – In design thinking, it’s always wise to be as creative as one can be. During research several ideas come as an option. However, creativity pulls the best out of research and most often delivers differentiated customer experience.
  2. Define particular occurrence during product developmentClearly communicate the challenges, purpose and users. Every users and challenges will have distinct persona and so, the journey varies. In product development, it’s a good practice to have the problem statement defined at basic level.
  3. Building prototypesPrototyping is a quick and inexpensive way to see how the idea works, so business can go back to the users and get their feedback.
  4. Testing of PrototypesTesting or feedback gives information to both business and development team on the usability and experience. Mostly, from the users’ reactions, business discovers the problem statement which we started to addressed is not there and there’s a different problem.
  5. Adapt design thinking tools – Adoption of design tools facilitate the Design Thinking innovative process. Since design thinking comprises a set five stages process: empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping, and testing, selecting the right tools is absolutely the most important thing for effective decision making and constructive communication in a multidisciplinary team. Tools can be physical, such as a pen, paper, and whiteboard, or software applications having rich graphics that compliment the Design Thinking process. The tools can also be used to help teams in adopting a new perspective on design tasks, to visualize the system’s complexity and depending on the design stage reflect a convergent or divergent view of design.
  6. Retrospective of the complete process – Design thinking focuses on the human-centered goals because it focuses on providing deep and meaningful engagement with the end users. There are some problems that are not solvable. You might not find a technology that’s going to solve a particular problem, but what you want to do is discover that quickly. Design thinking makes it possible!
    So, the design thinking methodology doesn’t necessarily generate better ideas than competing methodologies. It’s just that this methodology allows you to test your ideas quickly to see which ones hold promise.