Design Thinking for Small Business

If you are keeping up with the latest trends in business then over the past few years you have likely heard the term Design Thinking. Design Thinking is a term for the Methodology used by designers, including OmniWorx Inc’s designers, to help them solve problems for clients but it is now being used in many areas of large companies such as Apple, Uber and Nike to help them solve problems. The steps of Design Thinking are Empathizing with your Customer, Define the Problem, Ideate Possible Solutions, Prototype and Test. How can Small and Mid-sized businesses harness the power of Design Thinking to put them ahead of their competition?

Let’s take a look at the DesignThinking Methodology and a situation where we could apply it to a Small Business. Working with your Graphic Designer you can easily implement Design Thinking into any design project. For example, If the owner of a restaurant wanted to utilize the methodology to bring in new customers

Image Author/Copyright holder: Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Design Foundation. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Image Author/Copyright holder: Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Design Foundation. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Empathize

Have you heard the saying that you don’t truly know a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes? That saying rings true when you are trying to solve a problem for a potential customer. To be able to solve a problem you need to know and truly understand the pain points your customers face. Are there too many actions that a customer needs to take to complete a sale? Is the call to action legible to your customers? Find out what issues block your ideal customer from buying your product or service.

To empathize, our restaurant owner could gather information from existing and potential customers through speaking with them directly or through surveys about what their pain points are, what might be stopping them from coming in. Are they getting lost trying to find the establishment?

Define

Taking the insights that you have gathered from your Empathizing, define a problem, or many problems, that your design solution needs to solve. Defining a problem helps you justify both to yourself and others why you designed something the way you did. For example, making text larger point sizes and keeping with a medium weight typeface for users/customers who may be hard of sight. What will your key performance indicators be for success?

Based on the research our owner conducted they found that a major problem and complaint they had was that people were not able to find the establishment and were often calling to get directions. This took the staff time away from customers as they had to field these calls often. The problem statement becomes “How can we make clearer directions for new customers to find our establishment?”

Ideate

This is the stage where you start thinking about how you could design a solution. A Problem Statement or Design Brief has been created from the work done in the first two stages and you or your designer can start proposing solutions that solve your problem or fit with your business.

Now that our owner has a problem statement, “How can we make clearer directions for new customers to find our establishment?”, they can work with a Graphic Designer to come up with solutions to help solve this problem.

Prototype

This is the stage where you design one of the solutions you explored in the previous stage and put it out to your market. You can design and launch as many solutions as you think is feasible to test one solution against another or just release them one at a time depending on your goals. Your designer will be able to recommend a direction that fits best with your project.

The Graphic Designer will come up with some graphic solutions to this problem which could be things like a more precise map for the website or different signage outside the establishment.

Test

The final stage is to test your prototype(s) against your key performance indicators to see if you get the results that you were looking for. If you do than continue using that product, if not then you may need to go back to any of the previous steps to review the project.

Working with the owner the Graphic Designer can implement one or more of his solutions and test the results. Sometimes more ideation and prototyping may be necessary to perfect the final product but the final product will help to grow the business


A professional Graphic Designer and/or Design Firm can help you throughout this iterative process. If you are thinking of implementing a new marketing tool or updating an old one OmniWorx Inc. can help. We specialize in working with small businesses to elevate their image through Design and Design Thinking. Contact us at design@omniworxinc.ca for more information on how we can help.