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How does Design Thinking Impact Teams

Design Thinking is a human-centered approach and that also reflects in the way it impacts different teams. Values offered by Design Thinking are often those which promote co-creation, cooperation, and the need for a broader perspective in the team. Design thinking brings change from within and thus its very first step “empathize” advocates for creating an understanding of what other people might be going through to create a deeper understanding of all the parties involved, for example, customers and employees. There are several important effects design thinking might have on your teams, some of which have been briefly described below:

Revamped Focus

Design Thinking revamps the focus of the teams in a way that also affects the team’s structure. For example, if you are a company that is planning on shifting from traditional approaches to design thinking then you might have hierarchical roles and your success might be measured through the roles you have been taking on in the company. However, when shifted to design thinking, the teams must be made depending on the project and your success would be measured based on the success of your contribution to those teams specifically. This way the teams give attention to their projects and the focus completely shifts from the individual tasks to team projects. Design Thinking also gives us the building blocks for guidance to make it easier for us to revamp the focus. These building blocks are user, technical, and business. Following is an illustration of these building blocks that also reflects on what questions a team should focus on while working with a specific building block!

Enhanced Collaboration

Design Thinking enforces co-creation and collaboration. In some teams, collaboration might already be prevalent but the difference between a design thinking team and a traditional team is that the design thinking team collaborates on the team level considering the tasks as group tasks. On the other hand, a traditional team might consider collaboration as helping fellow team members in individual tasks. The goal of Design Thinking here is to bring together multidisciplinary teams to collaborate while looking at things holistically.

The true sense of being a design thinking team is thus not being done with the tasks until every team member is finished. This level of collaboration is also important in a design thinking team due to the great demand for a broader perspective because as a design thinking team you will be trying to cooperate on a multidisciplinary level to create a solution that has been touched by and reflected upon by people from different backgrounds having diverse perspectives.

Redefined Challenges

Challenges in a design thinking team are considered opportunities. Design thinking is all about reframing the problem and it forces a team to see constraints as opportunities rather than threats to the problem at hand. Design thinking allows the team to be creative when met with challenges. Challenges in a design thinking team also create excitement and drive to achieve something meaningful as compared to a traditional team where challenges are seen as hurdles that have to be solved rather than used to our advantage.

Unlocked Qualities

Design thinking unlocks several great qualities in a team. Here we will be talking about creative and abductive thinking. Designers have to assume certain things in order to move forward in their projects and this uncertainty regarding the success of the outcome is what unlocks the creative thinking in the team. Creating a conclusion based on abductive thinking is always risky but it also allows the team to explore different dimensions and consider potential alternative perspectives which normally would have been overlooked.

Enforced Togetherness

We have already discussed co-creation and collaboration but here by togetherness we mean to discuss the shared feedback and improvements. In a Design Thinking team, feedback is of high importance. Design thinking structures a team in a way that allows everyone to provide their feedback. Thus the whole team works on improving the product according to that feedback together. This way everyone reviews, provides feedback and voices their thoughts on every task attributed to the team.

To conclude, there are several other behavioral, cultural, and theoretical changes in the way a team works due to the implementation of Design Thinking. If you would like us to explore this topic further, then let us know and we will cook something up for you!

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