Design thinking needs to challenge conventional thought process. That’s when innovation happens

design thinking and innovation

This is summary drawn from the curriculum of the certification course in design thinking and innovation (Post graduate certification programme in Design thinking and innovation) being run by ImaginXP at Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies (SIMS), Pune.



Design thinking is a tool being used by various leaders to challenge the conventional in the organization. The biggest challenge of a new leader is how to change the norm, how to ask basic questions like why are we doing a particular process, simple things that are generally forgotten under protocol and bureaucracy. And this is where a new CEO or a new head of digital uses design thinking to bring the focus back on the major problem – the ones that are faced by the end user.

Hence it is advised to do a design thinking workshop at the start of a new team or a new leadership. Design thinking being collaborative needs to have the right set of people in the room to participate. All stakeholders being affected by the digital process should be part of the workshop – irrespective of org chart and reporting structures. This enables the new CEO to create a communication channel cutting through the organization. And hear the problems being faced by the end user through those that stand at the front line of the organization. At the end of it, doing a design thinking workshop as one of the first things put the CEO on a path to a hands-on leader. It also enables the CEO to get his list of priorities right.

The first list of to do or what most CEOs call an agenda in the organization is one of the most important things that define a leadership. This agenda other than building an organization with the right foundation, should revolve around the unmet and uncalled out needs of the users. This is where a strategic vision is set for the organization that enables the organization to innovate. A thought process where its ok if we cannot solve the problem of the user today but we need to innovate enough to do it in the next three to five years is the right mindset that needs to be enabled in the collective consciousness of the employees. Another most important aspect about design thinking that needs to be understood is that innovation involves product failure. Don’t expect the first outcome to bring about a revolution in the user mind space. It takes time and takes the organization to repeat it many times. Each repetition, adding something better. Design thinking churns out innovation, but after repeated failures. Remember Edison, who found out 100 ways that a light bulb could not be made first. And then the light bulb. And the new CEO needs to get the organization ready for these small failures. How do we be iterative? Are we agile enough? How are we taking feedbacks from the last iterations? Get an answer to some of these questions before you start on the journey of institutionalising Design Thinking in your organization.