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How to Launch a New Product Without Taking Unnecessary Risk: Ask 'Why?' and Reframe the Answer

Everybody is attracted by the new and the intriguing. But the phrase 'new and intriguing' can backfire on you if you cannot make the difference between 'new' and just 'slightly modified' very clear. Design thinking reframes the product or communication problem, welcomes all solution-ideas and uses fast testing to tweak and tweak again until your genuinely new solution conveys clear and unique value.

'Design thinking' is a term used to represent a set of cognitive, strategic and practical processes by which proposals for creating or improving products, buildings, machines, communications, etc. are developed. It's particularly helpful when a problem can't be easily defined or explained ('wicked problems').

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” - Tim Brown, Ideo

In design thinking, you:

  • Approach the problem with empathy. The design thinking team puts the users’ needs at the center of the process.

  • Reframe the problem or challenge at hand. The team redefines the problem or challenge as many times as it takes to reveal the root problem.

  • Initially employ divergent styles of thinking. Quality is achieved through quantity.

  • Later employ convergent styles of thinking. After generating many ideas, the team chooses which ones to pursue.

  • Create and test prototypes. The team develops prototypes to make ideas tangible so they can be tested.

  • Iterate. The team can repeat all the previous processes in a different order at any time to keep refining the solution.

Design thinking succeeds in business through the use of empathy, visual thinking and especially metaphors and symbols. A deep examination of what causes the customer's problem is important. Emotion, intuition and the use of themes can play a helpful role when working with linear, deductive thinkers.

After the opportunity is clearly understood, there is a phase of rapid testing and user feedback; this leads to a cycle of iterations, which is unusual for many firms but can lead to a noticeably higher performance level. This all leads to a predictable customer journey and efficient delivery of a product-solution.

If your firm is looking at launching a new product or service, contact the Design Thinkers at NEWbraska Network for support. 402-208-5519

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