The Design Thinking Insights You Need to Become a New Normal Guru
Many people would agree that having come this far in an unprecedented pandemic is no small feat. While there is still some way to go until we can call it a triumph, the best thing to do now is to step up our game and become 'New Normal GURUs' – so that we can not only excel in our work but also help the people around us succeed.
Earlier this year, the Institute of Design Knowledge (IDK) hosted a series of New Normal GURU Design Thinking Online Workshops which inspired more than 35 participants to apply design thinking agilely in their work. The trainers - Marcus Lui (Design Thinking in Action (DTIA)) sharpened their business thinking while Vince Siu (Epiphany Labs) and Iris Wan guided them to boost team productivity.
Businesses can uncover hidden consumer needs
Trainer: Marcus Lui, Design Thinking in Action (DTIA)
While many industries have been heavily hit by the global crisis, some companies have risen above the challenge by transforming themselves creatively overnight to respond to new consumer needs. "Design thinking helps us identify new opportunities by looking at unmet or underserved needs. It shifts the conventional thinking of putting profit first to placing customers at the core of business. This approach has been proven to better align products with the market, and to build customer loyalty in the long run," said Marcus.
Design thinking helps us identify new opportunities by looking at unmet or underserved needs.
Compared to more conventional problem-solving methods, design thinking helps us to get a clear picture of the problems at stake, and prompts us to realise unobvious yet effective methods. "Design thinking goes against our old thinking habits like jumping to the fastest existing solution. It requires our conscious effort to unlearn conventional ways of thinking, go deep into the root cause and start with users' needs. This is how real opportunities can be found," Marcus added.
Teams can build better understanding while working from home
Trainer: Vince Siu, Epiphany Labs
While we battle the same crisis, every one of us has a different perception of the new normal. The difficulties we face and the ways we deal with them vary. Design thinking and its human-centred approach help a team grasp the diverse difficulties each member is tackling. "Design thinking leads us to understand the individual needs and preferences of our teammates, so we can create better experiences for them," said Vince.
Trainer: Iris Wan
Iris shared one of her observations from the workshops, "A participant, who is a mother of two, explained the problems and disturbances she faced working from home. Some participants without parenting experience found them hard to relate to at first. But through design thinking exercises such as empathy map building, they realised that even though their pain points were not the same, the frustrations they experienced working from home were similar." Empathy is always the key to building a great team, and it is even more important in the new normal as we need to adapt to new situations quickly and are not always able to communicate face to face.
Empathy is always the key to building a great team, and it is even more important in the new normal as we need to adapt to new situations quickly and are not always able to communicate face to face.
The new future of work, education and business
Participants of New Normal GURU Design Thinking Online Workshops
All three design thinking trainers believed that Covid-induced digital transformations will have a long-term impact on work, education and business. "Now that we have experienced that work can be done very well at home, it should continue to be an option for employees in the future," said Vince. Iris envisioned the possibility of a hybrid education model, "Online learning will be here to stay. In physical classrooms, it is impossible to personalise education for each student, but virtual classrooms have that potential." Marcus noticed that businesses are not just digitally transformed, "They (businesses) are also integrating physical products, digital software and customised services. For example, cars are transforming from a lump of mechanical engineering into a digital platform for mobility services."
Online learning will be here to stay. In physical classrooms, it is impossible to personalise education for each student, but virtual classrooms have that potential.
By helping us remain creative and agile in different areas of our lives, Design Thinking can shape us into new normal gurus in innumerable ways. Follow the Institute of Design Knowledge on Facebook and Instagram to learn about upcoming Design Thinking workshops and activities.