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Design Thinking and the Double Diamond For Business Innovation Success

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Design thinking is an innovative problem-solving framework that is being adopted by some of the world's leading brands, such as Apple, Google, and Samsung.

It places the user at the centre of the solution, focusing on their needs, their perspectives, and their problems. This human-centred approach to business strategy has proven to be a game-changer in many industries, leading to more innovative products and services, improved customer satisfaction, and increased profitability.

Design Thinking and the Double Diamond

Design thinking is based around the principle of the double diamond.

The process is designed to encourage creative thinking in trying to solve real-world problems, requiring participants to set aside any preconceptions or previously embedded behaviours to embrace potential and generate innovative solutions.

What is Design Thinking?

  • A non-linear, creative process

  • Focuses on understanding people, challenging assumptions, and redefining problems

  • Aims to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent

  • Encourages businesses to focus on the people they're creating for, leading to better products, services, and internal processes

In the rapidly changing world that we currently face, innovation is becoming more and more important in order to stay relevant and resilient, no matter the size or status of the organisation.

Don't be left behind.

The Design thinking process allows you to use the Double Diamond methodology – Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver – to fully understand the problem, experiment with and refine solutions before validating your approach to ensure that your innovation has the best chance at success.

The Double Diamond methodology:

As previously mentioned, this consists of 4 areas:

  1. Discover: this is a phase of research, observation and exploration where you should immerse yourself in the problem you are trying to solve.

  2. Define: once you have fully understood the dimensions of the problem, it is important to clearly define it so that everyone understands.

  3. Develop: with a clearly defined problem, the develop stage is when you begin to identify and ideate solutions, exploring all different concepts and possibilities.

  4. Deliver: the deliver stage involves validating, testing and refining your solutions so that you can begin to implement the best ones.

Step by Step Through the Design Thinking Process

When going through the process, it is important to remember that it is an iterative one. Meaning that, instead of a fixed linear approach, it can often be necessary to return to previous stages to revise assumptions and conclusions based on new discoveries.

For example, during the deliver stage you might realise that none of your solutions can be fully validated. Instead of going with the least bad option, you should instead return to the discover and define stages to reassess the true nature of the problem and identify why your solutions are missing the mark.

Let's take a look at each step:

Phase 1: Discover

The first phase of the double diamond is the discovery phase; researching and exploring the true nature of the problem.

For a complete successful outcome, it is important to fully understand the stakeholder whose problem you are trying to solve. Doing so will help you overcome any assumptions and biases to arrive at the true nature of the problem more easily.

Before any design thinking exercise in our Workshops or Courses, the Yohlar Innovation Team always use tools such as 'Stakeholder and Empathy Maps' to make sure that we thoroughly understand our target stakeholder before embarking on any design thinking exercise.

We also recommend conducting user interviews, completing research (through conducting your own market research survey or spending some time on Google), and completing a 'Value Proposition Canvas' for your stakeholder to make sure you have a complete understanding of your stakeholders needs and pain points.

Phase 2: Define

Defining the problem 'well' is the key to success in the second half of the double diamond. How can you identify solutions if you don’t fully understand the challenge?

This is the section where your focus should shift from exploring all aspects of the problem to refining it into a clear problem statement.

Use tools such as the '5 Whys' and the 'SMART goal tool' to clearly articulate your problem or opportunity and ensure that it really is the one you should be working on.

This is also a good opportunity to reframe your problem: you’ve been looking at this from the perspective of one stakeholder, does another stakeholder share the same problem?

Phase 3: Develop

The develop stage is the one where you can really let your creativity shine!

This is where your focus should shift from understanding the problem to coming up with a solution. As the diamond widens in this stage, it is important not to restrict your thinking – you never know which crazy idea might spark the ideal solution.

The develop stage is also an ideal stage to bring in all team members. Everyone has different perspectives and experience and it this process is most effective when you use this.

You can use design sprints and 'Yohlar’s Rapid Discovery' exercise, as well as other ideation tools, to come up with as many ideas as possible.

Phase 4: Deliver

Finally the deliver stage is where you take all the ideas you’ve previously come up with and refine them into a tangible solution.

You can do this through prioritisation grids, rapid prototyping and testing.

It's better to Fail Fast

‘Failing fast’ is a common phrase in entrepreneurial circles, the idea suggests that it is better to try lots of ideas and find out quickly which ones are viable and which aren’t, than to invest heavily in one idea only to find that it won’t work.

In this stage, you could return to the end-users you focused on in the first two stages and collect their feedback and opinions on your ideas.

You can also use simple tests such as A/B testing and rapid prototyping of your solutions to narrow down which ones you want to continue working on.

This, as with the entire process, is another iterative approach that requires you to be comfortable going back to the drawing board: discarding one idea and picking up another, or returning to stage one to re-evaluate the problem entirely.

Go Beyond Design Thinking

Design thinking is more than just a buzzword in the business world.

It's a very practical, user-centred approach to problem-solving that can lead to significant benefits for businesses of all sizes and across all industries.

Embracing design thinking and the double diamond method is a great way to begin to cultivate a culture of innovation in your organisation.

Innovation is the key to success any organisation, a strategic imperative that paves the way for sustainable growth and meaningful impact.

Not just the Double Diamond

We mentioned a number of other tools and processes to be employed alongside the Double Diamond when utilising Design Thinking.

There is so much more beyond Design Thinking that contributes to a successful innovation pathway.

To remain relevant, competitive and profitable, organisations need people equipped with the right Toolset, Skillset and Mindset... We call this our Power of Three.

Want to know how Design Thinking and Yohlar’s 'Power of Three' can help you innovate, it might be worth speaking to our innovation team, or attending an event or workshop with us. We would also love to speak with you.

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The whole workshop was excellent!
I was hugely impressed at what we were able to achieve as a team with such excellent facilitators

Jannette Archer, NHS

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