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10 steps to implement 'Design Thinking' while facing a black swan event  

10 steps to implement 'Design Thinking' while facing a black swan event  

Design Thinking is the buzzword for getting around disruptive events. Here’s why it is going to be the tool of the future. Design Thinking expert and facilitator Niket Karajagi shares 10 steps for implementing Design Thinking with Business Today in an EXCLUSIVE interview.

Design Thinking is the tool for tomorrow Design Thinking is the tool for tomorrow

A black swan event could take you by surprise and completely change how you work and live. Your conventional way of thinking could never help you tackle the 'wicked problems' these occasions pose. You need to think fresh and think fast to create new solutions. This is where Design Thinking comes in and according to Design Thinking facilitator, Niket Karajagi – this is all set to be the foremost tool for companies in the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world we are staring at. Karajagi shares his insights with Business Today in an exclusive interview. Edited Excerpts: 


BT: Almost every other tech university these days has put Design Thinking on the curriculum. Is this the latest tool in the kitty for managing enterprises worldwide?

Niket Karajagi: The pandemic was a black swan event. Nobody was ready for it. We all learned to work around it. New solutions become popular during black swan events – take the dishwasher for instance. Dishwasher sales spiked during the pandemic because of the specific needs that cropped up during that time. Nobody knew how to deal with a situation like that, but within weeks, a new normal was created. When we face uncertainties, we have to implement Design Thinking, create new solutions and build new prototypes.

BT: What are the 10 short steps to implementing Design Thinking during organisational transformation? 

Niket Karajagi: The first step towards implementing design thinking of course is about identifying needs. The second step is about gathering information when you need to do research about what people do and how they do what they do in their environment. Don’t just focus on the ‘users’ of your product or service, also check the stakeholders and analyse how you can use the stakeholder network to advantage. Conduct operational research to check your limitations – like money, time, and resources. There’s a need for hazard analysis to mitigate consequences. The third step is about specification creation which is neither too detailed, nor too vague and should be implemented. Creative design – when you need to spend time in the problem space to find creative solutions. Next, you have to come up with a conceptual design that would help you winnow down the concepts you developed and zero down on solutions. Further, you need to conduct prototype design or create a model of your idea that’s testable. Finally, you need to implement verification so you can learn from your work and reduce uncertainty. 

BT: What is the best way to introduce change smoothly and avoid shock?

Niket Karajagi: The biggest challenge for companies these days is to be able to introduce empathy. I have been consulting with scores of companies that have now realised the need for installing empathy in the heart of systems. It is always about people, and you cannot transform or disrupt any system without keeping empathy at the center. This is where Design Thinking starts.

BT: Can only companies implement Design Thinking, or can individuals implement it to solve problems?

Niket Karajagi: You can implement Design Thinking to solve any problem. It is the easiest and quickest way to resolve wicked problems thrown at you. Starting with your house to your workplace, implement it with any issue and create winning solutions along the way.

BT: How does Design Thinking win over other analytical methods of problem-solving?

Niket Karajagi: Simply because it offers the quickest and fastest way to create a protocol in just 3 to 21 days. You don’t waste time when you start with empathy. You 'fail early and fail cheap' and solve every wicked problem when you try to understand it and the needs of the stakeholders. Design Thinking is the number one tool for the coming century when we are expected to face black swan events more frequently than ever.

Published on: Nov 26, 2022, 12:12 PM IST
Posted by: Sharmila Bhowmick, Nov 26, 2022, 11:29 AM IST