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When The Customer Actually Comes First: Design Thinking

The perfect place to practice design thinking...
The perfect place to practice design thinking...

For years, design thinking has offered businesses a framework for putting consumers’ needs at the center of their work.

It sounds obvious — the customer always comes first. But not every company embodies that mantra, and some think they know consumers a lot better than they actually do before launching a product.

Through innovation bootcamps and training seminars, design thinkers promise to bridge the gap between creators and users.

Here’s how The Wall Street Journal describes the methodology:

Design thinking, with roots in Silicon Valley, puts a customer’s needs above all else when creating a product or service. It often begins with the question “how might we?” For it to really work, it needs a different kind of CEO: a chief empathy officer.

Understanding how a customer experiences a product or service trumps concerns about profitability, manufacturing and logistics. Apple’s iMacs, child-friendly MRI machines and open-office plans are products of design thinking. So are a lot of tech startups worth billions on paper even as they bleed red ink.

Is design thinking the best way for companies to solve complex problems — and turn a profit? 

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