How can design thinking prove to be a game changing solution for business analytics?
Design thinking is one of the most useful and potential tools when it comes to business analytics. Design thinking involves the analysis and insights of different business strategies and employing visualization techniques to derive different solutions. In simple terms, a design thinking approach can be defined as a user centric visualization approach for solving a particular business problem.
The benefits of design thinking to business analytics are numerous. However, design thinking is a much more complex methodology than we think it to be. It is for this reason that design thinking is a part and parcel of the most advanced certifications for business analyst professionals. Moreover, design thinking allows the organizations to focus on the right methods for deriving solutions to the right problems.
Basics of design thinking
Design thinking as a concept has been in the domain of business analytics for a very long time. It is a creative method that can be integrated into the process of product design and development. Design thinking allows a business to target the users with the right approach and tap the market potential to its fullest. In simple terms, design thinking can be thought of as one of the strongest business analytics processes which makes business operations easier and business strategies much more insightful. Let us now understand the four basic principles of design thinking and predictive analytics.
- The first principle involved in the understanding of the business problem is gathering data and also doing some ground research related to the business problem.
- The second important principle related to design thinking is the exploration of the gathered evidence and data so that a preliminary solution can be derived to challenges that the businesses might be facing.
- The third principle involves the development of a prototype which is a prospectus solution to the business problem. It is also possible that we may think of developing all new products or appropriate types of the same at this stage.
- The commercial potential of the product is also gauged at this stage. The final principle related to design thinking and business analytics is the evaluation of the business problem or the product as the case may be.
Design thinking and business analytics
Design thinking is one of the cornerstones of business analytics in an enterprise that is driven by market dynamics and the prospects of technology at the same time. Neither do the market dynamics remain constant nor does the technological domain witness a phase of stagnation. It is in this context that design thinking becomes the connecting link between design and development of products that are both technology driven and commercially viable.
Design thinking is completely different from the traditional process of business analytics that employs an iterative or a repetitive approach. Design thinking does not adopt a bottom up approach but comes up with novel techniques and reverse engineering to get the job done in a short span of time. With the help of design thinking, it becomes possible to achieve complex business goals by seeking alternate pathways and multiple approaches for a particular business problem.
Application spectrum of design thinking in business analytics
The application spectrum of design thinking in the domain of business analytics is quite large. With the help of design thinking, it becomes possible to involve internal stakeholders in a particular project and devise ways and means to come up with multiple solutions for a particular business problem. It also allows us to approach a business problem in a large number of ways.
Design thinking and predictive analytics is also crucial for the examination of a particular project at various states of its development. Needless to mention, design thinking allows us to conduct phase wise audits of the project. It helps us in defining the scope of the project as well as deriving solutions to the challenges that may arise in the process of design and development. It allows us to conduct assessments at an early stage of the project so that the needs of the customers as well as the end users are fulfilled when the product is at the final stage of its development.
Design thinking also facilitates the setting up of a cross functional team where all the stakeholders share their ideas about the progress of the project and the innovation that can be made at different phases of the project. In simple terms, design thinking allows the optimisation of different stages of the entire project and makes it possible to meet various deadlines.
Design thinking also allows us to devise an empirical approach for arriving at insightful and meaningful decisions. In this way, design thinking acts as a precursor to the art of effective decision making. Design thinking operates as an innovative arm of the business analytics team and helps in design, development, maintenance and delivery of great products and services.
The cycle of design analytics
When we employ the process of design thinking in the domain of business analytics, we call it design analytics. In very generic terms, we can categorize the process of design analytics into seven main stages.
- The first stage involves the definition of the problem or the mapping of the domain or the vision statement related to the project.
- The second stage involves the gathering of information and doing background research related to the business problem. The business analytics tools that are employed at this stage include workshops, surveys and context analysis about the project in question.
- Design thinking plays a very important role in the third stage which is called the ideation stage. It is at this stage that interdisciplinary teams work in collaboration with each other and share meaningful insights. Dedicated teams related to design thinking then develop unique and novel approaches to approach the business problem in a multi dimensional way.
- The fourth stage involves the development of a preliminary model or a prototype related to the problem that can be put forward before all the stakeholders. Usually, multiple prototypes are developed and multiple solutions are proposed related to the main project and the most suitable one is selected.
- The selection phase is the fifth stage of the process and it involves the justification of selection criteria to all the stakeholders.
- Testing and experimentation phase is the sixth stage of the process and it involves the prediction of outcomes of the project.
- Finally, in the seventh stage, we take the feedback at the commercial stage of the project and examine if the product meets the expectations of all the stakeholders.
The way ahead
In one word, the businesses are operating in a competitive environment in which the traditional ways of operation can work antagonistic to one’s business aspiration. It is in this context that business analysts need to look at design thinking as a unique way of creating comprehensive space in the business market.
Given the competition and the saturation of the business market, it is highly likely that a business may give in to its counterparts. As such, a business needs to be ready to meet new challenges related to product design and development. It needs to develop a suitable roadmap to meet the boom and bust cycles of the business market. This is only possible if design thinking is integrated with business analytics and opportunities are created for sustainable business growth.