A brand that taps into the desires of its target audience today drives people’s decisions and ignites action.

 

However, the importance of a user experience more interactive and intuitive is often overlooked. And the intrinsic combination of creative thinking led by user-focused innovation in a human-centered design is frequently rendered scarce in execution.

 

But there is hope for a better world where those long-term efforts of R&D and heavy investments result in a successful breakthrough innovation.

 

So what are those magic ingredients of a holistic business strategy that can bring it to fruition?

 

It takes a unified framework of these three things:

Design Methodology
Creative Thinking
Innovation Strategy

 

These three catchall terms can move mountains if executed properly.

So let’s dive deeper into this, shall we?

 

 

 

Design Methodology

 

 

Design Methodologies are characterized by a certain set of design principles, approaches and techniques in a step by step process, used in implementation of an intended design.

 

In today’s digitally charged world, these design models have evolved as highly functional design paradigms generically applicable to all design oriented fields such as product design, web design, graphic design, software and architecture.

 

Combining the glorifying wisdom of art and science, a design methodology charts a sequential approach to arriving from a problem area to its end solution.

 

The basic structure of a design methodology is generally very flexible in terms of application and manipulation of design.

This in turn, helps designers to take control and test the waters by changing, borrowing and manipulating certain design techniques from other design models.Talented design pundits always strive to break the mould and try something out of the box to arrive at a unique design output.

 

 

Types of Design Methodologies

 

 

  • Top-Down Design (Stepwise Refinement)

 

It is a result oriented approach that works its way backwards to arrive at a given solution or a product requirement in a design process.

 

The top-down design is the most commonly used organizational design paradigm, today being utilised in 90% of branding, product, web and graphic design operations.

 

Top Down Design follows these 5 major steps to work its magic–

 

 

Photo: via Aufenbach

 

Empathize

It focuses on identifying problem areas, extensively researching the end user and understanding their expectations. Interacting with the target user is very important at this stage to get a clear view of the main objective of our design.

 

Define

At this stage we can clearly define what problems we intend to solve for a specific user and what opportunities are open to us for exploration.

 

Ideate

It’s finally time to put on our creative hats and chart down a ton of ideas on at our disposal. While a single design process can arguably eradicate 2-3 problem areas at once, we must freely consider taking multiple approaches of design on board to begin with.

 

Prototype

Always make a cheap/rough version of your ideas to look for any further improvements needed in the design.

 

Test

The last stage is where you ultimately take the output to your users for assessment and to learn more from their usage oriented experiences.

 

 

Coming back to our list of Design Methodologies…

 

 

  • Bottom Up Design

 

Starting with the basic foundation laid out in specific details, the Bottom Up takes the design process from the ground up to give shape to its final output.

 

It lends itself to more extensive use of scientific design exploration and experimentalism in the design process.

 

Unlike the Top Down approach (the final output being unknown in this case), the design structure of Bottom Up approach doesn’t enjoy the luxury of validation from its end solution already marked in the overview.

 

 

  • Structured Design

 

Going by an industry standard of identified inputs and desired outputs, this design methodology tackles the problems under a certain set of constraints.

 

It provides an outline of the design process (specifying how and where to look for solutions) limited by a set of rules and regulations; let’s say, for example – device or project specifics, corporate brand identity, brand voice or style guidelines.

 

Rather than being boxed into a vacuum of design limitations, seasoned design scholars keep some quick strategies handy to -just as easily- get around countless corporate constraints applied to design today.

 

 

 

Creative Thinking

 

 

People are constantly on the lookout to refine their lifestyle by finding simpler ways to solve complex problems. Technology has by far taken over our lives from a digital forefront of online everything-to software driven businesses. This advanced rate of change in the technology sector has fueled the importance of creative thinking process in every application of design.

 

A creative thinking process is that subtle tilt of POV that sparks intuitive innovation and breaks patterns to create revolutionary change.

 

Finding alternative approaches to typical problems can bring more freedom in the creative journey of a brand communication design. Being free from biases and assumptions, creative thinking is an open minded approach that can be applied at any stage of development. This tilt of POV is the spark of intuitive innovation that breaks patterns and creates revolutionary change.

 

In a design thinking process the value of creative intelligence has now become the ethos of a human centered design.

 

Intrinsically being creatures of habit, humans by nature have a hard time trading pathways for a new product they don’t trust. Intuitive creative thinking tackles this problem by poking holes into these patterns and fills them up with an innovative human-centred design.

 

Kaaren Hanson, Facebook’s Design Product Director( former head of Design Strategy at Intuit), has famously said- “Anytime you’re trying to change people’s behavior, you need to start them off with a lot of structure, so they don’t have to think. A lot of what we do is habit, and it’s hard to change those habits, but having very clear guardrails can help us.”

 

Mastering the basics of customer desires, a structured creative thinking process distills the problems worth solving.

 

It’s about the creative leadership that clearly states the difference between- what could work and what actually works. Through the course of consistent prototyping and building an intuitive user experience around what the target audiences values and desires. Mastering the basics of customer desires, a structured creative thinking process saturates the problems that are worth solving prior to investing in the development.

 

 

 

Innovation Strategy

 

 

As technology advances at an accelerated rate today, the efforts for innovation are becoming increasingly difficult to sustain consistently in the lifecycle of any business. It is simply not enough to encourage innovation improvement by investing in R&D activities without a structured plan.

 

Much like a business strategy, marketing strategy and a brand strategy, every business needs to articulate an innovation strategy.

 

Without an innovative system, the efforts for innovation and R&D are thrown to the wolves of ‘ineffective execution’- as Nokia, Hewlett Packard, Yahoo and many more have discovered. Embedding an innovation structure into the company culture can help leverage novel problems to score opportunities and gain competitive advantage. It is important to commit to a business architecture that seamlessly aligns with the interdependent processes of different departments to encourage innovation at every stage.

 

User-focused innovation in products and services can add great value to the overall user experience. Apple’s global success lies in its sophisticated innovative user experience that entails the lifecycle of the brand along with the growth of their users.

 

While indicating the ideal approach in the innovation strategy, the strength of diversity should run tight in the process.

 

Be it a product improvement process, or a breakthrough innovation, the opportunity to tap into the diverse perspectives can move mountains. While indicating the ideal approach in the innovation strategy, the strength of diversity should also run tight in the process. Collaborating these diverse efforts and long-term research into a centralized innovation strategy that stands close to the overall business strategy proves fruitful to the risky heavy investments made for a successful innovation.

 

“Business model innovation is constant in this economy. You start with a vision of a platform. For a while, you think there’s a line of sight, and then it’s gone. There’s suddenly a new angle.”

— Beth Comstock

 

Much like the concept of innovation, the systemic innovation strategy that guides different dimensions of the business must also evolve with real-world experiments and rapid prototyping.

There must always be room to accumulate new knowledge and learn to adapt in a responsive market full of opportunities.