Design Thinking Impact, Outcomes, & Results

Since design thinking has become more widely adopted, there are now more research studies and reports that share study results about the impact of design thinking for organizations. The two best that I have come across recently have been academic research from Jeanne Liedtka at the University of Virginia Darden Business School on Exploring the Impact of Design Thinking in Action and a 2018 Forrester study that was commissioned by IBM on the Total Economic Impact of IBM’s Design Thinking Practice: How IBM Drives Client Value And Measurable Outcomes With Its Design Thinking Framework. Both of the links are detailed pdf reports that you can download to dive deeper.

I appreciate the larger research studies that organize, analyze and synthesize large amount of data. I also appreciate any stories of specific solutions, products, services, or new programs that were created as a result of using a design thinking approach. Below are three examples from our researcher authors of organizations using design thinking and the impact, outcomes, or results. Let us know in the comments any reports, case studies, or stories you’ve come across that you’d like to share.

The Impact of Design Thinking for Organizations

Organizational thinking that puts people first seems to be gaining in both popularity and attention as companies embrace alternative structures to promote problem-solving in the workplace. Enter the multifaceted results driven approach of design thinking.  Simply put, design thinking is an industry agnostic problem-solving process that embraces creativity, encourages collaboration and focuses on a people first mindset. Long gone are the days when a single issue or problem resulted in a single solution or answer.  Companies are striving not only to honor knowledge and expertise but to leverage this information by considering what the customer desires, feels, and truly wants.  Here’s what well know organizations have to say about their decision to embrace design thinking.

IBM

“Our approach is to apply design thinking at the speed and scale the modern enterprise demands. It’s a framework for teaming and action. It helps our teams not only form intent but deliver outcomes— outcomes that advance the state of the art and improve the lives of the people they serve.”  By employing design thinking, IBM boasts:

  • Two times faster to market delivery
  • 75% team efficiency
  • 301% return on investment

 Mayo Clinic

Design thinking does not limit itself to the business growth. The healthcare industry is thriving on the utilization of design thinking and the Mayo Clinic is no exception. Recent efforts have brought a full-scale design philosophy to the work of the leaders at Mayo and results indicate that “working directly with patients and providers allows rapid prototyping with all stakeholders to discover new insights and address problems in the current system of health care delivery.”

Ford Motor Company

Recently, a team of design thinkers at the Ford Motor Company took on the challenge to collaboratively and secretly attempt the design of new Ford GT. They asked themselves questions like:

  • Does the brand make the driver seem like a race driver?
  • How does the engine sound?
  • How does it make the driver feel?

The results of embracing design principles were reported as “a small empowered team with the key decision makers involved throughout, enabled not only a rapid pace but a focused and visionary effort to shape the future of the brand.”

Design thinking, when done well, yields actionable results, no matter the industry. By enlisting design thinking, organizations can not only address everyday business challenges but also gain a measurable edge in today’s competitive market.

What are some research articles, reports, or stories you’ve come across that speak to the impact, outcomes, or result of design thinking?

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