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ALTEN Calsoft Labs’ Design Thinking Playbook

Engineering, Medicine, Business, Architecture, and Painting are concerned not with the necessary but with the contingent – not how things are but how they might be-in short, with design… Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.

Herbert Alexander Simon, Nobel Laureate

The purpose of design

While working to be a good designer, you can think like a designer and design the way you lead, manage, create and innovate. Design should be such that the way of thinking can be applied to systems, procedures, protocols, and user experiences.
The purpose of design, is to improve the quality of life. Design begins with setting a strategic intention. If you are mapping out a strategy, you are designing.

More than a methodology.

Design Thinking is more than a methodology. It’s a mind set and a culture that the designers embrace to solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions for clients. Design culture is about empowering individuals in an organization
that promotes understanding and respect for customers, lays emphasis on careful and intentional decisions, has high degree of tolerance for failure and rediscovers the paradigm of human centered business.
Design Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore potential possibilities and create desired outcomes that benefit the end users

Brilliant design in products and services appeals users and brings in “a-ha” moments. Leading global corporations like P&G, GE, IBM, Pepsi and SAP have adopted Design Thinking to re-invent, re-imagine and re-launch their successful products. Design thinking approach in successful companies demands the leadership team embrace a growth oriented mind-set, since the crux of the design thinking centers around Experimenting, Learning & Scaling.

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Carol S. Dweck, a noted psychology professor, who believes in the power of continuous improvement quotes, “The growth mind-set with its willingness to embrace mistakes ultimately fosters greater creativity, innovation and achievement.”

Key elements of a design driven culture

The key elements of a design driven culture include a better understanding of the customer, bring in empathy, designing in real time with customer experience as the top priority, acting swiftly based on user feedback.

Here are some of the best practices to develop a design driven culture in your organization.

  • Expand the horizons, inculcate growth oriented mindsets in designers
  • Develop a common language and framework for design thinking as an innovation catalyst
  • Learn practical tools and techniques you can use on the job
  • Equip team members with design thinking action plan, activities, tools/templates, and checklists
  • Decisions should be taken around user’s anxieties, challenges
  • Establish standard set of rules to govern team collaboration and customer co-creation
  • Develop an integrated design thinking model with business processes that improves innovation outcomes
  • Establish a clear guidelines and rulebook about when NOT to use design thinking

Design Thinking strongly relies on empathy to put customers and end users at the center of the problem-solving journey. With end users at the center, Design becomes a magic wand to achieve agility and change, disrupt business models and approaches with a human touch, attract and nurture talent, build competitive advantage, and a strong brand.

Leadership in an organization should foster a culture that rewards risk taking and teamwork, encourage experimentation and advocate the principle of “Fail safe and early”. Failures should be treated as opportunities for learning

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About the author

Ravi is a Design thinking enthusiast who is a strong proponent of integrating empathy and imagination, the core principles of design with a pragmatic approach to drive innovation and solve business problems to help companies drive deliver results.
He has rich experience in Digital Transformation, Outsourced product engineering, Customer value creation, User centred design solutions for Healthcare, Retail, Education & Travel industries.

His areas of interest and research include Digital customer Experience, Customer Journey maps and Digital Strategy & Consulting. You can reach him at

Source: paper Design Thinking Playbook