Agile and design thinking methods both contain principles, frameworks and defined sets of roles and activities. When thoughtfully applied in concert, the two approaches can help teams align and deliver differentiated solutions that drive growth and bring new value to consumers.
Agile development is a nimble process that relies on close teaming and customer collaboration to respond to market change rapidly. The goal is to get to market quickly and iterate with improvements, sometimes continuously. It’s a common misconception that agile methods emphasize speed and flexibility at the expense of the customer experience. When agile development is executed properly, satisfying customers is a primary objective. However, if agile teams become overly focused on incremental improvements, they can lose sight of the impact their iterations will have on customer experiences.
Design thinking can be helpful in this situation. Because it uses research techniques from social sciences like ethnography and psychology, design thinking can help uncover human needs and motivations. Design thinking also includes rapid prototyping methods that enable teams to test new ideas quickly.
When teams launch solutions that don’t address customers’ root issues and don’t offer a better option than the competition, they risk disappointing and losing customers. But when development teams get it right, they can open up long-term revenue opportunities from repeat customers. According to Marketing Sherpa, consumers reward brands they like. Of satisfied customers, 61 percent are “very likely to make another purchase,” compared to a mere 7 percent of unsatisfied customers who would. This focus on customer satisfaction points to at least one reason why design-driven companies outperformed the S&P by 228 percent over 10 years.