How design thinking helps to create innovations: advice for entrepreneurs

How design thinking helps to create innovations: advice for entrepreneurs


Innovating in business comes from empathy – understanding whether your product will make people’s lives easier. Regardless of the type of business, you need to understand whether you are ready for the innovations that are coming at us in the market. And are you ready to come up with and implement them yourself, and thereby win an ever-increasing share of the market.

At the root of business are not technologies, but needs. Apple, for example, knows everything about us: how much time we spend looking at photos, from which point and to which place you arrived by Uber, what you like on social networks. And based on this, they create a huge innovation market for you. Back in 1977, Apple wrote in its marketing strategy: “We will truly understand the needs of customers better than any other company.”

If you are at the stage of creating an idea, you need to think about how it will solve people’s problems. The famous organization CB Insights collects “obituaries” of startups. It’s actually a database of why startups fail. Every year they release a report on the top 5 reasons why this happens. Usually in the first or second place among the reasons why startups die – because they do not solve any customer problem. Here, a startup starts doing something, attracts investments, releases a product. And it turns out that no one needs it on the market. Therefore, when we research our audience in detail, we protect ourselves from this main risk.

Oleksandr Akymenko, director of the master’s program in innovation and entrepreneurship of the UKU lvbs Business School, consultant on the implementation of innovations and design thinking in business

There are three key groups of tools with which we can investigate user experience. They are very simple:

  • We ask – in the format of an interview. We either sit across from them and speak frankly, or we go to their home or work – where they use what we are trying to create for them.

  • We observe how a person uses the product.

  • We try on our own experience everything that we offer.

The main goal of such research is to free oneself from one’s assumptions. For example, you think something about your own business and are firmly convinced of this hypothesis. And then you go to communicate with the client, and each time in such communication you “shake” these own beliefs and test them for strength. And it may turn out that the real state of affairs is not what you thought.

No matter what your company is doing – whether you’re trading grain for export, brewing coffee or making furniture – based on interviews, observations and first-hand tests, you can always find some of your own insights, and in the end you will provide a better experience for the consumer. This approach is suitable for working both with other firms and with direct clients. Because people are everywhere.


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