Design Thinking has become the go-to methodology for activating innovation initiatives across any number of businesses, government organizations, and not-for-profits. Some of the tools used in the design thinking process—observational research, rapid prototyping, quick validation techniques—are so popular, they’ve become the near-equivalent of GAAP standards for innovation related work efforts.
Unfortunately, many of these shiny new innovation efforts begin with an internally focused and narrow definition of why the effort is undertaken. Look for the words “we” and “our” in the rationale to begin the effort. As in, we need to grow our market share, we need to expand our product line, we need to figure out how to apply technology X (fill in the blank) to our business, or we need to make our supply chain more efficient. These “we-centered” statements, rather than customer-centered or user-centered statements, typically result in prosaic solutions at best and disappointment at worst.