Why Design Thinking is So Important

Zack Simon

3 min read

Apr 5, 2021

Why Design Thinking is So Important

It’s one thing to come up with an idea. It’s another to come up with one that works. That’s the thinking behind Design Thinking.

We’ve previously looked at Design Thinking as a process. About how understanding user needs is key to giving them the experience they’re looking for—which in turn is key to helping businesses like yours meet goals.

 In this post, we’ll take a look at why Design Thinking is so important. We’ll shed light on how the process helps you build brilliant digital products that make a difference for your users and your company. 

At a high level, why is Design Thinking important? 

Design Thinking lets you deliver well-thought-out applications that delight your users from Day One. By thinking through the process from every angle up front, you keep your reputation intact—and avoid the time and expense of rolling out new features or functionality post-launch.

Flexible and fixed, at the same time

Design Thinking is, first and foremost, a process. It’s got steps to follow and a checklist of items to reference. It also allows for enough wiggle room so that any necessary changes or pivots don’t completely disrupt the project. 

What that means for your team is that they have a set path to work along and clear goals to achieve. That’s the much-needed structure that any project has to have. But, things change, experiments don’t work as planned, or new ideas are introduced. The ability to incorporate all the unexpected bits of life is where Design Thinking really shines. It’s flexible enough to inspire creative thinking, yet fixed enough to keep the problem-solving on track.

It’s truly democratic

One of the best elements of Design Thinking is that creativity and curiosity can come from anyone. Design Thinking allows for creative thinking from everyone, not just designers and developers. Users are also invited to the Design Thinking table because they are the folks that the process impacts most. The end result is an app that works for everyone involved because everyone has had their say. 

Value now, value over time

Design Thinking keeps you focused on value. By putting the users’ experience first, you’re able to identify their real problems and are able to address them with the best possible solutions. And since Design Thinking has built-in flexibility, you can afford to make needed adjustments from the start all the way to your app launch date.

The process also helps to keep tech and design debt at bay. By taking a purposeful approach to your app’s design, you’ll find that the design and build are a lot more sturdy than if built without so much vital context. 

 So now you know about the benefits of Design Thinking. You might be thinking, how can I make the best use of this approach to innovation? Here are three key takeaways:

  • Get buy-in from your teams. The process needs to be understood to be appreciated. Make sure those involved get the Design Thinking concept upfront. Once briefed and onboard, they’ll be able to make valuable contributions from the start.
  • Constantly refine the process. What’s working, what’s not? Are ideas flowing? Are answers presenting themselves? Adjust the core process to make it work for you to address the problem at hand. And don’t shy away from having those difficult conversations around possible improvements to the process. No one likes to be the naysayer of the group, but pointing out potential obstacles early helps your team avoid them when they come up.
  • Don’t be afraid to change it to better fit your team’s needs. There’s room for flexibility to make sure the process addresses the issue at play. Basically, your team is unique and you need to approach your processes with that in mind. Using Design Thinking as a template is a great place to start, but knowing that you’ll need to adjust it for your team is where the magic really happens.

Design Thinking on the Ranch

We’re a curious bunch at Big Nerd Ranch. We like nothing more than to get inside the heads of the people who stand to benefit from the digital applications we build. Design Thinking is a powerful tool used by BNR senior-level designers and engineers. Join us at the table. Reach out and let’s get started.


Zack Simon

Author Big Nerd Ranch

Zack is an Experience Director on the Big Nerd Ranch design team and has worked on products for companies ranging from startups to Fortune 100s. Zack is passionate about customer experience strategy, helping designers grow in their career, and sharpening consulting and delivery practices.

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