PART-I: Never succeed in startups: An Ultimate Guide.

PART-I: Never succeed in startups: An Ultimate Guide.

Have you ever come across or even had a thought to know how to not succeed as a start-up?

No? Never had any thought, as such?

Then, let us introduce you to certain methodologies which will escort you through this ultimate guide.

Learning from your mistakes and knowing why you failed in the first place is important. And that’s where “Design Thinking” and “Lean Methodology” play a major part.

Even after incorporating them in your early or later stages of failure you get to know your weak points and work through them!

So, what exactly are we going to encounter here?

PART- 1: A Basic understanding of Design Thinking and its different stages.

PART- 2: A Basic understanding of Lean Methodology and its different principles.

3. Conclusion: Are they really the same methodologies?

Let’s start with,‍‍


The term “Design” is often associated with the quality and aesthetic appearance of a product. But as a discipline, it deals with innovation that draws attention not only to the technological and marketing factors- but also to the importance of presenting new connotations to products, services, and relationships.

Design Thinking is not a concrete approach to design. In the process, you have to go through different stages that might be conducted concurrently and repeated several times to discover the best possible solution.

Therefore, Design Thinking is a non-linear, iterative process that designers use to understand human needs, by redefining problems, challenging assumptions by creating many ideas through brainstorming sessions, and adopting the approaches of prototyping and testing.

As they say, ‍

“Things must have a form in order to be seen, but they must make sense in order to be understood and used.”

And this brings us to the “5 stages of Design Thinking”.

The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford described design thinking as a “five-stage” process.‍

Stage 1: “Empathize”- Do the research on your users’ needs.

Through user research, you should gain an empathetic understanding of the problem you are trying to get through. It allows you to set aside your assumptions about the world and gain real insights into users and their particular needs.

‍For an easy understanding, here are a few methods to gain empathy with the users:

  • Observe the user’s perspective without disturbing or questioning the process.
  • Have detailed conversations about the topic with other designers.
  • Assume a beginner’s mindset.
  • Conduct direct interviews with your users with empathy.
  • Ask the 5 whys.

‍From a purely business profit-driven perspective, empathy is an essential component of any sound business solution. If we develop solutions in isolation, without essential insights about our users, we may create solutions that completely miss the mark and thus be ignored by the market.

As one of the Marketingeek’s report states that only 30% of marketers and advertisers demonstrate a high level of empathy in their marketing communications.

But now, many brands have accepted the challenge of building a bridge of empathy between themselves and their customers (and their employees) and are nailing it!

For example, eBay: Up & Running

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, more than 100,000 small businesses had to permanently close their doors; they simply could not survive two or three months of lockdown. Ever the e-commerce advocate, eBay launched an accelerator program for small businesses called “Up & Running,” which gives small businesses a free e-commerce platform to do business. Up & Running even arms these retailers with marketing and advertising tools and shipping discounts to help keep them afloat.

Active, helpful customer service across all channels (in-store, live chat, social media, over the phone) is one of the most effective empathy channels available to you.

As Frank Chimero, illustrator and author of The Shape of Design, says

“People ignore design that ignores people”.‍

Stage 2: “Define”- Emphasize your users’ needs and problems.

Here, accumulate the information gathered from the Empathize stage. And then analyze your observations and synthesize them to solve the main challenges you and your team have acknowledged.

Design thinkers often analyze a situation before synthesizing new insights and then analyze their synthesized findings once more to create more detailed syntheses. (To know more)

Here is how to analyze and synthesize the observations,

The analysis is about breaking down complex concepts and problems into smaller, easier-to-understand constituents. For instance, during the first stage of the Design Thinking process, the Empathize stage, you observe and document details that relate to your users.

‍Synthesis, on the other hand, involves creatively piecing the puzzle together to form whole ideas. This happens during the Define stage when you organize, interpret, and make sense of the data you have gathered to create a problem statement.

Begin a problem statement with a verb, such as “Create”, “Define”, and “Adapt”. It will guide you to focus on the specific needs that you have uncovered. Also, creates a sense of possibility and optimism that allows team members to spark off ideas in the Ideation stage, which is the third stage.

Creating Personas is another way to acknowledge your users’ needs.

Personas are fictional representations and generalizations of a cluster of your target users who exhibit similar attitudes, goals, and behaviors concerning your product and are based on user research.

So, create personas before proceeding to ideation!‍

Stage 3: “Ideate”- Create ideas by challenging the assumptions.

You are all set to generate ideas. Once you get a solid background knowledge from the first two stages, you can start thinking “outside the box”, find alternative ways to view the problem and bring out innovative solutions to your problem statement.‍

To this end, we use synthesis tools to stimulate creativity and generate solutions in line with the context of the subject in question.

For example,

Airbnb is an interesting example of how it works.

When Airbnb realized that people were skeptical about booking listings, they visited all the listings in New York, spoke to the hosts, and realized that it was the poor quality of photographs that had decreased bookings. They took better pictures of the listings, the bookings went up and the hosts and guests were both satisfied. In doing this Airbnb kept users at the crux of problem-solving.

It stepped into the user’s shoes to figure out their pain points, ideated along the lines of the identified problem and came up with a solution. They empathized with what the users actually do and want.

Design thinking keeps at the core of tapping into user sentiment.

Stage 4: “Prototype”- It’s about the time when you create actual solutions.

“Prototyping means making an idea tangible; it is the passage from the abstract to the physical to represent reality — even if simplified — and promote validations,” explains the authors of Design Thinking — Innovation in Business.

The goal is to start with a low-fidelity version of the intended solution and improve it over time based on feedback. Prototyping will usually involve the creation of small-scale, inexpensive versions of the product

‍Prototypes can be sketches, models, or digital renders of an idea. It helps to learn quickly with minimal effort. Prototypes can include specific features to target individual problem-solution scenarios, and set the stage for decision-making conversations around what works and what doesn’t.

And this is how it looks,

‍Stage 5: “Test”- All you have to do is, try out your solutions!

As this is the final phase, design thinking is iterative: Teams often use the results to redefine one or more further problems. Subsequently, you can go back to the previous stages to make further iterations, alterations, and refinements- to rule out different solutions.

‍It is necessary to understand that these stages are different modes that contribute to the entire design project, rather than sequential steps. Your goal throughout is to gain the deepest understanding of the users and what their ideal solution/product would be.

To wrap things up, Design Thinking is a flexible process that is solution-focused to help solve problems that everyday people have issues with.

Design Thinking is a methodology that provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. A design mindset can be applied to any life situation, and it aids in considering the bigger picture and informatively acting accordingly.

Indeed, if the strategy is about taking the right risks, then some initiatives will surely be failures. But it is from failure that we learn the most and advance organizational strategy the fastest.

Being UX professionals, we believe it is important to advocate for the user and cater to their needs while solving any problem or building a product. Nonetheless, to do that, there’s a huge distinction in the understanding of what a good design is and the users’ needs in startups as well as in businesses. And our studio challenges us to comprehend the dialects from different perspectives and use the right methodologies to solve this dilemma.

Stayed till here?

Then consider sticking around for a little while, we’ll be back with the Second PART (soon before you know). ;)

(Here is the link for PART: 2

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