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An Innothinker's Mind

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The Design Thinking process relies on the natural and coachable human ability to be intuitive to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional. It draws inspiration from deep empathy for human needs.

Design Thinkers tend to make everything a conscious and original choice. They get inspiration from what they see as opportunities to do things better and have a desire to change them. The “can-do” creative mindset exists.

Connecting with the needs and motivations of real people helps to inspire and trigger new insights to fuel problem solving or innovation efforts. You get inspired by observing, immersing, and engaging with those people for whom you are solving the problem.

You empathize with real people with excellent listening skills and a mindset of compassion and deep insight understanding. Empathy also means challenging your preconceived ideas or problems and assumptions.

You seek to observe and speak to “extreme users” to identify their frustrations or anxieties and workarounds. Extreme users will provide you with a lot of surprises that you would not typically get from your normal users. Such surprises will likely guide you to innovative and new ideas that you will see and learn with a fresh set of eyes together with the right beginner’s mindset.

Inspiration can happen anywhere, and our restless intellectual curiosity and optimism will continue to inspire us. You will then get inspired to come up with more innovative ideas to make change happen.

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Are you creating values throughout your digital transformation journey? If yes, great. Now that you have created values, are you capturing values or not? Creating values without values captured on a sustainable basis could be a short-lived transformation.

All digital transformation initiatives are to create values for the organization. The intent is to leverage technologies to enable the creation of values from, for example, enhancing products and services, building brand and customer loyalty, establishing an effective supply chain distribution network, optimizing operations, or developing people excellence. We need to define the values that we aim to create for each segment that we are targeting. In other words, as a design thinking practitioner, I see this as a user-centered approach to creating value for the people we are designing solutions.

Besides defining the values that we aim to create for each initiative, we must determine the value capture for each value creation. The realization of value capture may be immediate or over some time. Value capture could mean monetization of value created, or savings realized, or margins generated, or liquidity generated.

Of course, the real value needs to be created to capture the value. We, therefore, need to be cautious of creating and capturing the artificial value of which could be detrimental to the business.

In conclusion, it is vital to recognize that both creating and capturing value is necessary for your digital transformation journey. You could be focusing on creating value at the early stages of transformation, and as sustainable value is created, you need to shift your attention to capturing that value. Even while you are capturing value, you should stay continually focused on creating value, or the ability to capture value will be short-lived.

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The ethos of design thinking is the human-centered approach to innovation. The design thinking process takes a designer's perspective that focuses on the user desirability incorporating feasibility and viability elements.

By the early 2000s, due to the escalating growth of internet access and computing power, many organizations had been made possible to collect and analyze a large amount of structured and unstructured data. Furthermore, more advanced and complex analytic techniques like predictive analytics with machine learning were within reach.

Data science requires programming skills to collect, manipulate, and analyze digital data, and the statistics skills to select the type of analysis and algorithms needed to address business or user questions and gain meaningful insights.

Design thinking is the mindset that requires skills to empathize with people's emotional needs to gain deep insights into their problems that need solutions, generate lots of ideas, and create prototype solutions, test, learn and repeat.

Design thinking and data science might not seem like a natural connection; one is associated with unquantifiable and complex human behaviors while the other is a rigorous, quantitative discipline.

I am fortunate to have the opportunity to learn data science and lead a data science team during my short stint with Azendian Solutions. I could see how both disciplines contrast, and yet where they overlap and how they can work together.

The principles of design thinking provide data science with a structured approach to analyze data generated from ambiguous and complex challenges. A human-centered approach can also help ensure the resulting insights are actionable and valuable for target users.

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Inside an Innothinker's mind of the world.

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