How to predict the future with design thinking

“We have manufacturing lines older than most of our employees, how can we be innovative?” bemoaned an executive of a global aerosol packing company during a recent design thinking workshop. 

Experimentation: low-risk, high-reward value creation

This is the final post in our Design Thinking series. If you'd like, start with the big picture and delve into DiscoveryInsights, and Ideation before diving in on Experimentation. 

The Design Thinking process has led us from identification of fresh perspectives on what customers need to unique ideas about how to meet those needs in groundbreaking new ways. The experimentation phase consolidates this research and thinking into actionable, testable ideas. In experimentation, we discover the value that our ideas hold for the customer or consumer. 

At the final stage, Experimentation, you have the ability to test Ideas in a low-cost, low-risk, high-reward format through market research (via survey or observation), minimum viable products (MVPs), and prototypes. This stage de-risks the opportunities identified in earlier phases by gauging their value without requiring huge investments of time or resources. 

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The beauty of Experimentation is avoiding investments in costly solutions that don’t solve business needs and fall flat upon launch. Our teams begin with a $100 budget and a compressed schedule of weeks, not months. These constraints keep participants in an iterative mindset and allow them to fail, or succeed, quickly.

Experimenting with some of our ideas for the British government related to electric vehicles could start as soon as this year, allowing them to learn long before the ban takes effect in 2040.

For example, our “How might we reduce range anxiety with consumers before purchasing electric vehicles?” could lead us to the idea of creating a shared program for “borrowing” electric cars before buying. We have already completed the market research related to this topic, so the next step is designing an $100 experiment.

Search car sharing websites for electric car owners, pair them with drivers considering the switch to EVs and measure your success.

While experimentation is the "final" stage of Design Thinking, it's actually a gateway back into other phases of our process. If an experiment doesn't resonate with customers on the first try, their feedback is a launchpad back into a more-refined discovery phase. 

From discovery through experimentation, the Design Thinking process has provided not only new ideas, but a closer connection with the customer. This connection provides insight that can be disseminated throughout the organization, providing opportunities large and small for value-creation. 

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At The Berkeley Innovation Group, we are co-creators, working shoulder-to-shoulder with your team on immersive design thinking projects to solve core business challenges. Moreover, individuals are empowered with enhanced skills and a common language to continue using design thinking methodologies to unlock innovation and value for the long run.

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