Design Thinking and Agile for the Modern Business Era

Technology is evolving, and businesses are constantly playing catch up to stay on the same pace as technological breakthroughs and advancements. These breakthroughs are not necessarily always about faster speed and performance of the organization – as a whole and on an individual level – but it is about collaboration, co-creation, and a dialogue between all levels especially concerning design thinking in practice. This is a more customized, personalized experience for the consumer and a more agile method way of changing a businesses’ solutions throughout the development process. However, thinking of applying an ideology and actually applying an ideology are two entirely different things. First some considerations must be taken so businesses can evolve alongside these breakthroughs. The way we consume goods and services is fundamentally changing; as a result, there are two ways of commonly applied processes to help stay ahead of the trend: design thinking and agile development. Conventional run-of-the-mill business practices that prioritize the company over the consumer are completely dead – new businesses are consumer focused and establish a business around the ideology of how, why, when, and how exactly the can collaborate while simultaneously giving the consumer the best possible experience.

Design thinking is a method for practical and creative problem solving that arose form different fields such as engineering, architecture, and a variety of businesses that all had one thing in common: to focus on peoples’ needs in the modern era. Businesses work creatively together to focus on these needs and are highly adaptable in and environment. The five core concepts are empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping, and evaluating. Design thinking is user-centric, meaning it is highly adaptable and focused around the end user and is focused on proactively finding problems, not retroactively solving problems. If the end user’s needs are not being met, a full profile of what the end user experiences while doing business with the product is composed. Then the business explores users needs, develops new ideas, challenges assumptions, then subsequently redefines problems with an end goal of identifying alternative solutions that would not be apparent using conventional business methods.

Agile initially began as a group of software development methods to quickly collaborate and build better business solutions for the evolving market and consumer, but has evolved into a changing ideology that is applied to research and development, technology, and business. Agile methodology is used to iteratively build solutions that solve problems identified by design thinking. Agile can be used as a leverage to essentially morph a client's business so a variety of unforeseen outcomes are assessed: limited risk and maximum adaptability are key tenets. This is done by adjusting the client's business in the right direction iteratively while keeping what is best for the business and customer in mind. The main reason it is coined “agile” is because in its nature that’s what it is – a flexible mechanism designed to enhance solutions over time that gives constant feedback to the business.



Design thinking and agile go hand in hand. Agile is primarily focused on “seeking frequent input from customers in order to iterate to the right outcomes” which almost always guarantees a greater chance of success []. Design thinking and agile both are flexible processes and are better applied together. “Creating a mutually reinforcing environment focused on business needs and rapid iteration as a means of reaching optimal outcomes” helps maintain a strong user focused business ideology while making it easier to deliver solutions that work and serve as a refresher to keeping the business needs at the forefront [].