In today’s day and age where entrepreneurship is the new normal, innovation cannot be avoided at any cost. A buzzword as it is, ‘innovation’ requires no rocket science but a strategic approach that brings out the desired solutions to all worldly problems. By taking a design thinking route, you can build an innovation culture to help you create wonders.

Why is innovation such a buzzword in the entrepreneurship world? In today’s cut-throat competitive landscape, it is not easy to survive without offering some kind of newness to the customers. And more than newness, it is the ever-changing needs of the customers that demand customer centric innovation, an innovation that offers value to the customers. That’s why many organizations are adopting an innovation culture to take their entrepreneurship ventures to the next level.

At the heart of any innovative creation is the value that it adds to its end customer. This is where design thinking can be helpful in building an innovation culture. Design thinking is a strategic approach to problem-solving with an intention to create customer-centric solutions. In this article, we shall tell you five sure-fire ways to build an innovation culture using design thinking in your business. 

“If we want businesses to be successful at their maximum potential, we have to co-design society scale systems that cultivate widespread business success.”

― Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr, CEO of Mayflower-Plymouth

Building an Innovation Culture: Five Ways Design Thinking is the Future of Innovation

 5 ways design thinking is the future of innovation culture

Design thinking focuses on understanding consumer needs to create successful products/services. It aligns what’s desired by the audience with technological feasibility and economic efficiency. It comprises five phases: empathy, define, ideate, prototype, and test. Here are five ways design thinking fosters innovation:

  1. Customer-Centric Approach:
    • Prioritizes human values for innovation.
    • Example: Amazon’s unmatched user experience.
    • Adopting this approach cultivates an innovation culture.
  2. Promotes Collaboration:
    • Counters hierarchical work environments.
    • Encourages open collaboration among diverse team members.
    • Embracing this mindset fosters innovation and change.

Adopting an innovation culture is now essential.

  • Design Thinking Fosters IdeationThe traditional hierarchical mindset can impede collaboration and hinder creative thinking, segmenting the workday with rigid constraints that discourage individual creativity.Design thinking, rooted in the principle of divergent thinking, fosters innovation by avoiding bureaucratic and political limitations, creating spaces for creative brainstorming, and embracing broad thinking through rituals. It supports ideation in two key ways:
    1. Encouraging risk-taking and treating failure as a vital part of the learning process, motivating individuals and groups to explore new ideas outside their comfort zones.
    2. Encouraging individuals to ask questions with humility, curiosity, and openness to all potential solutions.

    Design Thinking Embraces Failures

    Contemporary workplaces often lack the structures and incentives to support failure, focusing on efficiency and established processes. Design thinking redefines failure as a crucial step in gaining knowledge and managing risks, promoting a culture of innovation.

    For example, design-led businesses minimize the risk of launching new products by creating and testing cost-effective prototype versions. IBM’s “The Loop” exemplifies this design-driven approach, using continuous prototyping.

    Failures become opportunities for learning and iterative growth in an organizational culture that encourages risk-taking. Design Thinking-driven feedback has guided businesses to make significant pivots, shaping product development and market strategies across the entire organization.

  • Design Thinking Welcomes Unbiased Opinions 

In an organization where each employee just blindly follows the bosses, unbiased, unabashed opinions are not generally welcomed. In such organizations, employees are unwilling to put forward their opinions because no one really asks for them; consequently, that’s where organizations are losing out.

When creating an innovative solution, it is very important to accept criticism. Not only does design thinking embrace failures, but it also embraces unbiased opinions.

The fourth stage of design thinking is more focused on creating prototypes that need to be developed and tested among the target audience to come to a certain conclusion. In this stage, customers are welcome to give their views on the prototype. During the testing stage, it is likely that the prototype might receive negative comments from the customers. And it is okay if they do so because that’s how your final product will be an effective solution. 

Openly listening to your customers or even your own employees helps you create wonders. By adopting this small change in the organizational structure, you not only will be able to deliver effective solutions but also create a more inclusive workplace for your employees. 

Build an Innovation Culture with Design Thinking: The Bottom Line

Design Thinking excels when multiple realms intersect, like business and society, reason and intuition, logic and creativity, human needs and market demands, and systems, fostering a culture of successful innovation.

About the author

Anuradha is a passionate Design Thinking practitioner with 10+ years of industry experience. She has immersed herself in the field of Design and Design Thinking, where she has received training in designing experiences. She is the Founding Partner and Design lead at Humane Design and Innovation (HDI) Consulting. Her professional career spans various roles in Advisory, UX Design, Service Design, Engineering Design, Design integration, and Training. She was the lead designer of the Design Thinking and Innovation practice at KPMG. She has designed multiple digital experiences by conducting strategic UX workshops and design experiences that add functional and emotional value. To her friends & peers, she is the Bonding Agent of the team and always a go-to person. She is an avid reader, blogger & painting enthusiast.

We at Humane Design strongly believe in the human ethos and draw inspiration from humans and other elements of nature to design innovative solutions for organizations of all sizes. We will be glad to be your success partner. Email us your requirements at

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