Forget art school, engineering school, law school and B-school (business). For wannabe innovators the current place to be is D-school. Design school, that is.
Design school teaches a problem solving method known as “design thinking”. Before it was re-branded in corporatespeak this used to be known as “trial and error”.
Many corporations are finding this approach to be both a challenge and a boon; after all, even in 2012, not many businesses encourage their employees to fail.
[div class=attrib]From the Wall Street Journal:[end-div]
In 2007, Scott Cook, founder of Intuit Inc., the software company behind TurboTax, felt the company wasn’t innovating fast enough. So he decided to adopt an approach to product development that has grown increasingly popular in the corporate world: design thinking.
Loosely defined, design thinking is a problem-solving method that involves close observation of users or customers and a development process of extensive—often rapid—trial and error.
Mr. Cook said the initiative, termed “Design for Delight,” involves field research with customers to understand their “pain points”—an examination of what frustrates them in their offices and homes.
Intuit staffers then “painstorm” to come up with a variety of solutions to address the problems, and experiment with customers to find the best ones.
In one instance, a team of Intuit employees was studying how customers could take pictures of tax forms to reduce typing errors. Some younger customers, taking photos with their smartphones, were frustrated that they couldn’t just complete their taxes on their mobiles. Thus was born the mobile tax app SnapTax in 2010, which has been downloaded more than a million times in the past two years, the company said.
At SAP AG, hundreds of employees across departments work on challenges, such as building a raincoat out of a trash bag or designing a better coffee cup. The hope is that the sessions will train them in the tenets of design thinking, which they can then apply to their own business pursuits, said Carly Cooper, an SAP director who runs many of the sessions.
Last year, when SAP employees talked to sales representatives after closing deals, they found that one of the sales representatives’ biggest concerns was simply, when were they going to get paid. The insight led SAP to develop a new mobile product allowing salespeople to check on the status of their commissions.
[div class=attrib]Read the entire article after the jump.[end-div]