Employ design thinking in your business and reap the benefits of prototyping.

Children have a natural tendency to create, design and prototype as a form of play. You may observe a child attempting to build a structure with blocks for example. Often, he will not first look for instructions on how to build the exact structure, but may just have a concept in their mind or see a picture and start to create. If it falls over, the child laughs and begins again. In a nutshell, he is prototyping.     We can learn a lot from children playing as it relates to the concept of design thinking. Design thinking encompasses a set of principles including empathy, prototyping, and a tolerance for failure, to name a few. In a day in age where the business environment can be so volatile that companies must experiment with a variety of paths to thrive and flourish, design thinking can serve as a tool for creating a responsive and flexible organizational culture.   Design thinking can help employees manage complexities within an organization and break projects down into a way of thinking that is simple and intuitive—drawing on that childlike curiosity and yearning to try something new without always knowing the outcome with 100 percent certainty. This creates a culture of innovation and creativity where employees feel safe to bring all of their ideas to the table.   Due to the success rate of companies that embrace the concept of design thinking as it relates to product development, we are also seeing a movement of the the concept of design evolving beyond just making objects. Organizations are now investing in training and development around how their employees can think like designers and apply design principles to the workplace itself.   Design thinking can be at the core of effective strategic planning and positive organizational change. It can be applied to management, procedures and customer experiences. A design mindset is not problem-focused, it is solution-focused and action-oriented toward creating a preferred future.   As in the example at the beginning of the article with the child building a structure with blocks, design thinking draws upon a combination of logic, intuition, imagination and reasoning to explore possibilities of what could be in creating desired outcomes. 
  Training and education around the concept of design thinking can help bring employees within an organization back to their child-like sense of unlimited possibilities as they innovate and create new strategies and solutions for their organizations.  Today there are many tools and resources available that can help employees begin to think like designers in their day-to-day roles and become educated on the prototyping process.   Michelle T. Patella (michelle.patella@zenithpointe.com) is the founder & CEO of ZenithPointe, FinancialVue & MiradorWellness.  Her personal mission through each of her ventures is to help others to become the best versions of themselves. She holds a master of science in Positive Organization Development & Change from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management.