With the growing challenges in business organizations that range from rapid technological advances to a more demanding consumer and competition, companies have had to improve the experience they give their customers by applying various aspects of digitalization to their advantage. According to Martin (2009), for a company to be successful with regards to how it makes important decisions, they have to apply the innovative principles of design thinking. Organizations that have applied design thinking have been extremely successful in their operations. Design thinking involves an interdisciplinary team that works together to come with solutions that are centered on customer satisfaction. The five elements of design thinking include defining the problem, developing options, determining the direction, selecting the best solution and finally executing. The discussion will analyze how the Target Company effectively utilizes these five elements in achieving design thinking and innovation.
Defining the Problem
To maintain a strong company framework, it is essential to identify the problems within an organizational structure and to deal with them as they occur. The first step in defining the problem is to articulate the problem in the simplest terms possible. Also, in defining the problem, it is essential to outline the desired outcomes, and this requires the perspective of customers and other beneficiaries. Thirdly, it is vital for an organization to state who stands to benefit and why. After these steps, it is also crucial to justify the reason why an organization should attempt to solve the problem, contextualize the problem and finally write the problem statement. The Target Company has a problem in is its recently opened stores in Canada. The retail shops have done a poor job replicating the American based shops due to higher prices of commodities that result from transportation and tariff costs. The retail shops in Canada have also done poorly because it has failed in availing the well-known American brand of commodities into the stores. In defining this problem, it is essential for the company to note that both the business and the customer stand a chance to benefit from the solution. The business will recover from the massive losses it has made due to low demand of commodities, and on the other hand, the customers will benefit as the business will avail their desired brand of commodities.
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Developing the Options
Carr et al. (2010) asserted that this stage involves the designers' task in generating ideas that are geared towards mitigating the problem. With the solid background of knowledge of the business' problem, the process of identifying new solutions to the problem can begin. In developing the options, it is first important to figure out the problem regarding prioritizing the consumers' needs and focusing on the right problem. Secondly, the company has to critically analyze the problem by extracting variables and values that cause it. Finally, it is important to come up with several options that are directed towards mitigating the problem. With regards to Target Company's problem in Canada, the business can carry out a market research to determine which American commodities are most in demand by the Canadian population. The target Company, through the department of trade and international relations, can negotiate with the Canadian embassy on the possible subsidy of the transportation and tariff costs to allow them to sell their products at an affordable price to the Canadian population.
This step involves investigating the problem solutions generated in the previous generated in the previous stage. The ideas could be shared and tested extensively with the team itself, with other departments or other groups outside the design team. The solutions are implemented, and one by one they are investigated. After an investigation, they can be accepted, improved or rejected on the basis of their impact on the customer. The Target Company will assess all the options it has at its disposal, share and discuss it among its ranks and determine the way forward. The options will be subjected to technical teams that will engage the United States government and the Canadian government in determining whether a possible dialogue can happen regarding the transportation and tariff costs. The technical team can also analyze on other possible directions to take on whether to carry out a market research on the Canadian citizens to determine the commodities that would attract them. Finally, the technical team can also consider a complete withdrawal from Canada if a common ground that would benefit both parties would not be arrived at.
Selecting the Best Solution
In selecting the best solution, the company will focus on a move that will ensure that its commodity prices are affordable to the Canadian consumers, its plea to have the transportation and tariffs effectively reduced is honored and thirdly, that the consumers in Canada can access American branded commodities. The preferred solution, in this case, is to organize for a negotiation with the Canadian embassy to discuss the matter which will ensure that heavy taxes on tariffs are removed, and hence goods can be sold in Canada at a lower price. This will also ensure that more American branded commodities that attract a wide market are availed to the Canadian people.
Here, designers employ the best option or solution identified during the initial stages. The Target Company will organize for meetings with both United States trade relations and the Canadian embassy to initiate talks that will be geared towards reduction of levies and tariff charges on transportation of commodities.
The company excels in the process of design thinking in finding the best solution to amicably solve the issue that surrounds one of their branches in Canada. Through design thinking, they can formulate a step by step strategy of identifying the problem and involving various stakeholders in seeking the solution. A thorough definition of the problem is useful for the Target Company in identifying the severity the problem has caused to the overall business. One area where the organization needs to improve with regards to design thinking is determining options. In determining the options available to take in the face of a business problem, the designers should strive as much as possible to formulate many hypothetical solutions that are aimed at solving the problem. Having many options is important because it widens the scope, hence increasing the possibility of selecting the best solution. The target Company formulates only three solutions hence narrowing their chances of selecting the best option.
Recommendations that can help a company improve in innovation and decision making include incorporation of various stakeholders such as engineers, designers, product managers and marketers in designing the best solution that is aimed at customer satisfaction. Also, a design-centric culture can only succeed if there are an intent and commitment from the top brass of organizational leadership. The company should have leaders at all ranks that value design and innovation. Finally, the business organization should also heavily invest in design infrastructure, support and training across the organization. In conclusion, design thinking is a process that utilizes design principles in solving complex business problems. It helps the business identify opportunities, unlock innovations and increase their profitability. Many market leaders such as Target Company have used design thinking and innovation to a greater extent in gaining competitive advantage.
Carr, S. D., Halliday, A., King, A. C., Liedtka, J., & Lockwood, T. (2010). The influence of design thinking in business: Some preliminary observations. Design Management Review , 21 (3), 58-63.
Martin, R. L. (2009). The design of business: Why design thinking is the next competitive advantage . Harvard Business Press.