8 Critical Benefits of Design Thinking Training
Change isn’t new—it’s been an inevitable fact of life since the dawn of time. But today, the world is changing at a faster pace than ever before. Culture, technology, the economy, medicine, social norms, and customer expectations are all rapidly evolving, which means businesses, organizations, teams, and individuals need to be able to adapt. Design thinking training can give you and your team the tools you need to survive and thrive in the years to come.
Design thinking training provides tools, resources, and skill-based learning to improve collaboration, communication, critical thinking, creativity, and so much more. Not convinced? Let’s dig into the value of design thinking and the many critical benefits of pursuing ongoing design thinking training.
What is Design Thinking?
Design thinking is an iterative process as well as a system of ideals and principles aimed at finding creative, effective, and human-centred solutions to complex problems. Although based on methods used by designers to deeply understand their users, design thinking can be applied to any field or industry. This is because design thinking is all about humans—understanding how humans think, what our needs are, and finding creative solutions to difficult and ill-defined problems.
Design thinking demands us to go deeper, to question the very nature of the problem as well as our assumptions and the potential repercussions of our solutions. It’s a way to genuinely empathize with our clients, customers, team members, and our community at large. This is accomplished through regular experimentation and iteration, brainstorming, prototyping, testing, and taking risks. Collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity are essential to design thinking, and these vital skills are enhanced the more you practice.
The Benefits of Design Thinking Training
Design thinking is an ideal method of approaching problems and finding solutions, but learning and applying these approaches is easier said than done. That’s where design thinking training comes in. Applying design thinking principles makes just about anything better, and learning these skills and practical applications will give you a leading edge, no matter your industry.
1. Promotes Critical Thinking
Design thinking starts with asking questions that probe the deeper nature of a problem. Design thinking calls us to think critically; it encourages us to carefully and meticulously question the assumptions that act as the framework of our ideas. Design thinkers never accept something as true without diligent reflection.
But we’re only human, and making assumptions is as natural to human beings as breathing. Design thinking training enhances critical thinking by teaching us to counter our assumptions with thoughtful questions.
2. Fosters Collaboration
To effectively challenge assumptions and biases, you need to bring together people from different backgrounds with different experiences who are experts in a range of different areas. Several people with the exact same background working together enables groupthink, which makes assumptions and biases easy to miss.
Design thinking is a collaborative process by nature since it requires a great deal of brainstorming—and brainstorming is most effective when you have a lot of brains working together. Ideas need to be generated as well as evaluated, prototypes need to be tested, and team members need to hold each other accountable to ensure no one’s assumptions encroach on what might otherwise be an effective solution.
Training emphasizes the importance of this collaboration. Get even more out of your training by participating and learning as a team—an ideal team building activity for in-person, remote, or hybrid teams.
3. Improves Communication
It doesn’t matter how many brilliant minds you bring together; if the team cannot effectively communicate with each other or your clients or vice versa, the problem won’t be solved.
You can’t understand and empathize with another person’s perspective if you don’t communicate with them. Effective communication limits the kind of assumptions that can derail a team’s success. Since design thinking is all about seeking to understand human beings, it’s important to understand how to communicate with a range of different people, including fellow team members, stakeholders, clients, and customers.
Design thinking training teaches us to lead with empathy to better understand the root cause of a problem as well as how the solution will bring value to everyone involved.
4. Boosts Creativity
Risk taking is fundamental to creativity. Because of this, many organizations do not promote it for fear it might negatively impact the status quo. And as individuals, creativity is something we learn to stifle from a young age in order to fit in and avoid the watchful eyes of strict school administrators and bullies looking for someone to pick on.
So as adults, our own creativity is something we don’t always have an opportunity or the willingness to explore. Luckily, creativity is the lifeblood of design thinking, and something teams and individuals are encouraged to discover with design thinking training.
Creativity is an incredibly important skill for any team, as it’s what will help you solve complex problems, innovate, and accomplish what others think is impossible.
5. Enhances Empathy
The focus of design thinking is on human beings, seeking to understand their needs, and discovering solutions that meet those needs. It’s an impossible task without a great deal of empathy.
Design thinking training mandates that we walk a mile in our customers’ or stakeholders’ shoes and look at the problem as well as the solution from their perspective. How does the solution impact the human beings at the centre of the problem? Does the solution work for everyone, or will there be people left behind or adversely affected by the solution?
It’s easy to slip back into the habit of assuming everyone sees the world exactly the way we do or is capable of the same things we are. Design thinking training ensures we’re always empathizing with the human beings at the heart of the problem so that solving one problem doesn’t create a dozen more.
6. Builds Adaptability
Just because we don’t know exactly what the future will look like doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for it, and one of the best ways to prepare for an uncertain future is to build your team’s adaptability.
You may have heard of IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), but have you heard of AQ? Our AQ is our Adaptability Quotient, which measures our ability to adapt, such as how we handle unexpected changes, learn from mistakes, and adjust on the fly. The world around us is changing rapidly, and businesses that don’t learn to adapt will be left behind.
The COVID-19 pandemic taught us how important it is to be adaptable. Overnight, businesses and industries were forced to find a new way of working, which meant adopting new technologies and trusting employees to work from home—something many business owners thought unheard of as recently as 2019.
Design thinking training teaches the importance of adaptability, and it builds the skills you and your team need to become more adaptable, including how to accept and manage change, how to question your assumptions, and how to make effective decisions in real-time.
7. Provides Personal and Professional Development
Being open to and striving for new and better ideas establishes a continuous improvement mindset, where you and everyone on your team are always looking to improve the ways you work, solve problems, and deliver innovative products or services.
Design thinking training helps you continually improve upon yourself and your team. How can you be more efficient? How can you better serve your customers? How can you work better as a team? How can you better empathize with those you work with or serve within your industry?
Asking these questions and continuing to learn prevents you from falling behind in your industry or remaining stagnant. Ongoing design thinking training and practice stimulates your brain and challenges you in new ways to ensure you’re always improving.
8. Increases Career Opportunities
The effectiveness of design thinking has made it incredibly popular across a wide range of industries. The tools and techniques designers use are being adopted by businesses and industries of all types, including technology, healthcare, insurance, energy, nonprofits, government, project management, and many more.
The skills acquired learning about and practicing design thinking are sought-after by businesses and hiring managers. Leading businesses want to work with people and other businesses that are creative, collaborative, adaptable, and able to solve complex problems. Your design thinking training will open many doors and present new opportunities as you continue to learn, grow, and hone your skills.
Begin Your Design Thinking Training Today
Design thinking resources are everywhere, which means you can begin your training and skill building today. If you’re new to design thinking, we recommend starting with the following articles, books, and tools.
- 75 Design Thinking Tools and Resources Explained
- 15 Free or Nearly Free Design Thinking Tools
- How to Use an Empathy Map
- Design Thinking Process Cards
- The Design of Everyday Things
- Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers
- Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques
- Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation
Overlap’s Creative Problem Solving School was carefully crafted to bring design thinking training to anyone who is ready to learn. Through various levels of training, you and your team will learn how to work better together and improve how you navigate complex challenges. Our wide range of courses are transformational, practical, engaging, and they will prepare you and your team for whatever the future has in store.
Equip yourself and your team with:
- New Tools & Methods for Collaboration
- Enhanced Leadership Skills
- Improved Team Dynamics
- The Confidence to Tackle Problems
Join our community of creative problem solvers and unlock your potential for innovation. We offer live, virtual, in-person, and (soon!) self-serve formats for all of our courses. If you’re new to design thinking, we recommend starting with our Intro to Human-Centred Design (101) and Exploring Complex Problems (201) courses. Browse our full selection of design thinking courses, which range from beginner to intermediate to advanced.
The Creative Problem Solving School is developed and managed by Overlap, a design consultancy putting people at the centre of our work. Overlap works with organizations of all sizes on the problems that matter most to them. We’re passionate about sharing design thinking and human-centred design methods with the world because we believe in better workplaces, better teams, better communities, and better solutions.