‘Design Thinking’: the brand new idea we’ve been practising for years


Anyone working in Marketing will be familiar with the phenomenon.

As with a clothing fashion, a phrase emerges from nowhere and suddenly appears to be everywhere, becoming elevated to the status of buzzword by virtue of its very ubiquity.

A defining characteristic of such terms is that the more popular they become, the less understood they are. As more and more people adopt them, they become re-interpreted and ‘spun’ to reflect the different agendas and perspectives of the people who use them.

In recent years the term CRM can be seen to have gone through these evolutionary phases - from niche obscurity to a term that can seem to mean all things to all people.  More recently, the phrase Digital Transformation achieved poll position as the ‘thing’ everyone seemed to be talking about with an authority matched only by their inability to agree on what exactly the term means.

Right now, it seems the buzz-word baton has been passed on to the newest poster child of the digerati: Design Thinking.

The origins of this term are inevitably obscure, but it appears to have first emerged from the field of product design and has since been embraced by the UX world.  A recent HBR article describes Design Thinking as a ‘social technology’ - a structured process for creating innovative solutions based on having the designer walk in the shoes of the customer. This allows them to experience real empathy with the product user through a process of ‘immersion’ - affording a deeper insight into the unstated needs and wants of the consumer.

The point is, none of this is new.

In fact, it sounds very similar to the approach we at Draw have been taking with our clients for many years.

We know that commercial success stems from delivering an experience in tune with what the customer really values. To know how to do this you have to understand the customer journey - and communicate - at both a rational and emotional level. And you need do so across all touch points, not just digital.

This is what we mean by being ‘the voice of the customer in the boardroom’.

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