Design Thinking in the Digital Age

Capturing a whole new world of opportunities and expectations requires eliminating the mindset of the past

Design thinking is about creating a system to better serve the business through a holistic approach and solving for the right things. From a customer perspective, design thinking is engaging stakeholders in more intuitive experiences via well thought-out systems that produce clearer standards. In today’s digital environment where everything is connected, allowing for a holistic view and understanding of behavior – recognizing patterns, identifying trends and discerning economic benefit for smarter decision-making – the rules are completely upended. No longer can brands rely on large advertising and marketing campaigns favoring big images with captivating headlines as a means to entice interest.

As such, design thinking is taking on greater importance in a digital reality that breeds more complexity and requires a better result. Effective design thinking creates mutual benefit between the company and its stakeholders through a precise formula that ties elements together to ensure an overall experience. From a digital perspective, that formula begins with what the audience is looking to achieve vs. the old model based on how a company wanted to operate. This is making traditional advertising, communications and engagement efforts obsolete – and yet many organizations continue to hold onto them.

Applying a new mindset amid a completely volatile environment requires a disruption of the value proposition:

Analytics are the Bedrock – At the core, digital should be fueled by data. The capacity to capture behavior, movements through the journey, interactions and decision-making while recognizing people say one thing and do another is essential. Analytics help us understand data and the real needs of stakeholders, allowing for the translation of data to actionable insights.

The Entire Experience – From beginning to completion, every touch point must be intuitive, clean and cohesive to complement the entire journey. Streamlining truly integrated omni-channel communications that are customized based on the unique insights we have about each micro-moment in the journey ensures deeper insights and measurability.

The System is the Difference but must be Invisible – The roadmap through the brand and the company for key audiences – customers, prospects, investors, influencers, media, salespeople – must be solid and smooth but, more importantly, so powerful that it is not even identified. Technology enables frictionless experiences when implemented effectively. As marketers, we must understand that the end-to-end experience is only as good as the weakest link

Device-First Mentality – No longer is adjusting content to be responsive to varying screen widths sufficient. Design thinking in a digital world comes down to what and where stakeholders connect and interact with information and each other. Designing for a device is about adapting the experience for the platform, based on what, when, where and how targets engage.

Continuous Learning and Optimization – Design thinking in a digital world takes into account the ability to reassess via behavior how the system is working in real-time. Optimizing the entire customer experience takes on a whole new level of sophistication as data and touch points converge to paint a new picture of brand efficacy and organizational vitality.

Design thinking in a digital age is fundamentally more open and intuitive than previously thought. It can make organizations smarter and establish deeper connections with customers – connections that are more agile, more aggressive and more confident. Design thinking does this through technology and connectivity making sense of disparate actions and integrating them to open up solutions that were not envisioned previously.

As W2O engages with more brands and organizations to implement digital-first models and mindsets, including new interfaces and machine-driven efforts to better serve and retain customers, we are employing design thinking because it is a critical component to validating transformational initiatives.

We are focused on adopting the new digital tools available and incorporating them in a design system that focuses on customer realities and needs. This allows us to discover new things about  clients’  business, and opens up opportunities and ideas to drive forward.

If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About or Digital page.         

Adam Cossman
Adam Cossman

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