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Most companies are optimised to execute and solve a stated problem. Creativity is about finding the problem worth solving. An absence of a scalable creative framework encourages incremental innovation in lieu of disruptive innovation. As companies strive for disruptive innovation, they must find ways to inject and scale creativity across their organisations.

Digital transformation is about the accelerated disruption of business models and requires a mind-set shift from problem solving to problem finding. CEOs need to be visionary leaders: from establishing an internal culture that encourages ideation, creation, and iteration, to building strategic partnerships to create new value propositions. Design thinking is our best tool for sense-making, meaning making, simplifying processes, and improving customer experiences. Additionally, design thinking minimises risk, reduces costs, improves speed, and energises employees.

Design thinking provides leaders with a framework for addressing complex human-centred challenges and making the best possible decisions concerning:.

Design thinking succeeds when it finds ideal solutions based on the real needs of real people. People need their interactions with technologies and other complex systems to be simple, intuitive, and pleasurable. When done well, human-centred design enhances the user experience at every touch point and fuels the creation of products and services that deeply resonate with customers. Design is empathic, and thus implicitly drives a more thoughtful, human approach to business. Design thinking informs human-centred innovation.

Design thinking minimises the uncertainty and risk of innovation by engaging customers or users through a series of prototypes to learn, test, and refine concepts. Design thinkers rely on customer insights gained from real-world experiments, not just historical data or market research. McKinsey reports the best results come from constantly blending user research —quantitative such as conjoint analysis and qualitative such as ethnographic interviews with market-analytics.

Design thinking offers a structured framework for understanding complexity and pursuing innovation, which I see as being part scientific inquiry and part art. Jeanne Liedtka notes that a new business concept derived from observing customers is actually a hypothesis — a well-informed guess about what customers desire and what they will value.

Rapid prototyping provides the means to place small bets on a hypothesis and test it out before investing in expensive resources. Design thinking is also like jazz. The structure offers a basic melody from which you can improvise, but like any art-form, you need to master the basics first. So, by having very clear guard rails, we help people to change their habits. The framework I designed for Creativity at Work see the diagram above integrates design thinking principles with classic creative problem-solving Osborne-Parnes, Design Thinking is a journey of learning and discovery.

Design Thinking as a Strategy for Innovation

If you are strategising, you are designing. The five practices that enable innovation include: 1 the development of a deep empathic understanding of user needs and context; 2 the formation of heterogeneous teams; 3 dialogue-based conversations; 4 the generation of multiple solutions winnowed through experimentation; and 5 the use of a structured and facilitated process. Cisco was the first company to launch non-tech HR hackathon in When Indra Nooyi was the Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo — , she decided the company needed to rethink its innovation process and design experience.

During his tenure as CEO of Steelcase, Jim Haskett pioneered the team-oriented, open workspaces with the help of anthropologists, sociologists and tech and transformed the furniture company into a leader of the revolution in the way we work. SAP describes its design thinking journey as one that develops from a set of tools, to a methodology, to a mind-set, and until finally becomes a culture.

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Leadership : Link design thinking initiatives to your strategic goals. Provide direction, resources, and commitment. People : Enable champions to lead the change through successful lighthouse projects. Build up an internal design thinking community where best practices are shared.


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Environment : Develop and create collaborative workspaces for your workforce. Use to co-innovate with your customers and partners. Design thinking works because it is a collaborative co-creative process grounded in engagement, dialogue, and learning. Discover how the interplay of art, design, and technology can help you solve problems and inspire creative solutions desired by your customers. Martin, R. Quayle, M. Columbia University Press 4. Liedtka, J. Walker, R. Kolko, J. Harvard Business Review 9.

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In reality, many startups have to deviate from their plan as the business develops. Depending on the nature of the business, you may need the following permits, licenses, or regulations:. If you are going to go through the time and effort to start a business, you need to protect it by purchasing appropriate insurance coverage. Your first order of business should be to determine your specific insurance needs based on the nature of your business.

Ask yourself what risks must be covered and how much coverage will be sufficient. Then find and evaluate insurance providers or insurance brokers to determine which companies handle the types of coverage that suits your needs. But everyone involved should discuss this issue and come to an agreement up front to avoid misunderstandings later on. The split should take into account the following:.

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Startups seeking financing often turn to venture capital VC firms, which can provide capital; strategic assistance; introductions to potential customers, partners, and employees; and much more. Venture capital financings are not easy to obtain or close. Entrepreneurs will be better prepared to obtain VC financing if they understand the process, the anticipated deal terms, and the potential issues that will arise. To understand the process of obtaining VC financing, it is important to know that venture capitalists typically focus their investment efforts using one or more of the following criteria:.

Before approaching a venture capitalist, try to learn whether his or her focus aligns with your company and its stage of development. The second key point to understand is that VCs get inundated with investment opportunities, many through unsolicited emails—almost all of those unsolicited emails are ignored.

The best way to get the attention of a VC is to have a warm introduction through a trusted colleague, entrepreneur, or lawyer friendly to the VC. Startups should also understand that the venture process can be very time consuming—just getting a meeting with a principal of a VC firm can take weeks; followed up with more meetings and conversations; followed by a presentation to all of the partners of the venture capital fund; followed by the issuance and negotiation of a term sheet, with continued due diligence; and finally the drafting and negotiation by lawyers on both sides of numerous legal documents to evidence the investment.

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VCs usually want to see that your business has made some progress and gotten some traction in the market; they will typically not fund a very early stage company or just an idea. For that, you are better off seeking angel investors.

For a comprehensive article on the venture capital financing process, see A Guide to Venture Capital Financings for Startups. Business contracts are legally binding written agreements between two or more parties. While smaller businesses will often conduct business based on informal handshake agreements or unspoken understandings, the more that is at stake, the more essential it is to have a signed contract. A contract serves as the rules that must be followed by both parties. It presents each party with the opportunity to:. A contract is, in essence, a written meeting of the minds.

While it is typically drawn up by one party and favors the needs and requirements of that party, protecting them from most if not all liabilities, it should initially be thought of as a work in progress that changes and grows as each party contributes prior to signing, after which it becomes an official document.

A startup has to make sure it is comfortable with all of the terms of the contract, and depending on the deal dynamics, almost any term is negotiable. Consideration, compensation, ownership rights, liability, and risk are all areas that need to be worded carefully. You should seek out help from a qualified attorney who is experienced in contracts to make sure you have covered each of these areas in a clear manner.