oday, businesses of all types are looking for ways to pull ahead and secure a creative advantage over their competitors.

While there are dozens of ways to accomplish this goal, applying design principles to strategy is one of the best. When companies do this successfully, their innovation rates improve, and their R&D takes on a distinctly more creative tone.

Need an example?

Consider companies like Apple, IBM, Coca-Cola, and others. By implementing a design-led approach, companies can develop the tactics that are necessary to create a "wow" factor that helps them pull ahead.

Here's what you need to know about design-led thinking and how it can benefit your company.

What Is Design-Led Thinking?

Design-led thinking is an innovation methodology that companies use to solve problems, find solutions, and promote creativity.

While other mindsets are problem-focused, design-led thinking is solution-focused, action-oriented, and dedicated to creating a positive future and outcome.

Design-led thinking is used to design the modern workplace today. It is practical because it uses a mixture of intuition, imagination, logic, and systemic reasoning to explore various possibilities and create desired outcomes. Design-led thinking is also different than design alone.

While design is, in the words of Steve Jobs, "how it works," design-led thinking is a process of bringing something new into the world and finding creative solutions to long-standing problems.

According to Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO:

"Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer's sensibility and methods to match people's needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity."

4 Core Elements of CloudScale's Design-Led Approach to Application Development

Today, companies cannot survive if they're only selling a product, good, or service. Instead, they have to find unique ways to engage with their customers on a highly individualized and personalized level.

Here are a few ways CloudScale does this with a design-led approach:

1. Understanding Consumers

Companies insist they focus on their customers first, but reality would indicate this focus isn't the case.

All you have to do is look at a company's budgets or KPI to see evidence of this disparity. Step into a design-led organization, though, and everything shifts.

Design-led companies keep a customer-centric approach at the heart of their culture. By seeking to understand who customers are and what they want, companies like CloudScale can develop more accurate and efficient solutions.

In addition to making for more efficient solutions, adopting a customer-centric approach also helps streamline marketing budgets and prevent misuse of resources.

2. Infusing Empathy in the Organization

Having empathy is essential in a design-led thinking.

Here's why: empathy enables a company to make smart business decisions that take customer needs, pain points, and desires into account.

However, empathy and customer-centric approaches are not always one in the same.

While it's one thing to focus on customers, it's entirely another to see the product, good, and service from the customer's point of view.

When a company achieves this goal, design suddenly starts to take an active role in development, marketing, finance, and operations. By insisting on empathy, CloudScale ensures customer retention, satisfaction, and lifetime value.

3. Using Real-Time Design

Design is a bit like a river: it gains momentum with the help of small streams, riffles, and input channels that come together to form something much more significant.

By utilizing real-time decision making, CloudScale achieves some objectives in the app development process.

In addition to keeping their business journey in line with overall business strategy, they avoid common roadblocks and present an approach that is fluid, efficient, and easy to pivot.

4. Incorporating Rapid Movement

Design-led thinking has to move fast, and CloudScale knows that.

In addition to moving products to market quickly, the company is good at understanding when it's time to release a product - even if it is not 100 percent perfect.

After all, ready is always better than perfect.

Once CloudScale releases the products, the team pays close attention to customer feedback and works to incorporate it as rapidly as possible, so every iteration of the product is better than the last.

The Importance of Asking Questions:

The process of asking questions dovetails nicely with virtually every other approach on this list. Like any good innovator, CloudScale knows it is impossible to pursue good design without asking honest questions.

As such, inquiries like "Do we have a senior design leader?" and "Are we reviewing our metrics often enough?" are essential to the company's transformation services.

The Case for Design-Led Thinking

As you can see in the examples of CloudScale's approach, design-led thinking has a vast potential to overhaul organizations and create a more innovative and creative approach.

By being relentless about asking questions, moving quickly, designing in real-time, understanding customers and their pain points, and focusing on empathy, companies can create a design-led organization that sets the pace for innovation, creativity, and development.

If you're looking for a partner in app development, digital transformation, or business acceleration services, CloudScale is here to help you through the process. Contact us today to learn more.

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