Design thinking: The 5 processes.

My secondary school teacher once said something. He said, “ If you want to understand a term, break that into two syllables and get to understand each word; once you get the understanding of both words, put them together, and then you get the meaning of that term.”

So, we will be breaking down the term “design thinking” into two to get a better understanding of what it means.

Let’s take the word ‘design.’ Design, or to design, simply means to create or to make something.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to design means to devise a specific function or to conceive and plan out.

The word ‘ thinking’ in layman’s terms means to reason.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, thinking means the activity of using your mind to consider something.

Putting both definitions together, we have design thinking as using your mind to devise a specific function according to the layman.

Design thinking is defined as the iterative process used for practical and creative problem-solving.

Now that we’ve understood what design thinking is, let’s talk about the processes involved in design thinking. There are five processes of design thinking, which include: empathy, define, ideate, prototype, and test.

The first stage is empathy. Empathy simply means understanding the feelings or needs of someone. In this stage, you need to be in the users’ shoes, and for you to do that, you need to get to know the user and understand his or her wants and needs, as well as his or her objectives. There’s no assumption at this stage; you need to gather real facts about the users.

Let’s take Daavi’s G)b3 as an example. Before she starts with her G)b3 business, she has to engage with the people in her community to know if they like G)b3 and how they would like it to be. She gets the customer’s pain points and begins to work with them.

From the empathy stage, we then start to define In this stage, you begin to define the problem based on the information you’ve acquired in the empathy stage. You begin to analyze the information you have acquired.

Back to Daavi’s G)b3, she will be able to identify her target market based on the information she has. With all this, she may come to a consensus that the other G)b3 joints within the community do not provide the kind of service the people want. Then she leverages that.

The third stage is to Ideate. In this stage, you have information from your users and the problem statement, and now you will need to brainstorm on the information gathered.

In Daavi’s case, after analyzing the information she has acquired, she will know how she will prepare the G)b3 to suit her customers, how the packaging will be done, and how her pricing will be based on the information gathered as well as the time she should prepare the food.

After Ideation, Prototype. The prototype stage is basically an experimentation stage. You create a mockup, give it out to a couple of friends and family to try out, and expect feedback and work on it.

Daavi will prepare a sample of her G)b3 and give it out to family and friends to taste for feedback.

Lastly, the testing stage. The testing stage means taking measures to check the quality, performance, or reliability of something, especially before putting it into widespread use. After prototyping your product, you test for feedback, and then this feedback is taken into consideration and worked on.

In Daavi’s case, she will begin by preparing a small quantity of food and give it out to random people within the community for honest feedback. Some may want the G)b3 in plantain wraps, others in packs, and others in plastic bags. Some may want some pepper in their beans; others may want rice with their beans aside from the riped plantains; and others may also want pepper in their beans. From the information gathered, she can improve her services and then scale up her business.

In conclusion, design thinking is a repetitive process; it’s like a never-ending cycle. And it is argued by many that it is not really a linear process. Others may prefer to test their products before building a prototype.


How to generate new winning business ideas

My mind is regularly busy, moving across various spectrum joggling different images of past happenings, fears, present day realities, forging assumptions of future realities and constantly creating new theories.

I feel like i have burdened myself with so many ideas many of which have gone through various stages of experimentation and implementation, some however could not see the light of day. But i enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes with generating new ideas. Ideas are how we make improvements or solve problems.

How do you generate a winning, thought provoking, disruptive and solution oriented idea?

  1. Come up with questions. What is the product or service going to do?. At this stage you just want to have a bird’s eye view and not necessarily about the nitty-gritty details. Idea generation and collection stage.
  2. Find out what others have done. Explore what your potential competitors are doing, learn about best practices.
  3. Review your idea and come up with a concept
  4. Start sketching on paper. Sketches are quick and cheap way to start implementing/testing the validity of the idea. Draw, write, dream. Boxes, circles, maps, lines. anything really. The goal here is to convert concepts into rough interface designs. This step is all about experimentation. There are no wrong answers.

Some tools to help with out-of-the-box thinking

Opposite Thinking

Opposite/reverse thinking is a technique that can help you question long-held assumptions related to your business. It’s a useful tool to consider if you feel your team is stuck with the conventional mindset and coming up with those “out-of-the-box ideas” seems to be difficult.

Often, finding the best solutions aren’t found through a linear thought process. Although our brains are wired that way, opposite thinking can help us question the norm.

With this type of thinking, you consider the exact opposite of what’s normal. You can even think backwards to find unconventional solutions.

Analogy Thinking

Analogy thinking is a technique for using information from one source to solve a problem in another context. Often one solution to a problem or opportunity can be used to solve another problem.

Analogy thinking can, for example, be used for analyzing a successful business, identifying what makes it great, and then applying those same principles for your business. This is an effortless method for coming up with new ideas that are pre-validated.

You’ve probably heard of the countless start-ups that are the “Uber for [insert industry here]“. This is exactly the method every one of those companies has used. However, although this is such an easy and intuitive tool to use, the obvious combinations are likely to be very competitive.

Originally posted on medium June, 2019


5 Ways to Treat Your Customers Like VIPs and Deliver “Wow” Moments

Learn to deliver more than your customers expect and you’ll win them over and create a loyal fan base.

Customers expect good service, but what if you wow them with exceptional service, going above and beyond what they expect? This white-glove service will keep customers coming back and make them shameless fans for life who’ll recommend you to more clients.

To create “Wow” moments, you need to make customers feel like the most important people in your world. Let them know you’ll bend over backward to make their day better. It’s all about the overall customer experience — and the details in between.

Think about the last time you experienced a “Wow” moment at a business, one where you were really impressed. You probably did a lot more business there and told your friends and business associates about it, too.

The following are five ways you can “Wow” every customer by going beyond expectations and providing the additional value they don’t expect, at no additional cost.

1. Do what you say you’ll do, without exception

Doing what you say you’ll do becomes easy when you’re dedicated enough to build systems around “Wow” moments. When your goal is to impress customers, you look for ways to go the extra mile every time. The key is to get your entire team onboard to ensure that they all follow up and meet their deadlines so details don’t fall between the cracks.

Giving customers more than they expect can also come in the form of a free gift or more help and support. Everyone loves to get exceptional value. Even little things can create special WOW moments. Everyone loves to feel appreciated!

2. Admit mistakes and fix problems when things go wrong

Face it, mistakes and problems happen. However, if you don’t know how to handle them, they’ll hit your customer satisfaction, retention and business success hard.

Nightmare customer service is rampant in the marketplace. We’ve all experienced it. In fact, we’ve encountered so much poor service, we tend to take it for granted at times. That’s crazy! Why give money to a company that doesn’t care?

Some of the biggest customer-service mistakes include over-promising and under-delivering, hiring the wrong people, not empowering and training your team, giving customer policy more importance than customers, and not asking customers for feedback. Don’t make these mistakes at your business!  

3. Gain respect from customers with feedback

To gain respect from your customers, you need to earn it. Everyone within your organization must be on top of their game at all times to improve the customer experience. That includes accepting responsibility for your mistakes. Customers prefer businesses that own up to their mistakes and take the necessary steps to correct them.

In fact, customer relationships often get even stronger when a problem is handled well. To continually improve, look for feedback. Survey your customers on a regular basis, and reward them for taking the survey. After all, the feedback supports you and the decisions you make. Customers want to help you improve if you respect their time and value their opinions.

Getting customer feedback helps you gain a better understanding of your market and the competition. Customers are a great source of information, and they can help you, even more, when you ask the right questions. For example, ask “What can we do to serve you better?” Or ask the same question in more detail: “Tell us about the favorite experience you’ve had with us.” Instead of “How is our team doing?” ask “Who on our team made your customer experience special?” or “How did our team create an exceptional experience for you?”

4. If customers aren’t a good fit, let them go

You can get customers who are a nightmare to deal with because they lack respect for your value. When this happens, you need to know when to let them walk away. You may even have to fire a client, which is a difficult decision since your business depends on the income from that client.

Most business owners find it difficult to let bad customers or clients go. They fear the loss of income or suffer from feelings of failure. A business owner might try to stick it out with a bad client, hoping things will get better. But they rarely do. You need to know when to walk away from these types of people. Don’t let your business be held hostage by bad customers or clients.

Many self-employed people have trouble saying “no” to opportunities that don’t serve them well. But turning down opportunities allows you to walk away from people who don’t treat you and your work with the respect and dignity you deserve. It’s hard to say “no” when you need the money, but it will cost you much more in the long run when you agree to work with a customer who’s the wrong fit or who takes advantage of your goodwill. You don’t have to be everything to everyone. Focus on the top 20 percent of your ideal market to gain the best and most valued customers.

5. Always follow up and follow through

Many businesses spend a lot of time, money and effort chasing down new customers, only to lose them after the first or second transaction because they don’t follow up or follow through after the sale. If customers don’t feel appreciated, they’re likely to go to your competitors instead of making you their choice for repeat business.

Following up with existing customers is where the money is! When customers have had a good experience doing business with you, it’s a heck of a lot easier to get repeat business from them than to chase after new leads.

Always give customers more than they expect, especially after the purchase, to show your appreciation for their business. Following up makes customers feel special and gives them a chance to be heard and engage effectively. Existing customers who receive a follow-up are more likely to purchase more products or services. So make follow-up and follow-through a consistent mission for everyone on your team.



3 Cold Call Tips That Will Help You Book 15 Appointments a Day

The daunting task can actually be fruitful if you follow these rules.

Cold calling can seem daunting. You have a list of numbers to call each day, and you may find that your calls go to voicemail more often than to an actual person. You can’t seem to get someone on a call, much less set up an actual appointment. You try to call more people, but get the same results.

When I first started cold calling, I struggled to get prospects on the phone. I diligently worked through my list of numbers, often with little success. Then I changed my approach, and for six straight months I booked at least 15 appointments each day. After learning these three cold calling rules, you can use them to help you meet your goals:

1. Get a “yes, yes”

This concept originates from the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, which teaches readers how to connect with people by being more likeable.

Getting a “yes, yes” is about attaining agreement. This strategy is not the same as tricking the prospect into saying yes by asking open-ended questions that are not related to what you are calling about. You want to obtain agreement on key principles that are relevant to the topic at hand. Start with small things that are principle-based and then build on those. You want to create a shared viewpoint by agreeing on things you have in common.

Most prospects you call are going to say that they’re happy with the services or products they currently have, so begin with that. If you are selling insurance, for instance, begin by saying, “I’m sure you have an insurance plan that you’re happy with.” The prospect will most likely agree that they do, but because you understand their position, they will instantly feel more comfortable with you.

Then move the conversation along using questions about things you will continue to agree on: Can we agree that time is money and that anything is possible? Is it possible that there is a better insurance offer out there?

Once you have the prospect agreeing with you, you begin to transition to the process of setting up an appointment with them. It’s important that you never disagree with the prospect because this can be seen as arguing. You can acknowledge their objections and agree with their viewpoint, but not their conclusion.

2. Cold calling is not a numbers game.

There is a long-held belief that the more people you call, the more appointments you’ll be able to set up. This method doesn’t account for the reality of the world we live in today.

Think about your own workday. You might be in meetings in the morning, running errands over your lunch break and taking your kids to a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon. It could be that you are only at your desk for a couple hours on a given day. If I only call once before moving to the next number, it’s highly unlikely that I will connect with the prospects on that call. But if I missed you in the morning, I may be able to reach you in the afternoon.

The key is to call fewer prospects each day, and instead call those prospects more often. I recommend calling each lead three to four times a day for up to three to four days. As an example, I was making 40 contacts each day to get 15 scheduled appointments. But don’t leave a voicemail since this will put the ball in the other person’s court. Only leave a voicemail after you’ve exhausted trying to get ahold of them as a last resort.

3. You can sell more to prospects who don’t have a need.

Most people fail at cold calling because of this one mistake. The mantra that we have all heard is that you must first identify a need when prospecting on the phone. This old way of thinking has you only focusing on prospects who have a demonstrated need. By doing this you have limited your potential prospects to a small percentage of any B2B market.

This is because 95% of all prospects will tell you that they are happy with what they have. They don’t have a need. They’re happy with what has worked in the past. If you’re only focusing on those who have a need, it can make your cold calling efforts frustrating and akin to trying to find a needle in a haystack.

The company Febreze was almost pulled from the shelves for this exact reason. According to The Power of Habit, Febreze advertised exclusively to people they felt had a need: people with pets or who smoked. But, these people were desensitized to the smell of their home and didn’t know it smelled bad. The market audience was actually with people who preferred their home to smell fresh and clean. Had Febreze only targeted people they felt had a need, they wouldn’t have survived as a company.

People are used to what they have until they are shown something different, so don’t eliminate this population as potential prospects. They are your best target market.