It’s all about the user
Design Thinking is emphatically focused on the end user of the product or service. Sometimes when I present on the subject of Design Thinking someone will point out that products can fail for lots of reasons, not just a failure to appeal to the end user. It can fail because it isn’t feasible to make or it doesn’t have a viable path to profitability.
So why the slavish devotion to the user?
Often the response will be that Design Thinking is human centred – it focuses on the user. This is a bit elliptical and overlooks the fact that viability and feasibility are determined by people too!
When children go to the dentist, there’s a good chance they’ll be asked if they floss. They won’t be asked if they brush. Why? Because let’s face it, the compliance rate for brushing (94.4%) is way higher than for flossing (5.6%).
It’s not that brushing is less important than flossing. It’s just that the most likely problems stem from not flossing.
The focus is on the most likely problem
The same applies to Design Thinking and its obsession with the user. The three essential ingredients of product success are desirability, feasibility and viability. Feasibility and viability are largely assessed internally to a company. Desirability requires contact with the end user – yuck! Who has time for that? I’d rather floss!