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Innovation

Design Thinking

Creating a product – be it an application, a website, a physical device – means making a connection between the aims of the organisation creating the product and the eventual end-users of that product. Get it right, and you can have a best-seller on your hands – but if you get it wrong, you are facing the loss of significant resources, as well as the opportunity cost of releasing a sub-standard product.

Design Thinking is a methodology specifically aimed at bridging the gap between creators and users, and so improving the chances of creating a successful product. 

Design Thinking is an iterative approach to creating effective solutions to complex or undefined problems. It seeks to reframe the problem in human terms, and to think about the most optimal solution  – the one that best fits the user’s needs – rather than the easiest way to solve the problem – the one that best fits the designer’s needs. 

This approach aims to be flexible and inclusive, by creating and considering many different ideas during an initial brainstorming phase, which helps to eliminate any ambiguities in the initial brief. As ideas become refined, they are subjected to more practical analysis for prototyping and testing. 

Design Thinking is a collaboration between designers and users: designers explore the wants and needs of their users, and aim to get inside their heads, to consider how they think, feel and behave – thus enabling them to create products that users will be satisfied with. 

Injazat can help its clients embrace Design Thinking, and reap the benefits of this rich approach to product design. 

There are five main stages to Design Thinking: 

  1. Empathizing: Understanding the human needs involved. Designers put themselves in the end-user’s position, and consider what they want from a product or service. This can involve both simply considering what a user may want, and speaking to actual users to learn how they think and feel.
  2. Defining: Re-framing and defining the problem in human-centric ways. This brainstorming phase aims to eliminate any ambiguous elements to the project’s goals and objectives, and sees the designer thinking about the specific needs of the user, rather than the problems the project is trying to solve.
  3. Ideating: Creating many ideas in ideation sessions. This process emphasizes “out of the box” thinking – under the principles of Design Thinking, there are no wrong answers. This can encourage participants in the process to put forward alternative or unusual thoughts or ideas that go counter to accepted concepts. Even if these are not practical themselves, they can often help show the way to ideas that are practical.
  4. Prototyping: Adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping. The most promising ideas – those that designers think will best solve the problem for users – are prototyped for user testing, and for validation of the design approach taken. At this stage, practical considerations may eliminate some proposed solutions – the aim of this stage is to fail fast, and iterate with new designs.
  5. Testing: Validation and gaining user and stakeholder feedback. Once the design team believes it has a good solution, it is further developed. At this point, the team undertakes more extensive user feedback, and also seeks validation from other business areas. If users and stakeholders all approve of the product, then it is ready to be launched.

Because Design Thinking is an iterative process, the creation of a product may go through several cycles of these five stages – the final testing phase may initially result in a solution that is more focused on redefining the problem than being a final product.

But unlike more traditional linear design processes, the tightly focused nature of Design Thinking on user experience, and limited time spent on building impractical products, means this process can ultimately save time, money and resources, even if repeated a number of times.

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