Published 27 April 2018

by Ann Gyllingmark
Expert in driving value innovation for corporations and business travel agencies

Thinking about design or designing your thinking?

Design thinking. It’s a huge buzzword right now but what exactly is it? As a former technophobe that has turned techno-fan, I would like to explain the benefits of design thinking and how it has helped me to think outside the box when it comes to technology.

I entered the intriguing world of design thinking last year when I started my master’s in digital management at Hyper Island. Back then, I had absolutely no clue what it was all about.

Design thinking: it's all about getting the user perspective

In a nutshell, design thinking is the concept used in almost everything that drives innovation and the development of new technologies today. It covers well known methodologies like Lean and Agile but adds in a high degree of empathy and human interaction. It is all about how you engage with your users – not just the people who use your technology or innovation, but everyone who is affected by it. Companies like Amadeus and HP have used design thinking for many years to drive innovation and technology advancement from a user perspective.

Recently, consultancy firms like Accenture and McKinsey, have acquired design studios to incorporate design into core business, helping their clients to innovate and build develop business using design thinking.

The five steps of design thinking

Design thinking starts with empathy and it is all about first understanding the problem and only then, finding the solution. It can be described in five steps:

  • Empathize – it’s a user centered process where understanding your users is crucial
  • Define – your users’ needs, their problem, and your insights
  • Ideate – only after really understanding what the problem is, is it time to brainstorm ideas
  • Prototype – create a cheap and easy to build solution in order to find out if you are on the right track
  • Test – get feedback on the prototype and adjust where needed

These steps are repeated as needed and prototype adjusted based on feedback received when empathizing with your users.

Personally, design thinking has helped me on so many levels with my daily work and given me new tools to work with.

See beyond the software

I meet many people in our industry who are afraid of technology, believing it takes away the human elements of our work. I was one of those people a year ago, a true technophobe. Who would have thought that 12 months later I would have written an academic paper on artificial intelligence? But, the beauty of design thinking is that it takes you beyond the software and interface of technological solutions by diving into the human aspects of digitalization like user behaviour.

Design thinking has opened up a new world for me in my daily work. If you would like to learn more about what it can do for you and your organization, I’d love to hear from you. And, if you have any experiences to share, please feel free to reach out to me via email or on Linkedin.


About the author

Ann Gyllingmark

Ann Gyllingmark joined Amadeus 8 years ago and works with corporates and travel managers across Scandinavia. A big fan of contrasts, Ann is currently enjoying the combination of renovating an old 19th-century farmhouse in Dalarna while also taking a master’s in digital management at Hyper Island about how to drive change in a digital world.  

Connect with Ann on LinkedIn!