Keeping Design in Mind: How to Think Like a Designer

Our world is in a constant state of metamorphosis.

Thanks to our ever-changing economic conditions, heightened client expectations, and rapid changes in technology, businesses have undergone more dramatic changes than ever before.

Though this is the new norm in the business cycle, there is constant pressure for businesses to improve performance and redesign products and services.

This is where “design thinking” comes into play.

Design thinking focuses on understanding your target market and provides a solution-based approach to solving problems in a unique way that might not be instantly apparent. If you can understand the user, you can challenge assumptions, and redefine issues and solutions.

Developed by the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, the five phases of design thinking include, but are not limited to:

NewGround’s Studio One25, Ideation Lab in Chicago, IL

  • Empathize with your users
  • Define your users’ needs, their problems, and your insights
  • Ideate by challenging assumptions and creating ideas for innovative solutions
  • Prototype to start creating solutions
  • Test solutions

Unlike a linear process, design thinking is special because we can think creatively and innovatively—outside of the box.

Design thinking digs deeper to uncover ways to improve—for your clients, for your brand, for your business, for yourselves.

Using the design thinking approach, companies like Apple, Coca-Cola, and Nike have had outstanding success and outperformed other companies by 211%.

But you want the “wow” factor, no matter what area of business you’re in.

In the financial services arena, if you’re not growing—you’re dying. Clients can switch from bank to bank without any hesitation. They will “ghost” you, so to speak. So, what can YOU do to keep that from happening?

Repeat after me: Grow, Align, and Transform.

Field & Main Bank in Cynthiana, KY

Everyone wants to improve and expand their business. There are three ways to grow:

  • Products and services
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Branching

If you can zero in on at least one of these areas to improve, you’re off to the right start. But that’s only the first step toward success.

Your team also needs to see eye-to-eye on your Brand, Place, and Culture. If your visions and goals aren’t in sync, you put the company at risk and forfeit potential growth and success.

It is crucial to determine the overall alignment of your leadership team to see what you are doing right—and what needs to change.

You can transform your business in many ways—but it really comes down to interactions. More importantly, it is about how those interactions are uniquely different. What do you need to change about your business, brand, and space, and how can you stand out from the crowd?

If you are willing to tackle the steps to Grow, Align, and Transform, you can survive and thrive in the next evolution in banking.

City & County Credit Union in Shoreview, MN Transformational Prototype Experience


In our next series of blogs, we will take a closer look and dive deep into what each individual step entails to Grow, Align, and Transform, and how to successfully think like a designer. Stay tuned for our second installment, Grow!

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