The benefits of teaching teams design thinking skills and human-centered design

Design thinking is a way of working that companies are adopting as a way to drive thoughtful decisions, greater collaboration, and better results. But what exactly is design thinking and why is it important to train your team in these methods?

Design thinking training can be transformative for teams.
Design thinking training can be transformative for teams.

What is design thinking?

To put it simply, design thinking is a way of approaching problems and tackling complex business challenges that places the end user at the center of all decision making.

Organizations of all kinds — from Google to Procter & Gamble — work with the tenants of design thinking. The power of design thinking and its ability to drive real impact has led to companies of all kinds to seek out design thinking training for their teams. Knowing the essentials of design thinking is more important than ever in many fields, even if you aren’t a designer.

According to IDEO U (one of the experts in the field), the three essential aspects of Design Thinking are: empathy, ideation, and experimentation.

Design thinking methods and human-centered design prioritize the end user.
Design thinking methods and human-centered design prioritize the end user.

What does it mean to be human-centered?

When you read the phrase design thinking, another one—human-centered design — will likely follow closely. Human-centeredness and design thinking go hand-in-hand.

User needs should be the “north star” or driving force behind your solution.

Being human-centered means that when you design your experience, product, or service, you create it from the perspective of your end user. (The term user-centered is another one you’ll hear a lot. It is basically interchangeable with human-centered.) In other words, with design thinking you don’t design things based on hunches, gut reactions, or rigid business needs. You start by finding out what your users, customers, or “humans” want and need. These user needs should be the “north star” or driving force behind your solution.

You definitely don’t have to be a designer to benefit from design thinking.
You definitely don’t have to be a designer to benefit from design thinking.

As mentioned above, many organizations today are engaging experts to train their teams in the methods of design thinking to help evolve and transform their work. Read on to find out why the human-centered approach works.

Why companies are engaging with design thinking training:

1. Design thinking training unleashes creativity

Through design thinking training, employees are encouraged to think differently and reject “business as usual” attitudes. Design thinking teaches people how to come up with new solutions based on user insights. This process is called ideation (think: lots of sticky notes and whiteboards).

In our day-to-day work, we can get caught up with the way things have been rather than how they could be. When we teach team members new ways of working and solving problems, we unleash the creativity and fresh thinking that may have been lying dormant.

2. The best innovation comes from inside

Companies can hire outside consultants to come in and tell them how to innovate or change their business. “Outsiders” can definitely bring a new perspective. At the same time, there is also tons (maybe more) of potential for innovation within your existing team.

Your employees know your business and politics better than anyone. They know how to make things happen and who to partner with. When you train your internal team in design thinking, you give your people the power to innovate around the things they better than anyone.

3. It encourages more collaboration

One of the fundamental aspects of a human-centered or design thinking approach is empathy and collaboration. People rarely innovate or have breakthroughs in a vacuum or completely by themselves.

A design thinking approach priorities cross-disciplinary teams coming together and bringing their skills together to create something better than they could have done by themselves.

Participant at work

4. Design thinking methods will change the way you think about anything

It’s tempting to think that design thinking training is only applicable to designers, design problems, or those who want to be designers. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Design thinking methods can be applied in almost many settings and companies and to any issue, both large and small.

When your team has design thinking skills, it impacts how they tackle key projects, but also how they do just about anything. You’ll find that the design thinking mindset encourages teams to think differently about big challenges, but even how you run meetings or design your workspace.

5. Design thinking is an essential 21st-century skill

The skills that are important for working in today’s workplaces are changing. Now, it’s not just about having “hard skills” — knowing certain computer programs or having a specific degree. 21st-century skills are softer.

As Forbes points out, it’s things like problem-solving, communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation that are important right now. And these skills are baked into design thinking. When you teach design thinking to your team, you’ll give them these tools that they’ll need to thrive in any job right now.

Voltage Control can design custom design thinking training sessions.
Voltage Control can design custom design thinking training sessions.

How do I get Design Thinking Training?

Thinking you want to give your team the gift of design thinking training? Voltage Control has a set of services to engage teams and teach them about innovation, facilitation, and design thinking methods. Get in touch with Douglas at if you want to talk.