Design Thinking
By David Shoaf

I recently had a chance to participate in a class on Design Thinking. Design Thinking, you ask? This course, sourced from the Stanford School of Design, presents some interesting concepts they clearly are quite excited about.  The term, I’ve noticed, has also started enter the lexicon of product management. Why would this happen?

Inbound product management functions have traditionally focused on market and product definition, the quantification of priorities to address problems found in those markets. It also provides guidance in the form of product requirements, value propositions and the related pricing, margins and forecasts necessary to justify investments in products that satisfy unmet needs in those markets.

Design thinking proposes that these elements are not really needed. Rather, the concept suggests that the only requirement is that the maker/developer merely collaborates with the user using structured methods of development. The resulting products are then clearly aligned to solve the user’s problem.