The 5 principles of Design Thinking for better product / service strategy

A survey of CEOs revealed that 80% of them thought they were delivering excellent service to their customers but only 8% of the customers agreed with them!

This is likely because business people often define customer service as problem solving, and despite the importance of that aspect, it is definitely not the whole story.

Current research shows that better service design can help businesses attract new customers, keep them for longer and create more value for them. The principles of Design Thinking demonstrate how putting the customer first can push a business forward.

  1. User Centered

    user_centered_triodeAnalyze who your customers are and what they want. This goes beyond simple statistical data, which doesn't actually tell you much about the people behind the dry facts. Instead, focus on what your customers need and want. For instance, Nike understands that its customers are not just buying shoes; they are buying into a healthy lifestyle. The company created a product called Fuel Band which connects the shoe to GPS and social sharing so that users can measure their training and compare it with how their friends are doing.

  1. Co-Creative

    co_creative_triodeWork with all the stakeholders to create the best possible product. Stakeholders are executives, employees and customers. The customers must be involved in the process in order to produce the best possible solution to their problems. Don't forget to ask the customers what they are searching for and what features would convince them that they have found it.


  1. Sequencing

    sequencing_triode How is the mood of the customer affected by the product or service? Is the service too slow, causing the customer to lose patience? Or, is it perhaps too fast, overwhelming the customer and leading him to give up on the service? For example, Hailo is a taxi firm app which allows customers to easily find a trusted cab service and eliminates the need to pay in cash. The developers have clearly thought about how to create a service which makes the customer feel calm and happy so that he is more likely to write a positive review of the cab ride and to use the service in the future.

  1. Evidencing

    evidencing_triode Some services are invisible and you don't notice you are enjoying them unless someone points it out. Customers don't want to be reminded they are getting something from you only when the bill arrives. It's like mints on the pillow at a hotel room. You take for granted that the beds are made and don't even think of it until you are reminded by the chocolates placed on top of them. Storytelling can be used to prolong the experience and help consumers visualize intangible services.

  1. Holistic

    holistic_triode Keep the feelings of the customer in mind at every point in the service process. The customer's final experience is based on a series of small experiences throughout the process and is not limited to purchase. Look at pre- and post-purchase experiences to get it right. Consider offering a free gift AFTER purchase when the customer no longer expects it.


Incorporating Design Thinking into your development process is a fantastic way to create better products and services that will make your business profitable. The most effective way to do this is to hire Design Thinking experts who will train all employees in the basics and give more advanced training to a more select group who will lead the others in the application of the principles of Design Thinking.


Patrick Sirois


Note: This article is part of a series of articles about Design Thinking and its benefits for medical device companies and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM).


Triode helps you reduce the risks you face with new product development in complex, regulated industries such as medical devices and transportation equipment. We identify potentieal problems early on, help you mitigate them, and work with you side-by-side to define, execute and deliver successful projects on-time and on-budget.