Entrepreneur by Design

Authored by:
Sarah Cortes

Designing the right product or service is as important as validating the market, during the entrepreneur journey. Human Centered Design or Design Thinking is a methodology that enables the translation of people’s wants and needs into specifications such as features and functions.

Here are three key things to focus on when using this methodology: 

1. Solve the fundamental problem 

Successful product designers advise early stage entrepreneurs to ‘stay in the problem as long as they can’, but why? There are 2 types of problems; fundamental problems and symptoms of a problem. Solving the symptom of a problem means that the problem may re-occur or cause another problem. By understanding the root of the problem or the fundamental problem, you can build a better solution that eliminates the problem wholly. Staying in the problem and understanding it properly will save entrepreneurs key time and money. 

2. Spend more time user testing 

Entrepreneurs tend to ‘fall in love’ with their ideas and assume that because the product or service fulfills their particular needs and wants, that it will also do the same for others. However, it's important to remmber that the designer is not the user! Untested products and services are a collection of assumptions about a users wants and needs. Testing early and frequently validates assumptions, directs improvements and brings the entrepreneur closer to a validated product/market fit. 

3. Don’t stop using the methodology 

‘By zeroing in on the short-term impact and benefits of our designs, we spare ourselves asking the really hard question: Are we designing a world we all want to live in today and tomorrow?’  - Rob Girling

HCD or Design Thinking focuses on designing with the knowledge of current behavior. Behavior is constantly changing just as the world around us does too; people’s wants and needs change and competition is always around the corner, ready to snap up your market. So, be sure to incorporate the design thinking mindset into team culture and ensure it is a part of the teams key activities.

Your service or product will be more likely to thrive as long as you're listening and adapting to the wants and needs of your user base. By keeping these three points in mind and in practice, then you'll be more capable at creating viable and successful solutions for your users. 

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