1 Politecnico di Milano (ITALY) / MIT Morningside Academy for Design, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (UNITED STATES)
2 Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2024 Proceedings
Publication year: 2024
Pages: 3025-3033
ISBN: 978-84-09-59215-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2024.0817
Conference name: 18th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-6 March, 2024
Location: Valencia, Spain
Design Thinking is among the most debated topics of the last 20 years. Although in the early years, its importance was relegated to the boundaries of the Design discipline, it has subsequently become an integral part of the management world debate as well.

In the various definitions given over time, it has become apparent that it is no longer associated with 'the way designers think and work' but its boundaries have expanded, as have the contributions it can make.

This is because there have been considerable findings on how using Design Thinking in companies can generate a competitive advantage, produce customer orientation, support better decision-making, and thus contribute to innovation in organisations and to their transformation. Several scholars have also discussed how adopting Design Thinking in a company can facilitate the achievement of radical business innovations.

This study shows a practical case of a leading international electrotechnical company that decided to approach Design Thinking to differentiate itself. Although they were leaders in their field, in recent years they had found themselves at a standstill in terms of innovation and development of new products.

In addition, they had realised that their technological innovations were taking a long time to find their place in the market. This is a problem that has always been seen in relation to technological innovations, which are often radical, but which do not consider the market space they will have to attack upstream. Design Thinking, on the other hand, allowed them to understand the user perspective, grasping the market's needs and accelerating the time to market of some of their proposals. To better implement and understand the Design Thinking approach, the company decided to have its key figures undertake a Design Thinking course consisting of both theoretical and practical parts. As a result, the company not only learned how to understand the most appropriate destination market for its proposals, but also realised that its offer was not enough. Consequently, one of the results of the path was the generation of new service streams related to their product offering. The company had always offered only product-level solutions and had never considered the service perspective, which is crucial today for customers when choosing a provider.

The article will show and discuss the different steps of the intensive (theoretical and practical) Design Thinking course and the results achieved (and declared) by the company thanks to the change of mindset undertaken to update and differentiate its offer.

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Design Thinking, Design Education, Divergent Thinking, Convergent Thinking, Case Study Research.