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The TMA aims to assess your understanding of the core concepts of innovation and entrepreneurship. You are advised to use the AOU e-library to locate additional relevant resources, which can support your analysis and argument.

Answer all the following questions

Thinking like a designer can transform the way you develop products, services, processes, and even strategy (Brown, 2008). After reading, the article published by HBR for Tim Brown titled “Design Thinking”.

  1. Discuss the concept of design thinking and it’s phases
  2. How does the personality profile of a design thinker can be compared with the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur
  3. Discuss at least three of the most important challenges entrepreneurs face in their journey to grow new ventures.
What is Design Thinking?

Answer- As per Brown (2008), design thinking is the methodology, which imbues full spectrum of innovative activities along with a human-centred design ethos. It is a non-linear and iterative process that helps in understanding the users while challenging the assumptions and redefining the problems while creating innovative solutions for prototyping and testing. In other words, it can be said that design thinking is all about creative problem solving. (Kimbell 2011)  It is to note that there are five stages of design thinking and they are- 1) empathize, 2) define, 3) ideate, 4) prototype and 5) test.

Empathize- It is the first phase of design thinking and it is meant for getting a better understanding of the issue that one wish to conquer. It is to mention that any social endeavour starts with human element (Henriksen, Richardon and Mehta 2017). It includes the identification of the molecules, which make up the target audience and finding out their requirements, what they value and the way they look at the world. It is a challenge for the designers to synthesize this within the context of their design.

Define- During this phase, the process of design thinking that an individual is putting together all the information that he or she gained during the first stage. Every work of design needs a mission statement in order to bring in clarity and to focus on the work. A mission demonstrates what exactly one wants to convey, who and what is he or she is addressing and what he or she is bringing to the table. Often, a problem statement could be condensed to words or mantras that act as guiding principles.

Ideate- It is the third stage of design thinking where the thinkers start using the data and information that he or she have gathered from the previous stages for generating logical ideas. From this phase, the team start making ideas that might be “out of the box” (Young 2010). The phase also allows for alternatives ways for solving the problems.

Prototype- Prototype is the fourth stage of design thinking and during this stage, the team of thinkers work on creating different range of inexpensive products and services with some specific features. This further allows the design thinkers investigate the possible solutions for the problems, which were identified in the earlier stages. Along with every new prototype, the team investigates about different aspects of the problem and at the same time explores how each and every prototype would fix the problem.

Stages of Design Thinking

Test- It is the fifth and final phase of design thinking. At this stage, the design thinkers test their prototypes that they made in the fourth stage. They test this in order to see how well they handle or solve a particular problem, which they initially analysed in the first and second stage. However, it is to note that reaching the fifth stage does not mean that the design thinkers do not make any changes or alternations in the product. They can still refine and alter the product to make them more polished for meeting the needs and requirements. In this process, design thinkers also review the earlier stages and revise the data and information for getting the best outcomes for the end product. They continuously do so until and unless the problem is solved effectively or until and unless they are satisfied with the end product.

Answer- There are certain characteristics common in every design thinkers and they include that of empathy, integrative thinking, optimism, experimentalism and collaboration (Brown 2008). It is not necessary that a design thinker is created only by the design schools. Although there are many design thinkers who have had some or the other kind of design training, there are also many people outside of the professional design thinking who have a natural aptitude for design thinking and they are entrepreneurs. The personality profile of entrepreneurs also comprise of the above mentioned personal attributes that are similar to that of professional design thinkers.  

  1. Empathy- Entrepreneurs have the skill of imagining the world from different perspectives. They are often surrounded by many people who they need to understand right from investors, employees, customers to shareholders. They observe the world around them with minute detail. This is why, they always stay in tune with the needs and perspectives of these parties in order to make the business strong (Irengun and Arikboga 2015). Similarly, the design thinkers also have the ability of thinking from different perspectives, right from that of their colleagues, clients, end users and customers. By means of taking the approach of “people first”, they can imagine potential solutions, which are desirable for meeting the latent and explicit needs.
  2. Integrative thinking- Entrepreneurs have the ability of facing the tension of opposing ideas constructively and rather than selecting one at the expense of other, they generate a creative solution for the tension in the form of new ideas that comprises of the elements of opposing ideas, but are superior to each one of them (Dai, Ivanov and Cole 2017). On the other hand, design thinkers depend on the analytical processes but at the same time, also exhibit the potential of seeing all of the important and contrary aspects of the problem and thereby, creating novel solutions to improve on the available alternatives.
  3. Optimism- Entrepreneurs always see the glass half full. They always look towards the bright side of everything and are always a constant dreamers. They always think of doing things in better way and making the world a better place to live in. They never dwell up on the past and always focus on moving up and forward. Furthermore, when they face challenges, entrepreneurs do not consider them as problems, instead, they see them as opportunities. Similarly, designer thinkers too assume that no matter how challenging is a problem is, at least one solution is better than the other existing alternatives.
  4. Experimentalism- Entrepreneurs think of several questions before taking decisions. They explore and find out the list of barriers that they could face before doing a specific task and thereafter, they find out solution to overcome them to reach the success. Similarly, the design thinkers pose several questions and thereby, explore the various constraints in creative manner, which proceed in new directions.
  5. Collaboration- Entrepreneurs are all-rounder and they always seek to collaborate and this is a significant component for the winning teams of all sizes (Schoss, Mauer and Brettel 2017). Entrepreneurs always maintain the open lines of communication while avoiding the competition in between the team members.  Similarly, design thinkers too have experience in more than one disciple and they do not stick to anyone. They make decisions on the basis of collective knowledge instead of depending on the opinions or ideas of a single person.
  6. Discuss at least three of the most important challenges entrepreneurs face in their journey to grow new ventures.
  1. Developing the vision and the business idea- It is the very first challenge that entrepreneurs face while starting a new venture. Finding out the right business opportunity and creatively developing ideas is not an easy task. Entrepreneurs need to possess the potential of seeing what other cannot see. When other see problems, entrepreneurs see the opportunities that is prevailing within (Venkataraman 2019). However, seeing the opportunity is just a starting. The major business challenge is the ability of forging the very opportunity into the business idea. It is a significant challenge as the process of transformation of problems into business opportunities is like trying to transform lead into gold.
  2. Assembling a good business team- Assembling right team of business management is a significant business challenge that many entrepreneurs face in the course of starting small business from scratch. The process of building a business team begins before the problem of raising the initial start-up capital takes place (Jennings, Jennings and Sharifian 2015). Majority of the brilliant business ideas never get funded due to the fact that entrepreneur tries to raise the capital as an individual.
  3. Unforeseen business challenges and expenses- Entrepreneurs are always required to be prepared for whatever comes their way of making their new ventures successful. Many unexpected challenged could come in the form of loss of market share, unpaid taxes and bills, unexpected resignation of the staffs, unexpected law suits, lack of inventory or stock etc. These are business challenges that they can face in their journey to grow new ventures. Also, in terms of these business challenges, another challenge is that of unexpected increase in the business expenses. If entrepreneurs fail to handle them properly, it can result in a continuous negative cash flow and gradually, the business would fail.

References:

Brown, T., 2008. Design thinking. Harvard business review, 86(6), p.84.

Dai, N., Ivanov, V. and Cole, R.A., 2017. Entrepreneurial optimism, credit availability, and cost of financing: Evidence from US small businesses. Journal of Corporate Finance, 44, pp.289-307.

Henriksen, D., Richardson, C. and Mehta, R., 2017. Design thinking: A creative approach to educational problems of practice. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 26, pp.140-153.

?rengün, O. and Ar?kbo?a, ?., 2015. The effect of personality traits on social entrepreneurship intentions: A field research. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 195, pp.1186-1195.

Jennings, J.E., Jennings, P.D. and Sharifian, M., 2016. Living the dream? Assessing the “entrepreneurship as emancipation” perspective in a developed region. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 40(1), pp.81-110.

Kimbell, L., 2011. Rethinking design thinking: Part I. Design and Culture, 3(3), pp.285-306.

Schoss, S., Mauer, R. and Brettel, M., 2017. Which deep-level diversity compositions of new venture teams lead to success or failure. Research handbook on entrepreneurial teams: Theory and practice, pp.121-143.

Venkataraman, S., 2019. The distinctive domain of entrepreneurship research. In Seminal Ideas for the Next Twenty-Five Years of Advances (pp. 5-20). Emerald Publishing Limited.

Young, G., 2010. Design thinking and sustainability. Zumio Meaningful Innovation, 61(0), pp.1-27.

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