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Author's profile photo Blair Wheadon

Getting Started With Design Thinking

One of the key messages from our internal SAP Field Kick Off Meetings (FKOM) that are happening worldwide this month, is that the use of “Design Thinking” can help create solutions that solve problems better – for both our customer, and our customer’s customer.

How does it do that? Here are a few key elements:

  • Create empathy with your customer.
  • Open-ended brainstorming resulting in multiple alternative solutions
  • Prototyping and testing to evaluate potential solutions

I am by no means an expert in Design Thinking, however I believe I did experience it today.  I’m in Hong Kong and rode the subway for the first time.  I was very impressed by the entire system and how key information was clearly presented.  Information such as which subway exit should I take? Which side of the train should I be prepared to leave on?


Here’s a picture of the signage on the interior of the train.  It indicates which station you are traveling between, and also which side of the train the exit is on. These details are very impressive from the usability standpoint of the passenger. It eliminates much of the stress a first-time user would experience getting on an unfamiliar system.

These are the kinds of details that only emerge from showing empathy for the customer, and iterations of prototyping and testing.

The business value is twofold:

1) It identifies the core, high value problems to solve.

2) It identifies solutions that encourage use and adoption – especially for new users and customers.

If you want to get started in Design Thinking, I suggest reviewing this site first.

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      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas

      Thank you for sharing, Blair

      I can only hope such features as shown in the Hong Kong subway come to the DC area subways - would be nice to know which side of the train the exit is 🙂