Design Driven Entrepreneurship

In an economy where job opportunities are scarce and hard to come by, many youths look to entrepreneurship not only to get employment but also as an outlet to monetize their passions and talents. As a result, entrepreneurship is being taken more seriously and with the right attitude. This was not the case a few years ago.

Over recent years, we have demystified entrepreneurship and many more are getting into it. So, how does the journey to entrepreneurship begin?

It all begins with an idea. This could either be to produce a good or offer a service. One of the ways to power your startup is by using a human-centered design system. Design, it turns out, gives you clear competitive advantages for your business. It’s a process you can apply to everything you do in your startup. Human-centered design is the discipline of solving problems in the service of people.

Every part of your new business should solve a problem for someone: your product, your customer service, and your business systems. Think about this-  According to some studies, design-driven businesses financially outperform other business.

A couple of years ago I attended an entrepreneurship competition. It was the culmination of a series of events held across different countries around Africa and this was the finals leading to the main global event. I observed the brilliance that is on our continent.  Many of these people were offering practical solutions to everyday problems. However, the sad reality is that not all of them may succeed.

Why is this the case?

Many people just get into business without a plan or they may be unprepared to encounter the challenges and constant failures that are associated with starting and sustaining a business. This is one of the main reasons why 90% of startups fail. This is not an indictment on the idea but rather the execution of the idea.

Design-driven entrepreneurship can help one increase the odds of the success of a startup. The design process starts with observing, turning observations into insights, developing ideas from those insights and then prototyping and testing the best ideas. It means going out and gathering items then coming back in and synthesizing them again and again. It’s not a linear process; it is a looping, sometimes messy process. Specifically, let us look at Human Centered Design.

Human-Centered Design (HCD) is a process and a set of techniques used to create new solutions for the world. Solutions include products, services, environments, organizations, and modes of interaction.

The reason this process is called “human-centered” is that it starts with the people we are designing for. The HCD process begins by examining the needs, dreams, and behaviors of the people we want to affect with our solutions. We seek to listen to and understand what they want. We call this the Desirability lens. We view the world through this lens throughout the design process. Once we have identified a range of what is desirable, we begin to view our solutions through the lenses of Feasibility and Viability. This may give an entrepreneur a better understanding and ultimately a better chance of survival.

By Keith Ogachi.

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