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Dominique's Desk: Design thinking

Dominique Pahud

Design thinking can be helpful to an entrepreneur in all phases of development -- from ideation and business model validation to customer development and growth. This kind of market research helps the entrepreneur understand what will make their product successful: the emotional components associated with choosing the product, the initial encounter with the product, and long-term usage of the product.

Focusing on the emotional components across all the stakeholders involved in the decision -- both directly and indirectly -- helps identify unforeseen obstacles in the adoption and use of the innovation. To understand how and when the product will be used in the context of a 24-hour day, the design thinking process answers the questions: When in the workflow is the technology used? How disruptive is it in terms of how the user operates? Is the disruption temporary or permanent?

One relatively new area within design thinking that could be particularly beneficial for digital health entrepreneurs is interaction design. In a new eMed research report, we explore the techniques of this field, which calls for designing a product or service by focusing on how people will use it. Interaction designers create patient personas -- fictional people with unique backstories -- to help determine the user's goals and tailor specific solutions. While there are few resources for early-stage entrepreneurs interested in interaction design, some do exist. For instance, Cooper provides "boot camp" training to product managers and designers on the methods of interaction design. And the research report also offers techniques for entrepreneurs who want to attempt interaction design on their own.

Another resource on design thinking is this eMed montage from the Life Sciences Venture Summit. Design thinking is a rich approach to customer development for the entrepreneur seeking to build and refine his business model.


Dominique Pahud

Director of Innovation and Networks

Kauffman Foundation

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