Developing creative and innovative solutions to problems, no matter how big or small, can start with a fresh way of thinking.

Innovate, innovate, innovate. The payments industry is consistently peppered with this string of words. Game changers like Apple, Square and Uber seem to set the standard for what it means to be innovative. In reality, however, everyone has the power to innovate.

Think of a time you were lying awake at night. If sleeping one way was uncomfortable, you may have rolled onto your other side. That action, however small, was innovative. The next step is to foster that innovation and use it to solve complex problems. Here’s where Design Thinking can help.

Design Thinking is a methodology we use at TMG to find creative and desirable solutions for community financial institutions and the consumers they serve. Originating from Stanford University, Design Thinking is a five-step process focused on encouraging innovation. Walking through each of the steps below can help generate new ideas for payment technologies, data analytics strategies and so much more. No problem is too big or small to benefit from Design Thinking.

  1. Empathize – Determine who the user is, observe the user, engage the user and experience what the user experiences. This step is the longest, most vigorous one.
  2. Define – Craft a specific and compelling problem statement based on the user’s needs and your observations.
  3. Ideate – Explore a wide solution space and a large, diverse quantity of ideas.
  4. Test – Share your prototype and get ideas to refine and improve it. 

When brainstorming, follow these simple rules:

  • Defer judgment. 
  • Encourage wild ideas. 
  • Build on ideas of others. 
  • Go for quantity. 
  • Stick to one conversation at a time. 
  • Be visual. 

Next time a problem arises, either a personal or professional one, consider applying Design Thinking. The resulting ideas may be surprising.