Organizations nowadays are trying to create new consumption behaviors to keep customers engaged constantly. This ‘customer habit formation’ is at the heart of most successful enterprises. With greater access to customer data and context, businesses are employing design thinking to create unique and personalized customer experiences.


LinkedIn uses well-timed email reminders which serve as a nudge to bring visitors back repeatedly. A click on the email opens your LinkedIn app with a dashboard view on who viewed your profile, your rank in ‘page views’ and more. Additionally, it’s possible to read up on the latest content too, thereby stretching out a single visit of a few seconds, to a few minutes.

While this sounds like a simple transaction, LinkedIn needs to work hard to keep you hooked for those extra minutes. LinkedIn makes every effort to personalize your experience. Other companies like Apple, Google, IBM and more – are adopting similar techniques to attempt to drive customer-centricity at their core. By bringing constant improvements and changes through design thinking and creating better customer experiences, they support organizational growth.

Design thinking started as a creative strategy for designers to use, but the concept has been leveraged to solve issues in business and social contexts as well. Organizations use design thinking frameworks to meet their customers’ future needs in a way that is technologically feasible and viable to generate customer value and tap market opportunity. Simply put, design thinking helps in creating solutions that are realistic and executable but begins with understanding customers’ future expectations. It does so by following a five-step process as defined by the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University:

Empathize – Define – Ideate – Prototype – Test

Organizations begin by empathizing with their customers’ needs and the problems they face along their journeys. This is done by analyzing historical customer data available with the company as well as through surveys, interviews, and other methods. At OSG, we do this using Illuminate, our bespoke behavioral and cognitive analytics-based solution – which allows us to understand and empathize with customers’ future expectations in an individualized manner. This information, which represents the “how” and “why” of customer behavior, is then analyzed to define a problem statement in a customer-centric manner. By identifying and defining the gaps, organizations can then ideate to come up with products and features to address these challenges. This is followed by the development of a product prototype or an intervention such as promotional nudge, ideally in an inexpensive way. This prototype is tested within the group, or with a limited set of target users, to gather feedback, and make further improvements. Finally, they arrive at a product, solution, messaging or promotional nudge that solves customer challenges.

While many organizations are using design thinking to see customer-centric growth, the more successful organizations factor in behavioral analytics to get a complete, 360° view of customers’ profiles. Behavioral analytics provide a deep understanding of customer decision making by understanding how customers will behave in the future. Marrying historical data with future customer behavior trends gives you deeper insights at the Empathize and Define stages of your design thinking process and helps you craft better customer experiences.

Take Apple for example. They keep customer-obsession as their primary focus, developing not only products that address future needs, but also a comprehensive solution that ensures a holistic

customer experience. Most other companies may be content with building new, innovative devices with the best equipment and features, but Apple strives for a holistic experience from support to service to software, in-store experience to online experience.

So, can design thinking-driven business strategy lead to revenue growth? Definitely! But for revolutionary growth, you must keep the customer at the center and combine design thinking with behavioral analytics. Remember, behavioral analytics is not just what customers did in the past, it starts with understanding their current and future needs, and how to address it with a holistic experience. As they say, it’s the customer that leads, and not the product. As a result, you must understand what jobs customers are doing and how the holistic experience can make those jobs better.

OSG’s Dynamo does exactly this for you. It begins with mapping your customers’ journey from awareness to consideration to purchase and reviews. By sourcing unstructured observations through customer immersion studies, ethnography studies, in-store camera feeds, social listening etc. and analyzing them using Dynamo (our big data analytics platform) it identifies jobs, outcomes, constraints and benefits that customers seek along their journeys, and personalizes and prioritizes them. Illuminate then identifies innovation corridors by identifying gaps and unmet customer needs, and comes up with new, innovative and comprehensive experiences including product improvements. These are tested and validated, and market opportunities are sized. By constantly identifying future customer need patterns, Illuminate also helps you create a continuous stream of innovations that keep you ahead of the competition. Illuminate can help you operationalize design thinking and deliver great results.

We hope this information has been interesting and valuable to you. Please, feel free to share it with colleagues and other people in your network. We welcome discussing this topic further with you and understanding your specific challenges.