From building community centers to office spaces, governments and companies have been turning to so-called design thinking to shape experiences for the better. It applies the design process – from creating ideas to testing their functionality – to business and social issues. “There is a clear business advantage to design thinking – meaning thinking creatively and taking a human-centric approach to solve problems,” according to Tim Kobe, CEO and Founder of Eight Inc, speaking at Innovfest Unbound, an innovation festival held in Singapore. In 1997 Kobe helped launch the first Apple stores, which center around space as an extension of the brand and its products, and ultimately changed the way many brands think about their outlets and products. Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently said that design thinking was a factor for the city-state’s transformation and success, adding that many of the policies implemented in areas such as housing and urban development were a result of defining the problem, thinking of creative ideas and solutions before testing and reviewing constantly. “Companies can define these values based on the experiences they focus on [creating], particularly though their offices. The key to passion and loyalty is when you use design to create that connection between the company values and those of its community.” “If you think about it, Singapore’s economic success as a city was due to the late Lee Kuan Yew’s ‘design’. The late Prime Minister considered a much broader context rather than just singular verticals or categories. While strengthening housing and other aspects of the economy, was also planting 10,000 trees a year.”
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