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  • Writer's pictureKodiak Technologies

What is the difference between Design Thinking and Agile Strategy?


Design thinking and Agile strategy are innovation frameworks that can be used by businesses to develop new products, services, or processes. Janyce Fadden from the University of North Alabama taught all of us attending the Southern Deans Conference in Dallas Texas today. "Guided conversations are badly needed by organizations". There are some key differences between these two approaches.


Design thinking came out of corporate product development. It is a human-centered approach to innovation that focuses on understanding the needs of users and developing solutions and products that meet those needs. It is a non-linear process that involves iterative cycles of prototyping and testing.


Agile strategy is a more business-oriented approach to innovation that focuses on developing and executing strategies quickly and efficiently. It is a linear process that involves sequential steps, such as market research, strategy development, and execution. It involves doing more than iterations around problems and product solutions.


Design thinking is a human-centered, non-linear process which is iterative. 


Agile strategy is a focused, linear ,business-oriented approach which is sequential. It is a strategic approach to develop and execute strategies quickly and efficiently. 


When I would recommend design thinking:


Design thinking is a good choice for businesses when they are:


  • Developing new products, services, or processes

  • Trying to understand the needs of their users

  • Dealing with complex or ambiguous problems


Agile Strategy might be best applied to:


  • Trying to develop and execute strategies quickly and efficiently

  • Dealing with rapidly changing markets

  • Launching new products or services


Which approach is better?


The best approach for a business will depend on its specific needs and goals. Design thinking is a good choice for businesses that are focused on developing solutions that meet the needs of their users. Agile strategy is a good choice for businesses that are focused on developing and executing strategies quickly and efficiently.


It is also possible to use both design thinking and agile strategy together. For example, a business could use design thinking to develop a new product or service, and then use agile strategy to launch the product or service and to make changes as needed.


Ultimately, the best way to decide which approach to use is to experiment and see what works best for your business.



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