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Design Thinking – An Innovative Approach Towards Business by Pearson India

Recently we were invited to the exclusive experimental session on Design Thinking by Pearson India. This specially curated segment was designed for us to look at blogging with completely different perspective.

How we can cater to our readers with the help of design thinking, and how we can innovate as a business was deeply explained by a team of experts like Vikas Singh, Managing Director, Pearson India, Varun Dhamija, Vice President – Pearson Professional Programs & Joseph A. Hopper, Head – Learning Design, Pearson Professional Programs. Their years of global experience in marketing, business and innovation in product design for business growth offered us loads of new learning in the session.

Pearson Design Thinking Experimental Session

Bloggers from around the India attended this interactive session in Delhi, along with some of us joining online for this session. If you’re a start up that is consumer focussed, or even if you’re a established business exploring innovation possibilities, we highly recommend you attend one of these sessions by Pearson Professional Programs.

Along with custom training programs PPP offers courses like new manager entry point training, programs in the domain of business and management, new-age skills, and custom learning for senior leaders.

For more information, please visit

Concept of Blended Learning

With the growth of startup ecosystem in our country, you will commonly come across terms like disruption.

While India is making progress in digitization, the Indian higher education is also evolving with key concepts defining and shaping the growth trajectory of the industry. One key concept that is disrupting and innovating teaching and learning process is Blended Learning. The concept is rapidly gaining pace in the Indian context as it is an effective learning solution that combines online teaching with offline touchpoints and vice versa, thus bringing the students the best of both worlds.

Though there is significant value to having face-to-face interaction in class, student abilities are enhanced when these are supplemented with blended learning methods that maximizes learning while providing students with convenience and flexibility. Pearson Professional Programs (PPP) offers blended executive education programs span a variety of functions and industries, for participants of diverse seniority levels (top, senior and middle management). It deploys cutting-edge learning technology, classroom infrastructure and pedagogical methods to help working professionals update their skills and progress in their careers, while making material improvements in the organizations that they work for.

Commenting on the innovative concept Varun Dhamija, VP & Business Head – Pearson Professional Programs said, “India is moving towards a new generation of skill sets and education platforms to meet global requirements. A blended learning approach optimizes the achievement of learning objectives with the application of appropriate technologies to match the personal learning style. At Pearson, we deploy cutting-edge learning technology, classroom infrastructure and pedagogical methods to create unique learning journeys for participants.”

In partnership with leading higher education institutions, faculty and content providers from around the world, PPP offer courses through blended learning that involves complementing traditional face-to-face programs with e-learning technologies such as live online sessions, simulations, discussion boards, group projects, classroom interactions, videos, and more.

What Exactly is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a formal method for practical, creative resolution of problems and creation of solutions, with the intent of an improved future result. In this regard, it is a form of solution-based, or solution-focused thinking—starting with a goal (a better future situation) instead of solving a specific problem. By considering both present and future conditions and parameters of the problem, alternative solutions may be explored simultaneously.

Design thinking is especially useful when addressing what is referred to as “wicked” problems. In the context of design thinking, the word wicked does not refer to maliciousness but, instead, to problems that are ill-defined or tricky.

In the case of wicked problems, both the problem and the solution are unknown at the outset of the problem-solving exercise. This is as opposed to problems where the problem is clear, and the solution is available by application of technical knowledge.

Divergent Thinking versus Convergent Thinking

Design thinking employs divergent thinking as a way to ensure that many possible solutions are explored in the first instance (note areas that widen, denoting emphasis on divergent thinking), and then convergent thinking as a way to narrow these down to a final solution.

Divergent thinking is the ability to offer different, unique or variant ideas adherent to one theme while convergent thinking is the ability to narrow the number of retained solutions to the given problem. Design thinking encourages divergent thinking to ideate many solutions (possible or impossible) and then uses convergent thinking to select the best approach.

Design Thinking is Iterative

The design thinking approach differs from the analytical scientific method, which begins with thoroughly defining all the parameters of the problem in order to create a solution. Design thinking identifies and investigates with both known and ambiguous aspects of the current situation in order to discover hidden parameters and open alternative paths which may lead to the goal. Because design thinking is iterative, intermediate solutions are also potential starting points of alternative paths, including redefining of the initial problem. The key practice that brings forth a great design is the practice of iteration. The iterative process occurs over and over until a design is considered worthy for implementation.

In contrast to a purely analytic approach, design thinking is a process which includes the building of ideas with few or no limits on breadth, during the brainstorming phase. This helps reduce team members’ fear of failure and encourages input and participation from a wide variety of sources in the ideation phases.

Identification of valuable yet initially seemingly unworkable solutions is one goal of the brainstorming phase and is encouraged. Brainstorming supports discovery of hidden elements, ambiguities, and faulty assumptions of a situation.

The Business Context of Design Thinking

Innovation is an increasingly central topic in business today and design thinking skills support innovation.

Business problems today are increasingly complex and tricky, hence design and innovation are a key competency for managers. Furthermore, design thinking plays an important role in the creation of a learning organization.

Despite the power of design in management, little attention has been paid to the subject in management education.  While there has been significant business interest in design thinking in the last decade, in 2015 the design thinking pioneer Tim Brown assessed design thinking to be widely, but only sporadically, used in business. He argues that competitive advantage comes from sustained use of design thinking, from becoming “masters of the art.”

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About Pearson Professional Programs: Pearson Professional Programs partners with leading educational institutions, faculty and content providers from around the world to help working professionals update their skills and progress in their careers while making material improvements in the organizations that they work for. Our blended executive education programs span a variety of functions and industries, for participants of diverse seniority levels (top, senior and middle management). We deploy cutting-edge learning technology, classroom infrastructure, and pedagogical methods. Although our faculties are leading experts from around the world, each program is carefully contextualized to speak to local business realities.

About Pearson: Pearson is the world’s leading learning company with presence in over 80 countries that touches the lives of more than 150 million people worldwide. With the mission to help people make progress in their lives through learning, Pearson started its journey in India in 1998. The company currently has over 1,200 employees in India and is committed to bringing its global best practices in the education sector to contribute towards creating a measurable, outcome-based and technology-enabled learning framework in India. Over the last two decades, Pearson has introduced a wide range of products, services and solutions, customized to the needs of Indian learners from school students to young professionals. In line with the Indian government’s growing focus on use of technology for better teaching, Pearson today offers ed-tech solutions for learners at every level.  Pearson now wants to charter a new future of learning by delivering excellent learning solutions for at least 10 million learners every year till 2020.