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Why multidisciplinary teams are important to design

design-thinking innovation multidisciplinary teams May 02, 2024
Multidisciplinary teams

At the core of any progressive organisation, design and innovation are not just tools but foundations for fostering a deep, mutual understanding of its mission and vision. These processes challenge us to constantly reassess our organisation's purpose and existence. When conceptualising a new product or service, it involves more than just the creation itself—it demands a comprehensive strategy covering every phase of bringing an idea to market.


The Multifaceted Approach to Creation

Consider every element—from sustainable and reusable materials to an efficient supply chain, a knowledgeable marketing team, proactive customer support, and a finance department that crafts economically viable business models. Essentially, when we create, we must think holistically.


Inclusive Design Process

Innovation thrives in inclusivity. Integrating all stakeholders from the very beginning of the design process ensures that the offering is comprehensive and considers all angles. A multidisciplinary team is vital as it recognises that no offering stands alone; it is part of a larger ecosystem where each product or service is merely a single touchpoint within a complex network.


Real-World Impact of System Design

To illustrate, many of us interact with online platforms in a business context daily. Platforms that provide clear, accessible billing information contrast sharply with those where billing history is hard to locate and only a minimal receipt is offered. This might suffice for micro-businesses, but it creates headaches for the accounts payable departments of larger organizations.


Understanding Both Providing and Receiving Systems

Often, the focus is only on the providing side, neglecting the equally critical receiving end. Even individual users or beneficiaries are part of a broader system influenced by various external factors. These factors must be considered to fully understand customer needs and expectations.


The Power of a Multidisciplinary Team

A team with diverse expertise—from different departments or even external specialists, including the beneficiaries themselves—ensures a richer perspective. This multidisciplinary approach is not just about gathering various viewpoints but about achieving a consensus that enriches the project through constructive debate and conflict.


Enhancing Creativity Through Diverse Perspectives

Each team member brings unique experiences and insights, enhancing creativity. This diversity of thought can be likened to Edward de Bono’s "Six Thinking Hats" method, which helps dissect a problem from multiple angles—optimism, caution, creativity, and logical analysis—to foster a well-rounded understanding.


The Merit of Multidisciplinary Insights

By embracing a multidisciplinary approach, we not only broaden our understanding but also enhance our ability to innovate effectively. It is essential to appreciate and integrate the diverse views and experiences each team member brings to the table. Removing these perspectives would narrow our vision and limit our potential to develop optimal solutions from both the provider's and the customer's viewpoints.


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