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A Survey for Ideal Business Management Utilizing Design Thinking

In FY2013, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) conducted a survey for ideal business management utilizing design thinking (a survey of the current situation of business management utilizing design thinking to enhance global competitiveness). In the survey, the term "design" was defined in a broad sense and based on that definition, interviews were conducted with private entities that make use of design thinking as a method for stimulating innovation and discovering and solving challenges. The survey also covers case examples of successful enterprises, and outlines future challenges.

METI compiled the results of the survey into a report, and hereby announces it.

1. Outline

From the viewpoint of business management, the term “design” is usually recognized as a representation of the activities involved in business management as a whole, including marketing, planning, advertising, and branding approaches for developing products and services, and not merely representing a figurative plan to determine shapes and colors of objects.

The term “design thinking” which has come into the spotlight recently, refers to an approach in which manufacturers focus on social challenges and the needs of the people, develop products and services to solve the challenges, and convey a story of the values of such products to the public. In Japan, some enterprises are starting to take the design-thinking approach in their business management and make use of it as a method for stimulating innovation and solving challenges.

METI conducted the survey, mainly aiming to convey the design-thinking approach to Japanese enterprises, particularly targeting business owners in order to stimulate innovation and improve products and services to satisfy the needs of consumers through this approach.

2. Key points of the report

1) Challenges that enterprises face when introducing and disseminating design thinking

  • Necessity of innovation
  • Components of innovation
  • Approaches to increasing the number of people who understand design thinking

2) Common elements of design thinking

  • Understanding the challenges from the viewpoint of users
  • Various types of options and methods of integrating them
  • Visualization

3) Successful case examples of enterprises utilizing design thinking

  • Introduction of successful enterprises by type of process they improved - from developing internal organization to winning new customers (eleven companies)

4) Methods for further utilizing design thinking in enterprises

  • Collaboration with enterprises in different sectors
  • Utilizing external human resources

3. Announcement of the report

Full text of the survey is available on the following website:
URL: /policy/mono_info_service/mono/creative/index.html (in Japanese)

Release Date

July 22, 2014

Division in Charge

Creative Industries Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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