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Design & Research

4 What's

What Is? What if? What Wows? What Works? An idea generating design framework.

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The 4 Whats Framework | Design Thinking Questions Template

The 4 Whats overview

The 4 Whats design thinking framework, pioneered by Vijay Govindarajan, offers organizations a structured approach to innovation. By asking four fundamental questions - What is, What if, What wows, and What works - this framework guides teams through a systematic process of understanding, exploring possibilities, selecting captivating ideas, and implementing solutions.

The 4 Whats encourage a design thinking mindset and empower organizations to drive meaningful change, solve complex problems, and deliver value to their customers. By following these design thinking process questions, teams can unleash their creative potential, foster a culture of innovation, and effectively address the pain points and desires expressed by their users.

This AI-powered 4 Whats template helps extract insights from research data and generate ideas that span from visionary possibilities to actionable implementations.

How this 4 Whats design thinking template helps in ideation and innovation

  • Current State Assessment: The "What is?" section of this template enables teams to precisely summarize the status quo and identify the challenges and frustrations faced by users. By extracting key pain points and trade-offs, organizations gain a clear understanding of the current reality and the areas that require improvement.
  • Exploring Possibilities: The "What if?" section encourages divergent thinking and pushes teams to envision a better future. By leveraging current trends, technological advancements, and futuristic ideas, this template prompts teams to generate a wide range of potential opportunities and solutions. This unconstrained exploration sparks creativity and enables the consideration of transformative possibilities.
  • Captivating Idea Selection: The "What wows?" section helps teams down-select from the ideas generated in the previous section. By evaluating the desirability, feasibility, and viability of concepts, organizations can identify captivating ideas that align with user needs, organizational capabilities, and economic viability. This step ensures that selected ideas are practical and ready for testing with end users in the near term.
  • Actionable Implementation: The "What works?" section focuses on short-term, small-scale ideas that can be implemented immediately. By iterating towards the ideas generated in the previous sections, organizations can take incremental steps to bring innovation to life. This section encourages practicality and enables teams to experiment, refine, and learn from their implementations.

Some potential 4 Whats design thinking use cases

  • Product Development: This template can be applied to develop new products or improve existing ones. By understanding the current state, exploring possibilities, selecting captivating ideas, and implementing practical solutions, teams can enhance user experiences, address pain points, and deliver innovative products that stand out in the market.
  • Service Innovation: Organizations offering services can utilize this template to innovate and transform their service offerings. By following the 4 Whats design thinking framework, teams can identify service gaps, explore novel service concepts, select captivating ideas, and implement incremental improvements to enhance customer satisfaction and create a differentiated service experience.
  • Process Optimization: This template can be employed to optimize internal processes within organizations. By assessing the current state, exploring possibilities for process improvement, selecting feasible and impactful ideas, and implementing small-scale changes, teams can streamline operations, increase efficiency, and drive continuous improvement.

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