The ability to develop innovative products is a necessity for successful companies in today's competitive markets. Accordingly, different approaches to build innovative products have evolved in different fields over the past decades: Design Thinking, from the field of Design, agile approaches from software engineering, and Lean Startup from the realm of Entrepreneurship. Design Thinking as a user-centered approach to innovation that focuses on discovering relevant problems and finding innovative solutions to those problems. It thus supports creating a desirable product vision. Agile approaches such as Scrum have become an industry standard in the field of software engineering, as they address changing requirements while iteratively building the software product. Thus, Agile practices support the implementation of a feasible product. Lean Start Up has risen to be the method to follow when building and scaling a new business and product. It focuses on viable business concepts and incorporates agile product development. However, a successful innovative product achieves a balance between feasibility, viability and desirability. Thus, integrating the three approaches, opens up an opportunity to incorporate all important aspects of innovation throughout the software development life cycle.
Within this research we develop and evaluate InnoDev, a software development approach that intertwines Design Thinking, Agile practices and Lean Startup. Two important concepts of InnoDev are explored in depth to develop accompanying guides: the applicability of agile project management for the conceptualization phase, and the suitability of Design Thinking to support later development stages.
Our findings indicate that InnoDev is a promising approach to integrate Design Thinking, Agile practices, and Lean Startup. The combined processes and tool kits indeed enable software development teams to consider all three innovation aspects at different stages of the development life cycle. The use of agile project management throughout the process enables an easy transition from conceptualization to development. Furthermore, the developed guides for developers and Scrum teams helped teams to integrate design thinking activities into their daily work thus strengthening user empathy and team collaboration.
Keywords: Design Research, Human-Centered Design and Engineering, Design Thinking, Agile, Lean Startup