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Are you solving the right problem?

Dig deeper with Design Thinking to get to the root cause and unlock innovation

While your pain points the way to innovation, you must resist the temptation to jump directly to solutions to try to remedy an obvious, visible pain point.


Like a good doctor, our experienced team at HOOKS takes the time to properly diagnose the root cause of the problem – the real pain point – instead of masking the symptoms with quick fixes or, even worse, spending time and money on solutions that don’t move the bar.

Over the years, we’ve worked with dozens of organizations – large and small – using a proven design thinking process that begins with empathy-based exploration and discovery to help them go beyond the obvious. Only when you find the true source of the problem can you build a lasting, transformational solution for your business.

  • Our customer journeys to innovation and value creation…

    Our work with Bvlgari, the iconic Italian jewelry and luxury lifestyle brand, began with the premise that they wanted to emotionally engage local customers across GCC markets. By reframing the pain point to “How can Bvlgari offer local clients a diva lifestyle at home?”, we unlocked avenues of exploration focused on understanding cultural differences and local aspirations, using the rich Bvlgari culture as a catalyst to bridge the gap between the brand and its customers and drive loyalty.

    Edwards Lifesciences, a global leader of heart valve therapy, came to us because their professional education website wasn’t getting traction with their target audience. While a website redesign was the obvious solution, our process exposed the true pain point – medical practitioners suffer from a lack of time and access to certified information. The solution that emerged from this insight – an Edwards Professional Educational ecosystem – has created a vibrant and engaged community with Edwards at its heart.

    Smartworld, a leading digital smart services provider, felt that their office space needed to be redesigned. Sounds straightforward – but we drilled deeper to uncover that the real challenge: “How to better satisfy clients by delivering faster and better digital solutions/experiences, while increasing transparency and collaboration among their employees.” We helped transform their work environment through human-centered design – breaking down silos and creating immersive spaces that brought customers, employees and solutions together – to align innovation with their business strategy and create value for the people ultimately responsible for organizational success.

  • Resolve to focus time and resources on the problems that matter

    Einstein famously said, “If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it.”

    True transformational innovation – that changes lives and markets – starts with a deep understanding of the people you’re trying to help. When you connect your solutions to their needs and desires in a deep and meaningful way, happy customers and business growth will surely follow.

    If you missed our last newsletter that shed light on pain points as the starting point of true innovation, you can read it here.

    Want to learn more about how human-centered innovation and Design Thinking can help your business overcome wicked problems? Get in touch with HOOKS today!


  • Companies must become more agile and self-disrupt before the market does it for them. According to McKinsey, senior leaders must be fully engaged in this process – prepared to ‘embrace the complexity and use it to learn and grow.

  • To avoid misdiagnosis, be purpose driven and simply ask the question ‘Why?’ before formulating strategy or tackling wicked problems. In Blackrock Chairman & CEO Larry Fink’s Annual Letter to CEOs, the focus is squarely on purpose because ‘Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential.”

  • Finally, have you ever felt the frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist? That’s the Swedish concept of Vemodalen, beautifully depicted in this short inspirational video


As we enter the summer season, day-to-day activity tends to slow down across our markets. Many leaders see this as a perfect opportunity to review and update strategy, and drive innovative projects to capitalize on opportunities and tackle wicked problems (and of course to take off for a short break)!
  • We are constantly updating our understanding of how companies across the GCC think about and apply innovation. Please take 3 minutes to complete this short survey and we’ll share the results with you in our next edition of The Dotted Line. Plus, you’ll win a USD 500 discount on your next project with HOOKS for sharing your thoughts.

  • On July 7th, HOOKS Strategy & Innovation will facilitate a Design Thinking training session for young students (11th and 12th grade) at Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, a private, not-for-profit education institution, established by TECOM Group, part of Dubai Creative Clusters Authority. Located within the Dubai Design District (d3), DIDI’s curriculum has been developed in collaboration with two of the world’s leading universities for design; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Parsons School of Design. Contact DIDI by email for further information.

  • As previously mentioned, HOOKS is a founding member of the recently launched Open Consulting Group. This transformation movement, driven by a network of fascinating and talented individuals around the world, is rapidly evolving and will make some major announcements very soon. Please take a moment to read our manifesto and maybe join us on this exciting journey.

  • Finally, we believe that sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back and get a new perspective. We found this brilliant video on how drones are transforming urban environments and work both beautiful and though-provoking.


    Design Thinking is a proven innovation methodology that turns organizational challenges into growth opportunities. By focusing on user needs and behaviors, and continually exploring and testing ideas, Design Thinking provides a framework to change culture, streamline processes and drive innovation by developing inspired solutions to wicked problems.


    HOOKS Strategy & Innovation is a forward-thinking consulting firm focused on a human-centered approach to achieving innovative solutions. We are a Dubai-based strategy consultancy and innovation academy, with experience nourishing, developing and actualizing innovative ideas for organizations around the world by facilitating and inspiring a new mindset and culture.

    We focus on moderating and introducing organizations to new methods and different work processes designed to unleash the power of innovation and open up new opportunities. Co-creation, empathy and agility are at the core of our methods to help our clients discover their own capability to deliver disruptive thinking.

    Finally, we believe human-centered innovation is the promise of a happier, more sustainable world.


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