‘Design Thinking’ is a business methodology – and ultimately an attitude – being used by companies that have embraced digital transformation, re-orienting their strategy towards innovation and experimentation. To be on the front end of this, there are essential changes to how an organization reasons and rationalizes its way of doing business.

Fundamental to Design Thinking and Digital Transformation

  • Be open to new information and uncommon ideas
  • Embrace uncertainties as part of exploring and exploiting opportunities
  • Experiment: hypothesize and employ rapid testing and iterations for validation
  • Understand that trial n’ error actions are constructive
  • Make it a priority to be data-informed for forecasting, identifying patterns and better pathways
  • Socially listen to gauge sentiments and to capture real-time interests, motives and preferences of customers
  • Perform journey mapping across the customer’s ecosystem (not your own)
  • Be channel agnostic
  • Require that customers will benefit from the outcome of every decision

Shifting the collective mindset of a company in order to gain from design thinking can be fraught with obstacles and resistance.  You must be patient and persistent, providing ample time to stir curiosity, foster esteem, inspire cultural growth, and build momentum among team members.

Offer the team a clear vision and an outline of the advantages of being digitally-driven:

  • Greater adaptability
  • A shared purpose
  • Expansion of competitive opportunities and market reach
  • Higher capability to respond to changes and unforeseen needs
  • Delivery of more substantial value

Critical components of a more experience-focused, value-based business structure:

  • Lean and new technology for significant improvements to efficiency and expediency
  • Prioritization of outcomes
  • Constant scenario improvements: visualize, test and optimize
  • Elevate the customer experience architecture, starting with navigation, usability and speed
  • Create seamless interactions across touch points, always answering ‘why’
  • Application of agile methods throughout work practices and disciplines
  • Manage projects so that value is achieved for customers – validated by business intelligence (BI)
  • Approach each technical initiative in stages and sprints- define, design, develop and deploy in a quick succession
  • Aim for a specific goal, weigh the ideal outcome and then refine processes to reach the targeted result
  • Measure all aspects of performance and utilize your KPIs to take decisive actions

By being in a state of discovery and making changes to the environment, you will avoid process rituals and routine activities that have a team performing in a systematic, predictable and conventional manner. The paradigm of innovation is powerful. Once the ego is stripped away and customary practices are filtered out, an organization can ‘act forward’ with a focus on cohesion, consistency and collaboration. The team will radiate confidence from the ownership and empowerment that an agile workplace bestows.

When you set a framework of innovation centered around value, manage for quality over outputs, and move from performing tasks to hypothesizing, experimenting and validating, you break open design thinking.

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