Design thinking, in general, is a reference to keeping the end-user, the human, in mind – whether it is from the perspective of a solution to a problem, or from the viewpoint of working on one such solution. The idea is to go beyond the obvious and come up with alternative strategies that may be more effective, even though they weren’t too apparent in the beginning.
In the digital world, design thinking is based on in-depth insights into the needs of customers allowing an organization the ability to get an upper hand with their competition. While this approach was primarily used by software developers, it is now a phenomenon that is increasingly being adopted by CIOs who are looking for innovative ways to enable digital transformations in their companies.
Usually design is about having a problem and creating a solution that will best address it, which is how most organizations work with something new. Design thinking, on the other hand, works on the solution with the bottom-up approach. Employees across the hierarchy pitch in with the refining of the product, thus enabling it to be a seamless part of the organization on implementation. Once a part of the company’s culture, the chance of it failing is minimal.
CIOs now work on the Best Approaches to Design Thinking – Here’s How
Now contrary to what you think, organizations that have got their design thinking strategy down perfectly are not all really topping the charts in terms of success. A Mckinsey & Company report says that 70% of digital transformation efforts have failed despite data being based on design thinking. The reason for this is that the concept and its usage are still relatively new and accurate statistics are not easily available. This is something that CIOs have recognized and through their experience, have charted what some of the best approaches to design thinking for digital transformation can be. Here are the four:
Don’t Wait for a Problem to Solve, Bring in the Human Voice:
To make a beginning with design thinking it is important that one does not wait for a problem to occur. CIOs have found that the attempt at digital transformation is done only when the competition seems to have an edge, or if the current methods being followed are failing terribly. It is important that someone is always evaluating customer and his tendencies and that these discoveries are being shared with the development team. The desire of an organization to work for the customer in a particular way has to be well received by a cross section of employees for it to work and for design thinking to be effective.
Emphasize on a Shift in Culture:
A common problem CIOs have noticed in the implementation of design thinking in the course of digital transformation is that of not having all stakeholders on board. This can be top downwards or bottom upwards. There is often resistance that is encountered across the hierarchical structure, often a result of ownership of project issues. To ensure that design thinking strategies are well applied, teams have to be made to understand cooperation and collaboration and actively work towards a common ground.
Consider Your Employees as the Customer:
When you are looking to transform the experience of a customer while interacting with your site/business the idea is to understand their needs better. If employees are constantly worried about targets that they have to achieve (and this is something prevalent across the hierarchy), they often tend to lose the human connect with their customers. On another level, the lack of interaction between departments results in a lack of internal communication. This also fails the purpose of design thinking. What needs to be done in such cases is to consider all employees as customers – encourage them to talk internally, reduce rigidity around productivity (within reasonable means) etc. This will encourage a more human connect with customers, leading to better designing of products and its implementation.
Approach a Problem with the Right Viewpoint:
All too often, when a problem arises, it is viewed from fixed approaches – organizational change, technological improvement or based on data. The design thinking process needs to understand the fact that sometimes there can be more to it than these three categories. This is when interpretation of the data based on empathy is necessary. The problem may go deeper – into economics, into ease of access, possibly a change in equipment that could indirectly affect user experience, or it may even be an entire process in itself. There needs to be a uniform language across the company that will help businesses push better design thinking and CIOs will need to lead by example and perhaps a bit of radicalism as well.
Design thinking is not a cookie-cutter concept, but one which requires a lot of focus on the right issue at the right time, in order for it to work. The end result, when done correctly will be providing smart, functional solutions to problems that connect with the consumer on a personal level and ensure business metrics move upwards positively.
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