Design thinking is a strategy by which brands tackle complex issues using a more hands-on approach, fostering both collaboration and creativity, while also encouraging engagement on every level of a company.
In our recent Peeples to People chat, our Chief Customer Officer Donna Peeples was joined by Motiv Strategies founder and CEO Jeneanne Rae to discuss the importance of design thinking in the way we do business today.
Donna: How do you define design thinking?
Jeneanne: It’s a human-centered design methodology to solve problems from a user perspective. It puts the user at the center of the problem. It’s important, particularly in the customer experience world, to be looking at the experience from the outside-in rather than inside-out.
D: How does the process manifest itself inside of a company?
J: You can kick it off as a project or you can kick it off as an initiative. It’s a process of change management, of structuring the right kind of tools, of an educational process, getting the right people in place if you want to do it at the enterprise level.
If you don’t want to jump in with both feet and you just want to get a taste of it, you can find a complex problem and start working on it using a design thinking approach.
You can isolate the user issues, you can look at the tech issues, the business issues and look at them by themselves in their component part, and understand what’s important about all of those things, and optimize a solution that considers the condition that you find.
D: What steps would you say the design thinking process looks like?
J: The first phase we call investigate. Not only are we looking at customer information but also what’s going on in the context of the customer, the technology environment, in the business. The goal is to identify the problems you need to solve.
A lot of people think this is all about creativity, but it’s also a lot about discipline. That’s where you’re generative and build ideas around the problems that you solve.
The next phase is refining what those ideas are. You show (the ideas) to users and get their feedback on what it (the solution) is you’re trying to present to them. With the help of their feedback you make an iteration cycle for further prototypes.
Once you get those ideas, you work on implementing them. This can involve things like change management, systems development, piloting, soft roll-outs. It’s a period where there’s continuous improvement before you can actually call it a day.
D: How do you plan to operationalize design thinking as part of the core strategy in doing business?
J: If you start with executives, they can lay the groundwork and give the permission and be there to support but it’s also important to train people that are going to be doing the work.
In design thinking, there’s the 101 – to learn the basic process of design thinking. There’s the 201 – to learn some of the deeper things: how to develop personas, how to do a journey map, how to do a service blueprint, these harder kinds of things. And finally there’s the next level – 301 – to actually do a program.
There’s a big difference between exposure of 101 and figuring out how long should it take, who should be on my team, how much should it cost, supply/chain for design oriented stuff and knowing how to do it efficiently.
D: Where is design thinking taking us?
J: Technology is always new and exciting and needs to be integrated, there’s going to be no let up in that, it’s only going to get worse. I think this is why a lot of companies are investing in design thinking, so their people can be agile, can be collaborative and draw on the minds of other people around them and have a process. It’s nice for today’s environment.