Design Thinking: A key digital priority

Design Thinking: A key digital priority

A progressive perspective necessitates an understanding that we are not simply encountering the product, service, or experience on the web, on a screen or screens, or in a specific channel. We are living, engaging, and involved in “it”.

Today, organizations must learn how to make the experience of its constituents – employees, customers, partners, and the public – simple, intuitive, frictionless, ubiquitous, contextual, and emotional. The only feasible way to do this is to be experience obsessed, and ever vigilant about the way in which that is changing, and will continue to change. For this reason, design thinking is required.

Four (4) Important Terms Defined

Design thinking is not user experience. Design thinking is not service design. And, design thinking is not user experience design.

Design Thinking – a strategic element (why)

  • “Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” Tim Brown, president and CEO of IDEO
  • A human-centered, prototype-driven process for innovation that can be applied to product, service, and business design. Stanford University

Design thinking utilizes creativity and design principles at the business level to influence strategy and innovation by taking an abstract idea and creating something with it which requires structure and discipline to drive results.

Service Design – an operational element (how)

  • The application of established design process and skills to the development of services. It is a creative and practical way to improve existing services and innovate new ones. (Stefan Moritz)
  • A form of conceptual design that involves the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between the service provider and its customers. (Wikipedia)

Service design is a human-centered approach that starts with an obsession about customer experience and the ability to deliver quality as a key value of success.

For many organizations, service design focuses on evolving product-focused businesses into service-oriented ones through the use of effective design and superior customer experience.

Strategy & Innovation Consultation

User Experience – an operational element (what | how)

  • “User experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products. NN/g
  • A general term that covers all aspects of a user’s participation while engaging with something that has been designed. Usually when talking about User Experience in the digital design field it refers to the interactions, reactions, emotions and perceptions while using an app, service, website or product. Every Interaction

User Experience (UX) Design – an operational element (what | how)

  • User experience (UX) design is the process of creating products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. This involves the design of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product, including aspects of branding, design, usability, and function.
  • “User Experience Design” is often used interchangeably with terms such as “User Interface Design” and “Usability”. However, while Usability and User Interface Design are important aspects of UX Design, they are subsets of it – UX design covers a vast array of other areas, too. A UX designer is concerned with the entire process of acquiring and integrating a product, including aspects of branding, design, usability and function. It is a story that begins before the device is even in the user’s hands.” Interaction Design Foundation

Design Thinking Challenges

  • Agile process doesn’t fit with the design thinking strategy model. Iterative feature and function releases on a sprint schedule does not enable measurement of results. Agile is a methodology of “how to” deliver, where design thinking is a defensible, data-driven model about the “why”. Strategy is not a quick fix and requires tweaking and nurturing of the model and data until results can be measured and tell an objective story.
  • Organizational resistance and memory are grounded in a long tail game, and change slowly. Inertia to evolve will come with outcomes grounded in data-driven customer and experience results. This is why having a command of the company strategy, measurement criteria, and metrics is critical.
  • Hierarchy creates lethargy. Organizational reporting hierarchy provide structure and discipline. Respecting the construct while finding ways to communicate and collaborate effectively in this new way of operating is essential to influencing future practice.

Take Aways

  1. Establish a seat at the strategy table for your customer. The design thinking process needs an executive ally who can assist to champion the story in context of the organizational goals and guide direction, measurement and funding. Securing an executive that doesn’t just sponsor the strategy, but rolls up her or his sleeves to dig into the details, is imperative. Building the competency requires leadership and repetition and honing of the design thinking knowledge, content, and skills by all teams – engineering, product, marketing, business, data, HR, etc.
  2. Be prepared for mistakes and adjustments. As with any strategic “must do” directive, expectations should be set to allow for changes along the way. One key area that will likely evidence this is the data behind the results. Data science is a growing practice at most organizations and developing defensible models and analyzing results through the right lens will require an understanding and maturity.
  3. Focus on reskilling employees, and do not ask capable people to do everything required. Be honest with your organization about what skills are needed and what is available. It is alright to start small, grow influence, and develop proof points to unlock impact.
  4. Remember that design thinking is for all customers. Internal and external audiences deserve compelling experience. Make sure that your practice isn’t selective as it matures.

Digital literacy -> digital competency -> digital transformation


Article by channel:

Read more articles tagged: Design Thinking, Featured

Strategy & Innovation