Michael and Greg talk through the topic of Design Thinking, a must-do for enterprises who are looking to innovate in their transformations. 

http://digitalfroggers.buzzsprout.com/821947/4380416-top-5-must-do-s-of-enterprise-innovation-design-thinking-feat-greg-ladas-and-michael-pullen

Transcript:

Welcome to digital froggers, a podcast brought to you by LeapFrog Systems.

I am Lisette Diamant, LeapFrog Systems digital brand manager and I’ll be your host.

Today’s episode of Digital Frogress will take us into the first of five must haves for innovation at the enterprise level. Design Thinking is a crucial component of innovation. You’ll step away with a deeper understanding of this as well as actionable ways to implement Design Thinking strategies.

Joining me today in our remote podcast recording environment is Greg Ladas and Michael Pullen. Welcome to you both.

Greg:

Hey Lisette. Hey Michael. Looking forward to this session.

Michael:

Hello Lisette and Greg.

I think this is gonna be fun.

Lisette:

Awesome. So Greg is one of our leads here in the agile transformation work that we do and Michael is one of our digital business consultant leads who holds expertise and product design and Design Thinking approaches. So Michael leading us off here into the conversation how would you best define Design Thinking?

Michael:

Design Thinking is an approach that a company named IDEO and the Stanford Business School (should be Stanford d-school) put together in order to help business people solve problems in a better way. People who are not designers go through a series of steps that allow them to understand the customer, to explore different ideas, explore the solution space, and be able to then take some time to sketch and learn how people react to those ideas that they come up with. So that they can drive to a better or a best solution for your organization.

Lisette:

Expanding on that a little further what are those key steps to have in mind for this framework.

Michael:

With the basics of observing your customers, trying to get yourself to the point of having empathy for your customers, being able to walk in their shoes. Traditionally people would send questionnaires or do workshops where they bring people together. And when you do that with your customers they try to do their best to please you and give you the right answer. Observing your customer while they’re living their life how they do on a normal basis allows you to see in and get some insights into how they think, how they feel. This is where people will talk about things like doing Personas or Journey Maps. There are many different ways that you can group the information. It helps you as a team to start doing some processing of what you’re observing with the users.

Lisette:

Hmm… those are some really great points … And one thing that really stuck out to me is just I know a lot of businesses are centered on what is the ROI of this in which ways can it really contribute to the greater whole of the business. Greg in your experience, what have you found you know adding in some of these principles into the work you do on the agile front to be able to better the work that you execute and better contribute to the business.

Greg:

When working with teams you know … it’s really essential to … to as I said in a previous podcast “Digital Froggers Live” is … to go build things that are worth the building. There’s no purpose for teams to deliver something that doesn’t have any value, even if they deliver it well. If it doesn’t have value in the end to the customer then then it’s a miss. Product Owners are responsible for the squad in terms of writing stories prioritizing stories. The Product Owners are the voice of the customer. And in many cases Product Owners will believe they have the voice of the customer, when in fact they’re not really sitting down and talking directly with the customer. As Michael described, it is Design Thinking that provides such a great framework to do so … Product Owners can create stories prioritize stories in many different ways. But you know we see in leveraging side thinking to interact directly with the customer as a kind of superior way to do it.

Lisette:

Michael do you want to add anything to that?

Michael:

Well I think that Greg is describing is part of the challenge that product management and Product Owners have had for a long time. They are asked to come up with a set of stories or the business requirements as quickly as possible. What happens many times is … these folks are experts in the industry. They know what has happened in the past but they don’t have the information right now in the current world. And so being able to go out and observe people now. And see how they’re interacting, what other applications they have, the other communications with other people they have, what is going on in their environment, how many computers they’re using, the telephones that are going off, … all those sort of fun things. The number of interruptions they have while they’re trying to get their work accomplished, all should feed into doing the designs that you’re looking for in order to deliver the customer better solution. And so … by having this information in hand and identifying the solution, it’s a lot easier to write stories from a solution that you know has been partially vetted. If you will … at least it has been put in front of customers and users where they can respond to it and you can learn from there. And really … when you’re building out a product and your spending that much money on software developers, quality and the tools of technology and then the release … all that this gives you a better sense that you’re going to meet that customer’s needs in the end.

In our perspective, we also see using Design Thinking as the way to get the organization or a group of people all on the same page at the same time about the solutions that you’re going after. So this isn’t a process of doing individual work here. This is actually a team oriented process to doing design that brings people from different areas inside the organization all into this process. Which also allows, you as the Product Owner, to know that you have buy-in into the potential solution that’s going forward. So if you have people inside of your organization, which most people do who are going to interact with your product for their success of their particular jobs, getting their by into the solution many times can be a challenge. Along the way … and you get that you get a lot of pushback inside of an organization. Doing Design Thinking in this way, where you were actually having people participate in joining, it allows you to demonstrate the value of the solution that the customer is behind it. And people will buy into it because they participate.

Lisette:

Michael, one thing that you mentioned earlier was ensuring that you’re able to empathize with your end customer. What are some really smart questions you can ask with the Design Thinking approach?

Michael:

What you’re trying to do with the Design Thinking is observe your users. The best questions that you can ask are the questions about what they are doing in that moment. So what is it that you’re doing? Who is it that you are interacting with? Why did you just do this? Give them that opportunity to show you what is going on. And perhaps it’s a teaching moment. If you’re going in, even as an expert, with eyes wide open, you’re able to learn a lot about how, at least, that individual thinks. And if you do it many times over, you may actually learn something yourself, about how the people that you want to bring your product and service to think, how they feel about things, and what kinds of stresses they have. Or whatever it is that they’re trying to do in order to get their work done.

Lisette:

And thank you both so much for coming in here today to discuss the exciting work around Design Thinking. Thank you, Michael. Thank you, Greg. And let’s build on this a bit further in next week’s episode on prototyping.

Greg:

Thanks Lisette.

Michael:

Thank you very much, Lisette.

Lisette

Wonderful to have you both.