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Solving Problems with Design Thinking

Solving Problems with Design Thinking: Ten Stories of What Works

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Solving Problems with Design Thinking
    Book Description:

    Design-oriented firms such as Apple and IDEO have demonstrated how design thinking can directly affect business results. Yet most managers lack a real sense of how to put this new approach to use for issues other than product development and sales growth. Solving Problems with Design Thinking details ten real-world examples of managers who successfully applied design methods at 3M, Toyota, IBM, Intuit, and SAP; entrepreneurial start-ups such as MeYou Health; and government and social sector organizations including the City of Dublin and Denmark's The Good Kitchen.

    Using design skills such as ethnography, visualization, storytelling, and experimentation, these managers produced innovative solutions to problems concerning strategy implementation, sales force support, internal process redesign, feeding the elderly, engaging citizens, and the trade show experience. Here they elaborate on the challenges they faced and the processes and tools they used, offering their personal perspectives and providing a clear path to implementation based on the principles and practices laid out in Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie's Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53605-9
    Subjects: Business, Management & Organizational Behavior

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. Preface The Story Behind Our Stories
    (pp. IX-XII)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. XIII-XVI)
  5. 1 Dispelling the Moses Myth
    (pp. 1-14)

    Most of the managers we meet harbor a deep, dark secret: They believe in their hearts that they are not creative. Picasso they know they are not. They also know that being seen as short on talent for invention in these days of innovation mania is almost as bad as not knowing how to populate an Excel spreadsheet.

    It all seems so unfair. After years spent focusing on prudence and proving the return on investment of any new idea, years spent trying not to look stupid, now all of a sudden we are also expected not to look—what would...

  6. 2 Reimagining the Trade Show Experience at IBM
    (pp. 15-34)

    Trade shows seem the ultimate in old-fashioned ways of doing business: a Las Vegas–like cacophony of booths, banners, and attractive people handing out brochures. Yet despite their often-predicted demise at the hands of the Internet, trade shows remain a $100 billion industry growing at 3 percent per year, according to BusinessWeek estimates. In this chapter, we get a look at how a team from experience marketing firm George P. Johnson collaborated with IBM to use design thinking to transform trade shows from spectacles into conversations that engage customers in collaborative experiences and yield stronger relationships and better business leads....

  7. 3 Postmerger Integration at Suncorp
    (pp. 35-56)

    Put yourself in the shoes of a leader trying to integrate two financial services organizations with significantly different business approaches and cultures. Does design thinking come immediately to mind as a way to solve this thorny problem? Probably not. That is just one of the reasons why we think this story of a group of managers from the Land Down Under teaming up with one of the most creative strategy consultancies we’ve ever met is so fascinating. The critical role played by design thinking in ensuring a successful merger between Suncorp and the Promina Group demonstrates its value in areas...

  8. 4 Transforming B2B Customer Engagement at 3M
    (pp. 57-73)

    One of the most pervasive myths about design thinking is that only consumer products companies can benefit from it. We disagree! While many of the firms that pioneered the use of design thinking to achieve competitive success did so in the consumer products arena, we believe that the opportunity is even more attractive in the business-to-business space, where the approach is much less widely known and its value is often underestimated. One of the greatest B2B opportunities—we think it could be a game changer—is what’s known in design parlance as “co-creation,” the process of engaging customers in the...

  9. 5 Rethinking Strategic Planning at SAP
    (pp. 74-91)

    The track record of traditional strategic planning approaches for actually engaging managers is abysmal, despite untold hours spent completing templates, populating Excel spreadsheets, and creating PowerPoint slides. The infamous binders that sit on the shelves of organizations everywhere are a living (or dying) testimony to the widespread failures of strategy to engage. And that lack of engagement translates directly into a failure of strategy tools such as mission statements and SWOT analyses to make any discernible difference in an organization’s ability to adapt to changing environments. Not so at SAP, where in a kind of “McKinsey meets IDEO” scenario, a...

  10. 6 Redesigning the Customer Contact Center at Toyota
    (pp. 92-106)

    When we hear “customer contact center,” the words that come to mind are generally not “fun” or, unfortunately, “great customer service.” However, with the help of design thinking, that is exactly what Toyota was able to provide for both its customers and its employees. This chapter takes us to Toyota’s Customer Contact Center for Toyota, Lexus, and Scion in Torrance, California, where Gayle Darby from the University of Toyota and Diane Jacobsen from Hitachi Consulting invited a wide-ranging team of colleagues into a collaborative process that combined empathy with Contact Center associates, rapid prototyping, and the creation of a “sandbox”...

  11. 7 Social Networking at MeYou Health
    (pp. 107-125)

    We’ve all heard about how social networks are changing the way we behave and interact. The superficial effects are easy to spot as we chuckle along with shared jokes on Facebook, but the possibilities for deeper societal change are less obvious to most of us. But not to Chris Cartter, the founder of MeYou Health, who teamed up with Bill Hartman at Essential Design to leverage design thinking in order to navigate the opportunities of this digital phenomenon. Chris and Bill worked together to research, prototype, and scale the foundations for MeYou Health, which has grasped the power of virtual...

  12. 8 Industry Collaboration in Financial Services with the FiDJI Project
    (pp. 126-142)

    Head-to-head competitors working collaboratively to explore new pathways to innovation? While using words such as finance, design, and joy? Unlikely! But deepening concern over the erosion of trust in the financial services industry following the global economic meltdown led such a group of financial services executives to search for a new way to gain an understanding of customers in their industry. They found it in design thinking. They called their project FiDJI (Finance, Design, and the Joy of Innovation) in order to bring together their world of finance, their enthusiasm for design, and the thrill of innovating together. In this...

  13. 9 Rethinking Subsidized Meals for the Elderly at The Good Kitchen
    (pp. 143-159)

    Thus far we have looked at the power of design thinking in a variety of business contexts. But we believe that the approach has as much—and maybe more—to contribute to solving “wicked” problems in the social sector. This chapter focuses on a success story from Denmark, a country so well known for its product design prowess that perhaps it should not be surprising that the Danes are also leaders in using design thinking to drive innovation in public-sector-service delivery. In this story the Municipality of Holstebro and the Danish idea and design agency Hatch & Bloom team up to...

  14. 10 Engaging the Citizens of Dublin
    (pp. 160-178)

    We’ve read that design thinking is good for all sorts of problems, from generating competitive advantage in the B2B marketplace to helping the elderly eat better. Here we’ll see that even bureaucratic governments can benefit from using the principles of design. The city council and manager in Dublin, Ireland, knew that to prosper in the next century they had to engage with citizens in new ways and challenge existing mind-sets. The need for change was palpable as the Celtic Tiger lost momentum, but efforts to enact that change needed a new direction and energy. In the end, the energy emerged...

  15. 11 Scaling a Design Thinking Competency at Intuit
    (pp. 179-195)

    When we look at companies that are out ahead in the design thinking space, we see Intuit setting the pace. Scott Cook founded Intuit with a strong emphasis on creating products that were easy for customers to use, and the company has leveraged that core value to drive design thinking into the company’s DNA. For the past five years, Kaaren Hanson, the head of design innovation at Intuit, led Design for Delight, an ambitious initiative aimed at moving beyond using design thinking as a problem-solving tool to making it a core competency of employees throughout the organization. Her team’s experiences...

  16. 12 Where Do We Go from Here?
    (pp. 196-210)

    So we’ve looked at ten stories in which design thinking worked to solve organizational problems in innovative ways. What makes each story so inspiring to us is not the presence of miracle making but its absence. The outcomes our design thinkers produce are often unexpected and even magical, but the way they produce them is not. In each case, we can follow the path they took and the tools they used along the way. No parting of the waters is anywhere in sight—just a lot of bridge building.

    We aren’t claiming that what they did was easy—far from...

  17. POSTSCRIPT Educating Managers for Design
    (pp. 211-216)

    Design involves new behaviors, and that means it doesn’t come naturally to most managers. They must learn it in order to choose it. How do we prepare them to make that choice? As educators, that is a topic near and dear to our hearts, and we would feel remiss if we ended our conversation without addressing this issue.

    Organizations such as Intuit are building supportive systems, processes, and culture to help turn design thinking into a natural act. But because design relies on behaviors and mind-sets that feel uncomfortable to many people raised in traditional organizations, education must be an...