How to improve the employee’s experience with Design Thinking?

For anyone who believes that Design Thinking (DT) can be used only to develop new products and services, they are very much mistaken. Relevant issues posed to the corporate world such as the improvement in the employee’s everyday experience within a company and the strategic alignment between marketing and sales, amongst others, were just some of the challenges proposed by MJV employees in a DT course. Over the course of three days, 22 professionals from different departments – marketing, HR, administration, innovation, IT and support – were able to collectively test all stages of innovative approach in a practical and dynamic way, carry out a real life DT project and, better yet, apply it to their everyday routine.

On the first day of training the participants were divided into groups so that the chosen subjects could be properly addressed. The subjects to be explored could be chosen by the group members themselves or by the Innovation consultants overseeing the course. Once chosen, the participants immediately began the process of immersion with the target audience, which is to say, they set out to gain an in-depth understanding of the environment in which they were working, the people involved and the different contexts. This stage was fundamental in identifying real necessities and desires, and possible areas for improvement.

By the second meeting each member of the team was able to share their own immersion experience, the most relevant points they discovered during this stage and their perceptions, amongst other things. With the help of white boards and Post-Its – two indispensable tools in the DT universe – all of the knowledge gained was analysed and summed up to be able to demonstrate innovation opportunities. This then led to the ideation stage. Using the opportunities identified previously, each group generated a series of creative ideas to solve their challenge. Once a single idea had been chosen, the participants came up with an outline for the still-to-come solution.

In the third and last session the participants literally got their hands dirty as the most anticipated part of the course arrived: building a prototype. In this phase a possible solution starts to take form by using simple materials such as pen and paper. The most important thing is to make the idea tangible in the simplest and most versatile form, to test it and to improve upon it in order to arrive quickly at a viable result.

Read more about some of the challenges chosen:

– How to improve an organisation’s new employee onboarding experience. Who here hasn’t felt lost on their first day at work? With this in mind, one of the design thinkers teams developed a kit containing useful information for a new employee. In addition to the history of the organisation, it would include the names of colleagues to reach out to for help, a map of restaurants in the area, including price differences and types of food, etc. On the first day at work, the employee would have a buddy who would help with his/her initial routine.

– How to get work recognised by companies. Without a doubt this is a common desire among workers throughout the world. It is practically a natural reaction to hard work. Although many think that it is the financial reward that is the most satisfying thing for employees, it was proved that simple actions can cause real change within organisations. Why not try placing a suggestion box in one of the rooms asking, for example, which employee makes the team most happy?

With this activity the employees interact amongst themselves and break the ice in what is very often a tense atmosphere and, even better, actually enjoy themselves. After all, enjoying yourself is one of the aims of DT. When minds and bodies are more relaxed, interesting ideas tend to come more easily.

– How to integrate fundamental areas such as marketing and sales into an organisation. One of the groups developed a mobile and a desktop app to address the needs of the two departments, which contained information of both areas as well as possessing a chat function so that all employees could communicate with each other and exchange information at strategic moments.

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