President Of SYPartners Explains How Practicing Design Thinking Transforms Company Culture

President of SYPartners, Jessica Orkin, on finding the right balance between aspiration and empathy inside large companies.

Strive to be great all the time rather than perfect. Takes just two minutes for the complete story here.

Guest Blog: Driving innovation with L&D

Many companies want to establish a culture of innovation, one that encourages flexibility, creativity and supports risk-taking. The benefit? breakthrough products, a superior customer experience and a nimble response to market challenges.

But what is happening in organisations today, and what can HR do – specifically the L&D (learning and development) function – in not only supporting, but also driving, a culture of innovation? The 2019 US L&D Report highlights some of the latest trends that companies are already applying.

Be flexible

The aim of a HR/L&D team is to adjust to continuous organizational changes without compromising either the speed or quality of talent development strategies. An overly-planned L&D program is less likely to adapt with any changes in business strategy, so don’t be afraid to stray from your schedule and remain flexible when business needs a shift. This also means that for innovation to occur, your program needs to tailor itself to the individualized present (and future) need of employees.

Create a safe space for risks and ideas

Innovation happens when employees feel free to take risks without repercussions. Focusing on employees’ individual strengths has been key to creating a culture of innovation. Focusing on strengths creates trust; it creates a safe space to try something and possibly fail, have a conversation about it, and move forward. For many organizations, innovation is a byproduct of their culture that prioritizes relationship-building and trust between employees and managers over learning hard skills.

Having engaged and committed leaders who can encourage this culture is key. It comes as no surprise that leadership and management skills are in high demand at organizations that are leading the innovation charge.

Hand-in-hand with creating an environment where risks can happen without repercussion, encouraging idea-sharing between colleagues on all levels of the organization will also propel innovation. The takeaway? Create programs that allow employees to cultivate their individual strengths while building relationships with others on the team. Where there’s support, there’s innovation – and trust needs to exist between team members for innovation to flourish.

Experiment (and then recalibrate)

Innovation comes from risk-taking. But since there are so many effective mediums and methods to deliver learning in 2019, it’s important to think outside the box and beyond traditional learning – and to never be afraid of recalibrating based on results. It’s vital to carry out evaluations and continuously monitor feedback in order to produce and develop the most innovation-driving programs.

Evaluation and recalibration are at the heart of world-leading innovation initiatives. Through surveys, focus groups, or other evaluations, it’s crucial to determine which programs work, which can be optimized, and which should be scrapped. Even more critical, however, is that you cultivate a working environment where employees can question current processes without repercussion. In a space where there’s mutual trust, reflection can grow into innovation.

Connect L&D and innovation

You could plan great L&D initiatives and hope that it sparks innovation company-wide, or you could be even more proactive. Planning programming around the concept of innovation might include a speaker series with innovators in your industry, a course on design thinking, or hack-a-thons where employees get to take a step back from their daily duties and focus on what could be improved at the company.

Written and Contributed by findcourses.co.uk // EMG – Education Media Group

For Design, ‘Empathy Is Not the End, It’s the Means’

IDEO Chief Executive Tim Brown discusses the key role that design plays in the business world in 2019.

Compared to American leaders, Chinese CEO’s are are investing much more time and effort (24 days a year to be precise) to learn about design and creative leadership. Read the story and watch the video here.

Design Thinking, Lean Startup and Agile: What is the difference?

Here is a really good write up the upper mentioned “buzz words”. Constantly they are used – not always ‘correctly’ …

Design Thinking, Lean Startup and Agile can be combined as shown in the picture above:

  • Empathize, Define and Ideate through Design Thinking
  • Turn ideas into Business models following the lean startup
  • Build and deliver the product incrementally and faster through Agile processes.

Read the complete original story here.

Why Business Leaders and Designers Work Well Together

Over the last 10 years design-led companies have maintained significant stock market advantage, outperforming the S&P by an extraordinary 211 percent.

Knowledge-based business thinking and imagination-based design thinking is the ying and yang of good business. Read here the full story.

Why Design Thinking Works

Occasionally, a new way of organizing work leads to extraordinary improvements. Total quality management did that in manufacturing in the 1980s by combining a set of tools—kanban cards, quality circles, and so on—with the insight that people on the shop floor could do much higher level work than they usually were asked to. That blend of tools and insight, applied to a work process, can be thought of as a social technology.

Along the way, design-thinking processes counteract human biases that thwart creativity while addressing the challenges typically faced in reaching superior solutions, lowered costs and risks, and employee buy-in. Recognizing organizations as collections of human beings who are motivated by varying perspectives and emotions, design thinking emphasizes engagement, dialogue, and learning. By involving customers and other stakeholders in the definition of the problem and the development of solutions, design thinking garners a broad commitment to change. And by supplying a structure to the innovation process, design thinking helps innovators collaborate and agree on what is essential to the outcome at every phase. It does this not only by overcoming workplace politics but by shaping the experiences of the innovators, and of their key stakeholders and implementers, at every step. That is social technology at work.

Read the complete story here on hbr.

Another good source to get a grip on “What is Design Thinking” is here (maybe worth to read before the upper complete article 🙂 )!

Break the Rules: How Thinking Flexibly Leads to Innovation

Physicist Mlodinow on elastic thinking. The key insight for me was the paradox that humans love novelty but yet are averse to changes that imply costs and efforts.

Doesn’t it remind you of companies who want to innovate but don’t make radical changes for innovation to flourish because of the difficulty of changing themselves? Find the source here and enjoy reading / listening to podcast.

The Testing Mindset – How to Find Product/Market fit

“Here’s the thing with innovation, you can’t just tell people to be innovative. A great idea doesn’t always come when you’re sitting at your desk between 9:00am and the end of your working day. Here at etventure we’ve tried various approaches to innovation in the last few years, and what we’ve learned is that success cannot be planned. You have to embrace uncertainty and understand that the majority of your decisions are based on assumptions. You have to invest skillfully to test these assumptions. The smarter your investment in testing, the better your chances of product success. Here’s what we’ve learned based on our experience of adopting a testing mindset and seeing your way through innovative product development.”

* Product/Market fit Cannot be Planned
* Reduce the Costs of Failure
* Prioritize Investments
* Is there Interest
* Reachability of target group
* Willingness to pay
* Technical Feasibility
* Scalability in order not to be forced re-build later on
* Focus on Outcome not Output

So please keep in mind that building an innovative product is so much more than just executing software specifics. By applying the testing mindset you’ll enhance your chances of success.

Read the full article here at “mind the product” from GREGOR ILG.

Why Lean is the new way to build successful products

The way companies build successful products has fundamentally changed. New technologies like smartphones, social network or cloud computing have enabled tech-giants like Apple, Google or Amazon to become the most valuable companies in about 20 years. Development method change over time, like:

* Waterfall (1970s) – and still more than 90% seem to use (successfully if the method is the right choice!)
* Agile (1990s) – which brings in at least an iteration when “doing” the product
* Design Thinking (2000s) – which is a more human centered approach
* Lean Innovation (Startup-2000s) – which encourages to learn/fail fast in order to pivot (or stop) early enough

In my opinion lean and design thinking simply belong together to make the most out of it:

* Focus on business models (not only on products)
* Engage customers continuosly
* Combine the methods of design thinking, lean, and agile (they do belong together!)

Read the full article of Stefan Link here.