* Excerpt taken from the whitepaper Building a Future with Design Thinking: Corporate Business Planning
Now that we have discussed the signs that show that a company needs to revise its planning and how it is possible to create more assertive planning with design thinking, let’s share a real case where the methodology was applied.
We developed a Design Thinking project with a fuel company and we identified that one of their departments had a leading role in achieving the organization’s overall strategic objectives. The company had challenges ranging from how to engage employees, to the reformulation of internal and external processes.
The project, however, aimed to rethink the interaction between employees and the company. This objective was aligned with the organization’s macro objective, since the area would need to reconsider its efficiency on a day-to-day basis.
After the immersion and the analysis and synthesis of the information collected through the research plan, the project team proposed holding a series of co-creation workshops, in which dynamic activities were created to stimulate the creativity and collaboration of the teams. From all the ideas generated, 38 were pre-selected and 8 were chosen for Prototyping.
One of the prototypes aimed to increase the visibility of the department through a meeting that would stimulate employee proactivity, as well as generate and share knowledge with other members of the area. At the monthly meeting, status guides and internal suggestions for innovation were included. Two employees were selected every month to submit a proposal to change the work routine, taking their area, department and company into account.
Employees shared their ideas and they received feedback from colleagues and superiors. To guide presentations, the idea should contain a problem, how it was identified, the bottleneck created by it, a change proposal, how the change would be applied, the expected outcomes, and how to test/validate the solution.
The prototype has undergone some adjustments in the implementation stage, but today it is part of the company’s routine in a structured and systemic way. New ideas arise all the time, such as new proposals to improve energy efficiency at the company’s building, reusing any material that was not used in a construction site, suggestions for improvements in team communication, among others.
Next steps: how to plan the future of your company
The prototype clearly illustrated the importance of employee involvement, with new ideas coming from within the company and subjects that were extremely relevant to their routines. So, intense debate followed, leadership opportunities were established, and everyone was left with a more holistic view of what the department was capable of doing. Teams were able to use design thinking tools to co-create creative and workable solutions.
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Having a culture of innovation, however, requires constant reinforcement and learning to really be part of the employees’ mindset and become a constant in business evolution. This awareness must be present from the moment of strategic planning, which must be constantly reviewed to ensure assertive and effective implementation.
Methods, such as design thinking, not only assist in tracking actions and objectives, but also in extracting lessons learned that can be applied in future planning. To the internal vision, it is possible to add a vision where dedicated project teams facilitate the process through innovative tools for the visualizing and structuring results.
In addition, collaborative thinking must be encouraged to ensure the engagement and empowerment of those responsible for ensuring that your company’s strategic objectives are achieved. Design thinking allows you to establish points of contact between different company areas, and this that has a direct effect on goals and projects, which works as a seam, ensuring that planning is taken seriously from beginning to end.