Do you want different results? Don’t always do the same!

Einstein told us: “If you look for different results, don’t always do the same”. Design Thinking process, another way of creation, not only for new products, but also for new services, or just making a qualitative leap in services already in place.

4 recommendations and one technique: Design Thinking Processto achieve that ideas become reality. And it applies also to the services that we provide, as a company, as a department, internally or externally.

How do you make your ideas ‘land’? Did you make them ‘land’ well?

We can have an idea, and believe that it is the best in the world, but if that idea is not the answer to a real and specific need, it won’t work.

The same happens in the services world in organizations. Somebody may have big ideas about how to optimize a process, or solve some specific operational problem or recurrent incidents, or just simply to provide new technologies in an area. But if this idea is not the answer to a real and specific need, it won’t work.

How many companies are there where process improvements are applied systematically and the initially expected results are never achieved? Why? What is the cause?

Einstein told us: “It is madness to do the same thing over and over again, expecting to obtain different results. If you look for different results, don’t always do the same”

What happens? Why am I not able to get it?

There are several causes that have an influence on the result. The good news is that we are able to manage all of them.

We can do a lot more than we think we can!

A great example is to apply Design Thinking process technique. It will help a lot in doing the work. Let’s see what needs to be done to run the technique properly. I will tell you about it divided into two blocs: before starting to use it and once we are using the technique.

What I should take into account before starting?

 There are 3 questions which are important to answer before starting, in fact, before starting any kind of internal project, in relation to the redesigning of products and services:

QUESTION 1: how do we plan to tackle the need to which we want to provide a solution?

If we only include experts in a specific process, in a concept or in a technology, it may happen that we lose out on an extremely interesting point of view that makes all the difference.

When we think about the concept of innovating understood as the search for a new product, we immediately visualize the process including different profiles, a representative set of customers, … in short, a lot of variations of profiles of people we are sure will contribute to providing valuable insights.

However, when we think about the concept of innovation applied to a service, to an internal process improvement, we don’t use the same approach. We usually involve only those who have extensive knowledge of the process, which is good, but we don’t involve (or not so much) the true users of the process, whom can be of very different types and have quite different needs.

Design Thinking process will include all these point of views. It is not about creating big teams. It is about having the key persons on board: with the process/service knowledge (how it is executed), the receiver of the process/service (who executes it or needs it), as well as the new technologies that are emerging, which may contribute to enabling pragmatism, efficacy, efficiency, simplification or just another way of working.

First recommendation:

When you want to do different things, set up a good team, with the needed roles, with people keen to contribute, motivated, and… help them to give their best! You will obtain different results.

QUESTION 2: How would you “recruit” the key team?

To achieve the resources that we consider the key to coping with any project, whose results will have a strong impact, in a positive or negative way, is not always an easy task.

The difficulty could have different causes:

  • We are not able to get the right persons from the different departments, areas or organization sides.
  • We do not achieve effective work dynamics
  • We do not know well enough how to apply these techniques to an environment different from our own R&D
  • Not all the persons that may participate will have the same level of motivation

Whoever wants to lead an initiative of this nature, should prepare the bases and environment that enables these differences to tend to disappear.

Do you remember what Einstein told us? ““It is madness to do the same thing over and over again, expecting to obtain different results. If you look for different results, don’t always do the same”

Let’s do it differently!!

  • Don’t do the recruitment yourself: go for people who want to participate in your initiative!! How? Share it, be clear about what are you looking for, what you are offering, make an attractive proposal and show how the experience will provide some benefit for the persons. All they learn and do will stay integrated in the organization
    • Explain what service will be reviewed, the identified need to be solved, and invite people to think about it
    • Offer training to the team, to enable them to perform the activity in a proper way
    • Explain the estimated time needed to have the initiative defined
    • Share the roles/ profiles that you are searching for with regard to the initiative
    • Think about some award at the end of the activity
  • Create in your internal network the possibility of “I sign up for it” from the key persons
  • Support interested people to participate in it.

Second recommendation:

Do not impose the participation, it is better that people sign up for it. The motivation is radically different. And the result. There is no comparison between this participative model and a hierarchical model! You will obtain different results.

QUESTION 3: How do I add the technological side to the new products/service design?

The technological environment changes exponentially. There are so many changes at the same time, and it is extremely difficult to be up to date and understand how they may affect us.

We can think about some kind of training for the key persons involved, for the team, before starting the reviewing process of the service/product. This training could be technological workshops for discovery, or applied to a specific objective.

Or perhaps, regular workshops could be organized to have employees up-to-date on technology advances.  It could be used as an inspiration within their own responsibilities, which helps to propose new ideas or business improvements..

Or maybe, employees could participate proactively in external events of applied technology.

Again, Einstein, with another of his famous sentences, told us: “I do not have a special talent, but I’m extremely curious”. This attitude makes all the difference.

Third recommendation:

The key is to be a curious person: look and wonder. And we can support this attitude in our organizations. Not only with regard to technology, but also in all other fields. Apply it and you will obtain different results.

And now… What do I have to consider when using design thinking process?

In the previous steps, we have put a lot of good ingredients into achieving a successful Design Thinking process of a service.

Let’s look at the phases of a Design Think process in a scheme:

  1. Empathy
  2. Definition
  3. Conception
  4. Prototype
  5. Test

And as always, the first step is the most important, which is the one that shows us the way: EMPATHY

QUESTION 4: What attitude is the key to making the Design Thinking Process effective?

It is vital to have an open mind, an attitude of curiosity, of being an explorer, of listening to other points of view.This is the difference again: to redesign a service or product, it is a must to have a deep and real understanding of the users’ needs.And this is what is worked on in the EMPATHY phase.

There are several techniques which could be used:

  • Questions and more questions: What is the problem that we want to solve? What is the real problem that we want to find a solution for? We have to ask ourselves several times, repeatedly after each answer, to find the true problem.
  • “To put yourself in the shoes of…”: how do the different players involved see the problem? What different perspectives exist? How do they understand the problem?
  • Express all that we know: How do we put into words all the visions? Are there any connections between them? Mind maps help a lot in this, for example.

Fourth Recommendation:

All the techniques, used to get the EMPATHY phase to succeed, need: to avoid filters/bias and express things as we live them. This means honesty. Forget prejudices and be open-minded to integrate different perspectives. And be a curious person!

In summary, we can do things very differently in our companies, more effectively and quickly, with successful and validated techniques. You will obtain different results.

Dare to try it out?

If you want to know more about the technique, click here.

Let me know if you have any issues on some of these points and I will help you to go forward. That’s the most important thing! I believe you can do it. The decision is yours.