PEO­PLE, NOT TECH­NOL­OGY

Executive Magazine - - EXECUTIVE LIFE -

There is a rea­son all of these suc­cess­ful com­pa­nies are now us­ing this method­ol­ogy: Build­ing a prod­uct that no one would use is a waste of time. HCD method­olo­gies, which the de­sign think­ing process be­longs to, are tai­lored in a way to solve peo­ple’s trou­bles rst, by hav­ing de­sign­ers metaphor­i­cally walk in the shoes of their end-clien­tele. In this for­mu­la­tion, peo­ple, not tech­nol­ogy, are the key to dig­i­tal busi­ness so­lu­tions. Back in 1997, Ap­ple Com­puter Com­pany (as it was then known) trans­formed its busi­ness from the bot­tom up, by putting the cus­tomer rst, and de­sign­ing its prod­ucts ac­cord­ingly. Steve Jobs fa­mously said, “You ve got to start with the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence and work back­wards to the tech­nol­ogy.” O en there are many cus­tomers, not just one, rang­ing from ex­ter­nal con­sumers and stake­hold­ers to in­ter­nal cus­tomers, other­wise known as em­ploy­ees. In the lat­ter sit­u­a­tion, in­ter­nal de­part­ments and team mem­bers take on a larger role in nd­ing and es­tab­lish­ing in­tra-cor­po­rate, in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions.

CO-DE­SIGN­ING: A MUL­TI­DIS­CI­PLINARY AP­PROACH

It might seem slow or coun­ter­pro­duc­tive to some, but a so­lu­tion that fo­cuses on peo­ple rst re­quires that one lis­ten and en­gage with a wide ar­ray of par­tic­i­pants. Hir­ing only a pas­try chef will not, a er all, help a restau­ra­teur cre­ate a com­plete menu. By the same to­ken, com­pa­nies need to in­volve sev­eral spe­cial­ists with mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary back­grounds to de­velop the right so­lu­tion, es­pe­cially when it comes to tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions.

The de­sign think­ing process em­pha­sizes col­lab­o­ra­tion, not only to make sure that the right prod­uct is be­ing built for the right au­di­ence, but also to un­leash cre­ativ­ity through­out the or­ga­ni­za­tion while solv­ing com­plex chal­lenges. In fact, the co-de­sign process in­volves cus­tomers, busi­ness own­ers, de­sign­ers, re­searchers, en­gi­neers, and all other stake­hold­ers to en­sure that the end re­sult is prac­ti­cal and meets the ex­ist­ing needs. When Ideato­life an­swered the call to nd a tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tion for an oil and gas rm, they made sure to in­volve all the stake­hold­ers from the di er­ent de­part­ments, from IT to the sourc­ing depart­ment, and bot­tom-up, from the eld and rig teams to the VP’s o ice.

RINSE AND RE­PEAT: TEST, LEARN, ITERATE

While some com­pa­nies al­ready adopt a lean and ag­ile ap­proach to nd­ing so­lu­tions, most of them nd them­selves end­ing the process at the rst it­er­a­tion. Tech­ni­cally, this lim­its the op­por­tu­ni­ties for the cor­po­ra­tion. In fact, the process should con­tinue on for sev­eral it­er­a­tions, which would be tested among the di er­ent teams, but mostly from the di er­ent points of view of the rel­e­vant au­di­ences.

It­er­a­tions can be­come prod­ucts, with ev­ery new model emerg­ing a er a de­sign think­ing process cy­cle is com­plete. Mark Zucker­berg re­port­edly said that he never knew the full po­ten­tial of Face­book un­til a er he and his team had tried sev­eral ver­sions of the site, ap­ply­ing di er­ent ideas over the years.

Zucker­berg’s 2012 let­ter to po­ten­tial in­vestors that laid out “the hacker way” high­lighted this crit­i­cal cul­ture: “The hacker way is an ap­proach to build­ing that in­volves con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment and it­er­a­tion. Hack­ers be­lieve that some­thing can al­ways be bet­ter, and that noth­ing is ever com­plete.”

PART­ING WORDS

Each per­son and or­ga­ni­za­tion faces chal­lenges in their own way. The de­sign think­ing process aligns your e orts and helps you fo­cus on what is truly the most im­por­tant thing: peo­ple. We are all try­ing to nd so­lu­tions for prob­lems that peo­ple are fac­ing, whether in their com­pa­nies or in ev­ery­day life. Tech­nol­ogy helps stream­line those so­lu­tions for peo­ple, and not the other way around.

How are you us­ing tech­nol­ogy to solve your prob­lems? Are you ready to use the power of de­sign think­ing to rocket into your next it­er­a­tion? LOUBNA IBRAHIM is a prod­uct and in­no­va­tion man­ager at Ideato­life, a creative soft­ware de­vel­op­ment com­pany based in Beirut that adopts de­sign think­ing for dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion.

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