The Cultural Transformation Finalists

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Marisa White

The Cultural Transformation Finalists

Our Cultural Transformation award acknowledges an organization-wide mindset shift where empathy is at the forefront of all processes. This category features the larger implications of Human-Centered Design that changes the way employees work, collaborate and interact both with each other and with customers.

The finalists of this category demonstrated an established design thinking mindset fostered through multiple teams, collaboration as a core principal and component of ideation, and customer centricity as fundamental to decision making.

We are excited to not only announce the finalists of this category, but also showcase a sneak peak of their entries below:

Eaton: From Basic Beige to Electric Blue

Eaton has seen a tremendous transformation in its culture around product and service innovation over the past 3 years. In the Industrial market, many companies are embarking on digital transformations in order to deliver high-value and highly desirable solutions their customers. Our customers are also everyday consumers… ever increasing users of technology, striving to make their work, life and free-time more productive, more informed and more deliberate.

Our customers demand these same digital experiences, same efficacies, same insights within our products and through user interfaces that they are familiar with. The implications of these new connected and intelligent solution expectations drive demand for new capabilities, new assets, faster time to market, an open software culture and a relentless focus on user-centric solutions. Eaton is responding and adapting to remain relevant in this ever-changing, ever-increasing, ever-evolving digital world and discover how to deliver products in new ways to increase the value proposition throughout the product lifecycle.

One of the pillars of this transformation is its renewed focus on human-centered innovation vs pure technology innovation. Eaton is a 100+ year old company with about 100,000 employees in over 75 countries. We have a rich history in technology driven innovation but the gap between Eaton’s offerings and the competition is becoming narrow. We recognize that in order to remain competitive, we must focus on human-centered innovation and it must be adopted at all levels of the organization, across every function, and every employee.

The Minnetonka School District in partnership with Gopher Sport (Moving Minds):

Minnetonka Middle School's Human Centered Design

What if more companies invested in our youth? What if more schools empowered their students? What if we spent more time getting to know, observe and empathize with our clients? What might the future look like if more schools and companies realize the power of a partnership?

Since 2010, Minnetonka Schools has been a national leader and a model in incubating and accelerating innovative strategies to better meet the needs of students. The Big Hunt for Ideas is a crowd-sourced innovation platform Minnetonka Schools uses to engage front-line staff in the conversation of how we can make education better for students. Instead of the traditional strategic planning process that many school districts use today, Minnetonka Public School District committed in 2 of 6 2011 to using innovation as the new plan to drive ideas and solutions forward for the future.

Human-centered design is at the center of the district’s innovation process and is used to develop staff ideas into integrated programs and solutions. Minnetonka Schools’ partnership with Gopher Sport/Moving Minds began in 2018 when the company toured and observed some of Minnetonka’s elementary school spaces and learned more about its Design for Learning program, which empowers teachers and students to rethink and redesign their learning environments. Through this connection, both Minnetonka Schools and Gopher Sport/Moving Minds saw an opportunity to provide a new level of authentic, real-world learning for student innovators. Minnetonka Schools and Moving Minds had a vision during the 2018-19 academic year to make an impact in an educational environment by utilizing the people who knew it best: the students.

Minnetonka Schools, located in Minnetonka, Minnesota, teamed up with Moving Minds, a K-12 focused furniture company based in Owatonna, Minnesota, to provide middle school students participating in the Student Innovation Program a chance to improve their learning environment as they knew it. Aligning similar missions of providing authentic learning opportunities for students, it was a chance for these corporate and educational entities to share in solving problems together, with a focus on student development and learning. Together, they solved problems identified by students, using a radically collaborative approach. And, while the ultimate goal was to produce a new product, it quickly became apparent that this design challenge was more than just that.

This experience and partnership helped both organizations see the power of student voice, embrace the culture of today’s classroom, and authentically understand the needs of today’s 21st Century student. What is also striking about this partnership is how Moving Minds added a new level of authenticity and real-world learning to the student innovation program, enhancing the experience for participating students. The dedication of the Moving Minds staff, attending student innovation team meetings at two different middle schools on a monthly basis throughout the 2018- 19 school year, sharing resources and serving as mentors, enabled incredible student growth and development.

Pitney Bowes: Making Client Experience Everyone's Job

Pitney Bowes is a global technology company that provides innovative products and solutions to power commerce. The company’s two business units (Sending Technology Solutions and Global Ecommerce) support over a million businesses, including 90% of the Fortune 500, with products and services in ecommerce, shipping and mailing. In 2017 the company launched a companywide Client Experience (CX) initiative as the first step in a multiyear plan to deliver best-in-class experiences for our clients. Central to the initiative’s strategy was a shift to a more client-centric culture. To enable this shift to happen, the company started its Client-Centered Innovation Program in late 2018. It was created to bring a design thinking mindset and common set of client-centric practices to everyone in the company through varying levels of training and certification.

Even at barely a year in, the program’s impact has been transformative for employees, for clients and for the business. Increases in NPS and NSAT scores demonstrate the program’s value. In our 2019 Employee Engagement Survey of all Pitney Bowes employees, there was a 5% year-over-year gain in the number who agreed with this statement: “In my opinion, Pitney Bowes is focused on clients.” This statement, one of six in the Client Focus category, serves as “credibility indicator” insofar as it indicates that employees perceive the company as prioritizing the client experience, which is an essential step in driving the behaviors needed to support and sustain that focus.

IBM Watson: IBM Watson Discovery's Quest to Democratize AI

In 2019, the IBM product team for Watson Discovery took on a moonshot mission for our users - evolve our broad portfolio to consolidate key functionality into a single product, bring in net-new AI capabilities and, most importantly, revamp the user experience for an everyday business user rather than a technical expert.

We built this award winning product to solve for enterprise search, trend, and relationship discovery in vast amounts of business data. Like most AI tools, Watson Discovery was originally designed and built for an advanced technical user. To scale AI for the enterprise, the Watson Discovery product team had to shift our mindset to focus on AI for business users - we had to tap into how these users think of AI and how they measure the success of AI.

In short, we had to change our entire culture as a product team.

American Dental Association: Using Design Thinking to Foster Collaboration and Positive Results

For decades, the American Dental Association has been the leading advocate for oral health and a premier membership organization for dental professionals. In 2015, in the face of changing member needs, the ADA's Integrated Marketing and Communications (IMC) team used Design Thinking to reignite member engagement and create an internal culture that fostered collaboration for positive results.

The Design Thinking approach created a road map for putting the member at the center of the ADA's work. By understanding dentists' motivations and unmet needs, the IMC team was able to take a member-focused approach to the ADA's creative campaigns and product offerings. The team was also reconfigured to put the right people in the right roles, employing the diverse experience and skill sets each individual brought to the table.

The cultural outcome of the ADA’s “design doing” was immediately palpable within the work style of the IMC team. Projects and processes that were once siloed have given way to the open dialogue, ideation, and creative agility necessary to leverage the design thinking successfully.

Resultant marketing campaigns have put the "me" in membership and centralized the dentist's voice. The "Choose ADA" campaign emphasized that the ADA would be a steady source of support as dentists chose their paths.

While the ADA is still very much in the middle of its Design Thinking story, the first several chapters—of which cultural transformation is a major highlight—have resulted in marked increase in first-time membership, online engagement, and the use of relevant ADA member benefits.