Design Thinking as a Catalyst for Design Transformation

By: Marisa White

It’s 2019 and we are seeing many resolutions, trends, and initiatives coming to fruition to take off the year. In looking into one of my key areas of interest, I’ve found myself interested and exploring the idea of design transformation.

Three years ago when we launched our Design Thinking 2019 program, some executives I spoke with did not even know what design thinking meant. There is a transformation of knowledge today—whether that means they know what to do with the process or idea, that’s another story.

However, the conversations years ago provided many different use cases of design thinking. While there was always an element of cultural transformation, still, there was a focus on design thinking as a tool for actual design. While the process formed from design expertise, the emerging use case and true impact from organizations implementing design thinking successfully over a period of time is far larger than a singular project or product. There is a transformation of culture, people, process, and way of business.

The obvious impact revolves around culture. The initial workshop, sprint, or pilot program brings a unity across siloes and departments that, in many organizations, offers incredible insight. From there, levels of engagement transform. efficiencies form, and collaboration continues delivering superior results.

Moving further, organizational structure begins to transform. This idea of formatting organizational structure via experience over department is most intriguing to me. I find myself hunting for use cases where the department is formulated by, for instance, the “Mobile Experience” and those teams residing under the new Experience Department are inclusive of marketing, product, engineering, design, customer experience, research, etc.

Overall, as the nature of business and customer experience transforms, the true case of design thinking offers a toolset to agile movement and innovation—further transforming the way we work and do business.