Overcoming the traditional mindsets that limit the technology landscape requires a refocus on human needs and empathetic design. With learnings from different cultures, the expertise of working within varied environments and the proven results that such creativity delivers, design-led approaches and frameworks are transforming how organizations tackle legacy challenges.
15 August 2022 • 4 min read
A design-led approach is one that can redefine ecosystem planning and decision-making, helping organizations to achieve lofty goals around digitalization and transformation. This is a view echoed by Forrester in the Design for Confidence in Digital Experiences report that unpacked the importance of simple digital experiences for customers, and the value of design thinking throughout the development value chain with research undertaken by the University of Sydney.
These are just some of the factors currently driving the popularity of design thinking. Companies are increasingly willing to explore its potential and how it can help them to engage with new global markets and harness the creative and expert potential of developers that have operated in a global capacity. However, they need to overcome one key challenge – the traditional mindset that tends to walk hand-in-hand with development and management methodologies.
By showcasing the benefits of design thinking and providing clear steps on how to overcome the challenges that come with such a mindset change, designers can be powerful ambassadors for change.
This is where designers need to step into the conversation, bringing with them the lessons learned from different cultures, the expertise of working within varied environments and the proven results that such creativity delivers. It is the designer’s responsibility to inspire experimental approaches – by showcasing the benefits of design thinking and providing clear steps on how to overcome the challenges that come with such a mindset change, designers can be powerful ambassadors for change.
One of the first steps that needs to be taken is to accept that shifts in mindset and approach are not quick or simple. They require foresight, patience and a healthy respect for the organization’s need to evolve at the pace that fits. Change, regardless of how beneficial, doesn’t happen overnight and some environments are more agile than others.
This agility can be influenced by multiple factors: culture, legacy processes, limited operations functionality, and caution at a time of uncertainty. This doesn’t mean that the company can’t adopt a new mindset, only that these different dynamics have to be addressed properly – in a way that ensures every individual, silo and part of the company has the right tools at their disposal.
The question shouldn’t be how to remove these differences, but rather how they can influence each phase of development and how designers can adapt their activities and tools to fit within a new culture. This can be looked at from a cultural level in a country – the physical affection of those who live in Italy could be perceived as an invasion of personal space to those who come from other countries, for example – and within the business, building social networks that allow for true connection and interaction. By respecting these differences, designers can open up new pathways to engagement that can take the challenges that may have inhibited design-led approaches and transform them into opportunities.
When undertaking collaborative work, it’s not always easy to hear every individual’s opinion, especially if the organization’s structure is hierarchical. This makes it crucial to think of alternative ways of gathering feedback from different people at different levels within the company. Their insights and creative thinking processes could be invaluable, but they may be withholding them for fear of crossing a boundary or overstepping their roles.
There are multiple methods that can support this step, but anything from written to anonymised feedback platforms can help build connections and establish more transparent and engaged communication. As research has found, feedback is both an art and a science, making it something that leadership can learn to master to engage more effectively with people and to build stronger workplace relationships.
If you allow for trust to be brokered between different teams and people by facilitating clear communication and feedback, then the doors are opened for better collaboration and freedom of discussion.
If a person comes from a place where they think their opinion or way of operating is superior to other people, it’s going to cause conflict. However, if you allow for trust to be brokered between different teams and people by facilitating clear communication and feedback, then the doors are opened for better collaboration and freedom of discussion.
Not all cultures have the same levels of openness or approaches to problem resolution. This can impact trust, collaboration and connections. If participants feel afraid of making mistakes or being judged by others, asking subjective questions or opinions can relieve the tension and encourage people to speak up. It can also allow for people to engage on levels that sit outside traditional business conversations and expectations, which breaks down barriers and encourages connections.
This is a sentiment reinforced by the PwC Global Culture Survey 2021, which found that there’s a direct link between culture and competitive advantage, and that building on different cultures to create a cohesive organizational culture can have a powerful positive influence on talent retention and engagement.
People are the fuel of the business: the creative minds, the inspired ideas. It’s their engagement with the company that will see it shift from legacy mindsets towards more open, engaged and collaborative experiences.
People are the fuel of the business: the creative minds, the inspired ideas. They are the link to design-led approaches throughout the organization. It’s their engagement with the company that will see it shift from legacy mindsets towards more open, engaged and collaborative experiences. And the foundation for this shift is trust. Focus on building this trust by allowing for people to communicate freely and giving them the platforms and spaces they need to thrive.
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