Design thinking: How to engage employees and turn challenges into opportunities

Design thinking: How to engage employees and turn challenges into opportunities

With any business growth comes the almost inevitable bottlenecks and pain points inside every department, some larger or more problematic than others. But rather than just ‘getting on with it’ and hoping for the best, the answers to many customer-focused or internal challenges could appear with some clear communication from your employees.

Paul Bird
0 min read
October 15, 2018

The process of Design Thinking is helping businesses everywhere directly approach complex problems or troublesome pain points, for both business and customers. Through employee engagement, you can turn challenges into opportunities with a process that any business can benefit from, regardless of sector.

User-focused thinking

So what is Design Thinking? In simple terms, it’s a collaborative process for creative problem solving. By both identifying and exploring current and potential problems in workplace procedures, you can solve them by changing mindsets, looking at things differently, and finding new ways to move forward.

Understanding your customer or user’s needs, as well as your own, will help you discover processes that are not only practical and manageable, but, perhaps more importantly, much needed. And these processes can often be implemented without the need for any major investment in web or app tech.

But to get to this point, we encourage clients to work with us in a series of Design Thinking workshops to learn how to problem solve collaboratively, and cost-effectively.

A positive impact for change

When you’re looking into information on company pain points, no one can give you better insight than the employees or managers that deal with them every day. But when issues are raised, they’re often in danger of being swept aside and overtaken by weightier issues on the upper management agenda.

This is why our Design Thinking workshops are ideally made up of key stakeholders, with directors, managers, or a group of upper management staff who might not necessarily get the chance to meet very often, if at all, during the working week to discuss frontline issues.

Calling together the key people in any one business means we can help educate them in how to engage their employees across different departments to pinpoint specific areas, tasks, or pain points that are perceived to be causing problems in some way, which collectively will be affecting your bottom line.

By enabling teams and employees at every level to collaborate and brainstorm together, and giving them the opportunity to have their say and offer their opinions, their valuable input can make a positive impact for change in your organisation.

How Design Thinking can help your business

Embracing the concept of Design Thinking can really open minds to new ways of problem solving while lessening the risk commonly associated with launching new ideas or systems. It also helps generate fresh ideas that are innovative and sustainable in the long term, rather than quick fixes. And with employees involved from the outset, any new processes are learnt that much faster.

By first looking into who the primary stakeholders are, for example it might be the customer or end user, frontline employees, managers - people who are directly affected, together with the stakeholding groups - such as specific sectors and services provided, it lets you see the overall relationship and how everyone is involved and affected.

Introducing the other three essential elements to Design Thinking into each workshop will also give the opportunity to look at things from the other side of the fence. Empathy mapping - map out thoughts, feelings, and opinions of stakeholders within the customer journey. This puts everyone at the workshop in the shoes of the end user and helps pinpoint any pains and gains.

This naturally leads to the free flowing generation of ideas and suggestions on how to overcome these pain points and what staff need to help them achieve the goal. When ideas are generated based on the needs, exploring and experimenting with each one will help narrow them down until you find the best path forward for you.

Your new priorities or processes may seem simple or even obvious in the end, but it’s the methods of Design Thinking that will have led you there. While it may seem second nature for top bosses to make investments in tech to overcome existing issues, these workshops will uncover better processes to produce more efficient outcomes.

Done well, the Design Thinking process will help capture the mindsets and needs of the people you’re serving, and will let you better understand the opportunities that are based on them.

Get in touch

Do you think a Design Thinking workshop could help your business overcome certain challenges? Or maybe you’re looking to run an ideas lab within your organisation?

We’d be happy to help you uncover the opportunities. Discover more about our Design Thinking workshops by getting in touch.

And you can also read about our exciting new appointment of Rob Breeds, Head of User Experience - an expert in Design Thinking!

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