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How does design thinking & change management go hand in hand?

, September 21, 2022, 0 Comments

From disruptive technologies to organisational transformations, change is constant. Change management professionals have to juggle these things: change, how to keep the change in mind and people at heart to devise solutions. Adding the soul to the solutions with an open minded approach and heart is the key, we need the support of design thinking along with the methodologies and frameworks of change management.

design-thinking-change-management-marketexpress-inWhy Design Thinking? Before answering that, I would like to answer ‘what’ in design thinking helps in change management. The iterative, human-centric approach with empathy of design thinking becomes the essence of deriving change management solutions.

Change Management alone is more about executing the tasks whereas Design Thinking helps exploring the current state of any organisation empathetically.

To simplify, below are some mindset shifts that help us execute a people-centric change:

a) Analytics to Diagnostics:

Change management steps in to solve challenges faced in the current state whereas Design Thinking is required to identify the challenge.

If we start the “As Is” assessment of a change requirement with design thinking methodology, we might arrive at challenges that we didn’t know were one! Many-a-times change interventions fail, not because the concept, framework or execution is wrong – most of the times it is because the change solution devised was not tailored for the target audience.
Change consultants do a persona-based change but that again is an execution. By starting the current state assessment with design thinking methodology, we take a step back and try to find out what isn’t working, whom to reach out to, who will be impacted, are all the leaders see the problem stated as a problem? Is everyone on board to work towards a common solution? Moving from ‘what we usually do in this situation’ approach to ‘what is suitable for your situation’ is the mindset shift that the combination of design and change bring to the table.

b) Organisation to Employees:
In any project, we start with understanding the organisation, its business, its competitors, and challenges. Yes, we do investigate the softer aspects like how they communicate in the organisation, the culture but let us be honest here, we do not do (do not have the time to do) a culture assessment to understand the people of the organisation every time. Design Thinking’s iterative process starts with empathy. This brings a mindset shift from organisation to people by design.

c) Precision to diversity of thoughts

Change management framework (and experience) helps us understand where the problem is and gives us one or a set of probable solutions. Design thinking’s iterative approach is like a mini-agile cycle to ask repetitive questions, draw inferences and work beyond the scaled solutions to arrive at different ideas.

Take Nike as an example; they moved from instructional designers to experience designers using the fundamentals of design thinking – result? They come up with several prototypes to design a particular product which when hits the market yields nothing but success to the athletic goods juggernaut.

With the ever-changing world digital is the answer to many organisations. Implementing digital is not about technology, it is always about people. Unless the (Target group) people embrace in a positive way it will have no impact. The next big thing in Change is not adoption but an incremental progress focussed on various milestones and with an eye on the larger goals of the change.

To make the change efforts work and embed the changes in each process of the system, design thinking methodology comes very handy and helps achieve various goals during each of its mini-agile cycles .