Using Design Thinking for creating culture change in organizations

Many people think Design Thinking is a new concept but it has existed and been implemented in creating many effective human-centred solutions. Be it building bridges, making automobiles, or subway systems. The origins of Design Thinking are linked to creating innovative solutions and generating ideas for new products/services. Despite the early usage of Design Thinking for businesses in creating human-centric products, most organizations still use Design Thinking as an afterthought. Another misconception about Design Thinking is that it can only be applied to product/service companies. Well, the truth is – it doesn’t really matter what sector the organization operates in, what actually matters is the problem you want to solve.

Design Thinking is highly apt to solve what we call ‘messy’ or ‘wicked’ problems. ‘Messy’ or ‘wicked’ problems are those which cannot be defined easily, have no obvious solutions, and are dependent on multiple variables, people, or processes. Most fast-paced organizations of today find these messy problems related to people, processes, or organizational culture mostly because of the complexity of today’s workplaces and the sheer necessity and dynamic nature of teams. In such a scenario, Design Thinking is becoming increasingly popular as a tool as well as a mindset for organizations to solve and stay relevant in a world that’s becoming as uncertain as it is complex. Let’s delve deeper to find how Design Thinking can be used to bring organizational culture change.

Brings all perspectives to the table:

Design Thinking teams are usually highly diverse to bring as many different perspectives possible to the discussion. Each team will consist of people from various functions, roles, and levels thereby managing to cover all perspectives. As everyone starts wearing the user hat rather than their actual role, it really puts the user in the centre, identify, and help define problems better. It’s also much effective than the traditional round-table approach.

Teaches to empathize better:

A crucial phase in the Design Thinking process is Empathy. All those who are involved learn to empathise with the user, thereby be able to invest their wits to solve the problem. They start caring about the issue and that’s when the most creative ideas start pouring in. Usually, in most Design Thinking Workshops FIIB organizes, through various exercises, the participants in each team go through a sprint getting to know each other and look at a certain problem through each other’s eyes. Design Thinking can be used to not just solve a particular culture-related issue but also be a pivotal point in transforming the culture itself into more open and understanding.