Design Thinking. Powered up

Explore Assurity 11 April 2017 Simon Holbrook

Our new Auckland Design Thinking practice aims to help clients get a better understanding of their customers and design the products and services their customers want.

The practice fits perfectly with Assurity’s experience in technology delivery. By joining up Design Thinking with Agile and other software delivery practices, we can help ensure that what’s imagined, invented and ideated in the Design Thinking process actually gets delivered into customers’ hands.

Our Design Thinking consultants, Simon Holbrook, Olivia Wilson and Sanjiv Menon, are among New Zealand’s most experienced. They’ve worked together on large-scale Design Thinking projects with some of the nation’s smartest and most forward-thinking organisations. The move to Assurity opens up new opportunities for realising the value that Design Thinking can bring. Simon explains:

“Our customers are coming to us looking for unique combinations of Agile and Design Thinking. Linking Product Owners with Scrum Masters created a conduit for delivering value faster and with greater certainty. Joining Assurity has allowed us to power up Design Thinking; we make it more effective and allow the enterprise to see that value is delivered.”

Connecting thinking and delivery

Creating valuable customer utility at pace is the goal of Design Thinking. But too often there’s a disconnect at enterprise level between Thinking and Delivery. We bridge that gap by creating seamless design learning cycles involving the stakeholders that matter and using Agile practices to facilitate progress down the value stream. When that happens, Design Thinking is much more likely to become naturally ‘embedded’ in the organisation, rather than a standalone procedure. We believe Design Thinking should become business as usual.”

The team is already putting their ideas into practice with financial, communications and local authority clients across Auckland. “We’ve had a really good start” says Simon. “It’s great to see that large organisations are embracing Design Thinking as a way to address the gap between what people want and what the business gives them. I’m really excited about building the practice – and we’ll be looking for new talent very soon.”

Design Thinking Livestream Facebook event 

Simon and Olivia will be hosting a live ‘How can Design Thinking help you?’ Q&A session on Assurity Consulting's Facebook page on 21 April at 12 midday. You can submit your questions before the event via this link. We’ll aim to answer as many as possible in the 20-minute Livestream. Please 'like' Assurity Consulting's Facebook page for all the latest event notifications. If you’re looking for some inspiration about what to ask, here’s a primer…

Design Thinking explainer

What’s the big objective?

Everything starts with your customer. How well do you know your customer? What’s the difference between what you give your customer and what your customers want? After going through a Design Thinking process, you’ll have some of the answers.

What’s a typical Design Thinking process?

The key steps are:

  • Discover people’s needs
  • Define the right problem
  • Generate ideas
  • Build to think 
  • Test to learn

Design Thinking practitioners take stakeholders through these stages using facilitated workshops and mentoring that allow people from across the business, as well as customers, to share, collaborate, ideate and critique openly.

What’s different about the Design Thinking process?

Design Thinking is ‘designing from the outside in’. Traditional business and product development occurs at the intersection of what’s ‘technically feasible’ for a business to produce and what it can viably invest in. That’s ‘inside-out’. Design Thinking starts from the outside – with the customer. By understanding their needs, you can frame them into actionable opportunities for your business. You can isolate and focus on what really counts.

What are typical outcomes of the process?

The Design Thinking process accelerates and de-risks business opportunities. Through rapid prototyping, you’ll fail fast, fail early and fail often. That helps you learn lots by exploring organisational assumptions and validating strategies directly with customers before you invest large resources. 

How is Design Thinking capability built in the organisation?

Learning by doing and experiencing Design Thinking on smaller scale challenges increases your confidence and allows you to master tools and processes. You can then apply these on more complex challenges and begin to self-lead aspects of each learning cycle. The more experience you gain, the faster you can identify and tackle the big organisational opportunities. The idea is that, over time and with the best support from external mentors, you use Design Thinking as a totally normal, embedded practice. When it feels like it’s BAU, it’s a fantastic achievement. And your business will be super-powered.