Design Thinking is a term more and more people hear about lately but many perceive it to be confined to “designers”. Well, if you see something you don’t agree with and strive to change it, whether that be a business process or a piece of software, you are a designer too!
As a designer I have been taught that design is all about changing how people behave, re-defining the way they feel towards a space, an object or a service. I have been taught that if I will create a space that was too big, I will make people feel small and uncomfortable, if I want to make one person feel stronger than his opposite I should give him a higher chair to sit in, and if I will give the right amount of information people will know intuitively how to use products with little errors.
By changing reality in various scales I can actually make people feel better (or worst) about themselves, the people around them and the environment they operate in, whether it is physical or digital.
But first, we need to understand people. What they like and don’t like, their challenges and frustrations, their desires and dreams. Understanding the human experience when using a system or trying to perform a task gives us powerful tools to “design” the world around them.
This is exactly what we did together with SAP in our Design Thinking workshop for SAP’s latest product, SAP Fiori, where we met an amazing group of people, SAP partners and clients.
Developing new products and system wasn’t new to the group members which had a great deal of experience with SAP systems and business processes. But looking at their systems from the human Point-Of-View was a true eye opener.
During our 2 days workshop, participants found that a system can make communication between people inside the companies difficult. That people were perplexed when dealing with too much information. That rigorous and repetitive work challenged users during their daily work.
(Participants identifies “gaps” in workflows as a first step in ideation)
Suddenly making a product that people would LIKE to use seemed like a very smart business move. That kind of system would give people exactly what they want, when they want it. It will make their work simpler and more efficient, raising productivity and lower the adoption barriers. And most all, businesses would love us for doing that for them and will be willing to invest more in such products. So we went to work….
The Design Thinking tools allowed us to frame the user’s journeys (their experiences) very fast and identify their challenges and pain points. Mapping the journey clarified how the user’s current action and processes could be simplified and streamlined: Excessive system information got cleaned and restructured, paper documents that were originally put in place to bridge gaps got internalized, communication difficulties between stakeholders were put in order and became part of the workflow.
We weren’t afraid to incorporate end users in the process and co-create new offers together, receiving their opinion and feedback in every turn. When ever further validation was needed, we reached out to remote stakeholders and got their point of view. So our ideas got validated (use and value) by the actual people that are going to use the new products coming out of the workshop.
Even before the end of the first day, the participant knew that they were on the right track, that they had a product that their clients would appreciate. The new offers varied from changing business processes, to altering UI’s, to innovating with completely new interfaces. The common thread to all was, again, products that will change the end user’s experiences for the better.
(Validating the current Customer Journey, its flow, challenges and opportunities, with an end user at the client’s organization)
The second day of the workshop was all about framing our new ideas around the SAP Fiori design paradigm that allowed fast prototyping and app design. Using its clear frameworks and design patterns, participants managed to give shape to their ideas using rough sketches and stencils. The move to Fiori application design soon followed, getting ready for coding (that took place later that week).
For the workshop’s participants, the Design Thinking methodology gave access to a fresh and creative development tool box and mindset. The “process of making complex things look simpler” and “providing clarity into the unknown” as some of them mentioned, enabled them to focus on what is a real game changer in each of their projects.
The workshop allowed each of the groups to take away what mattered it most. Groups that came to the workshop with pre-defined ideas pivoted once they learned more about how people REALY use their systems while others discovered new opportunities.
From the SAP’s and Participants Point-Of-View it was yet another powerful confirmation that Design Thinking is applicable everywhere. That a true effort to understand people and gain a deep empathy with them can result in better products and experiences. We now hope that each of the participant’s “take away” will be the confidence in changing the reality around them and will happily take on the title of “designer”.