Defining the Route with SAP as Co-Driver
The challenge was to create a new mindset for innovation using Design Thinking as basis for cultural change at Daimler.
Personality, motivation and diversity were all key aspects to becoming one of the first Design Thinking coaches at Daimler. When the team met for the first time with SAP’s Chief Design Officer Sam Yen in Stuttgart, Germany, back in June 2016, he made everyone aware about the potential difficulties and challenges of this cultural change – a key impulse to get this change visibly started.
When I met their project lead and their team of ambassadors, I could really feel the enthusiasm for Design Thinking - not only as a need-to-have, but to become a new mindset and key to change their culture.– Sam Yen (Chief Design Officer, SAP)
The Course to Innovation: People + Projects + Space
The goal to integrate Design Thinking into a company’s organization not only supports the overall idea of innovation, but is targeted on a more concrete level: the streamlining of processes within the business. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to establish a mindset focusing on human needs, which embraces creativity and agility, and fosters collaboration across organizational boundaries.
The very first design challenge at Daimler was to define the way forward and the overall goal for the cooperation: “How can we realize customer-oriented, creative ideas and projects in a faster, more flexible manner, and how can we implement this with Design Thinking at Daimler?” After outlining this clearly defined strategy, three dimensions were planned in more detail, and executed together with team members of SAP’s AppHaus.
Watch the project video!
1. Putting Newly Selected Coaches in the Driving Seat
During the enablement process, 13 junior coaches completed 18 days of training units organized by experienced Design Thinking coaches from SAP. The junior coaches were introduced to the methodology to gain practical experience – all evaluated by receiving feedback from the SAP side (watch the video to get live impressions and onsite reactions from the customer).
2. Taking Driving Lessons in Real Projects
To put theory into practice, the coaches applied Design Thinking in real use cases. With challenges and teams from different product groups, business units and IT, the freshly trained coaches conducted their first workshops. This did not only provide them with the opportunity to gain coaching practice, but it also served to highlight the impact and value of Design Thinking in projects.
3. Pit-stop Making Design Thinking Visible
The construction of a creative space in the center of the headquarter campus made the new mindset both visible and tangible. A container space was designed and constructed by reusing containers from the Deutsche Tourenwagen-Masters (DTM) and to run some of the sessions. The flexible furniture especially crafted for the Design Thinking space and the different environment helped to foster creativity, and new solutions, as well as overall awareness at the company campus.
Remarkably, all slots for this part of the sessions were fully booked before the container had even been set up.
Matthias Langholz, Senior Strategic Design Consultant at SAP added: “As a designer, my mission has always been to design to allow change. Working with Daimler has elevated my mission to help people change their mindset and drive cultural transformation. I am enthusiastic to see how the work of the Design Thinking team is shaping the company’s future.”
Daimler’s Design Thinking journey started back in July 2016, and by the end of the year it had become a real movement called “STELLA. staging creativity.” STELLA represents a new mindset, and embodies the muse behind “discovering something new in the things we seem to know” – combined with an invitation for everyone to follow.
The Design Thinking Journey Continues
The mission to scale Design Thinking and implement it across the entire organization will be the responsibility of a new central Design Thinking team. This team shall act as a bridge to overcome silos, and make the new way of approaching projects sustainable.
This is also a new way of working for SAP. Edda Mann, Design Thinking Expert at SAP, said: “Recently, we have not only enabled our customers by introducing them to Design Thinking and Design Doing, but we have also helped them to initiate a cultural change. This made us really proud.”