Defining the Route with SAP as Co-Driver
The challenge, which has triggered this engagement, was to create a new mindset using Design Thinking as basis for culture change at Daimler.
The right people as coaches and multipliers were selected and on-boarded. Personality, motivation and diversity were all key aspects to become part of the first Design Thinking coaches. Their first significant moment was when the team met with SAP’s Chief Design Officer Sam Yen in Stuttgart, Germany, in June 2016, where he presented SAP’s Design Thinking journey, and made everyone aware about the potential difficulties and challenges of this cultural change.
We have integrated Design Thinking into SAP’s DNA over the last decade to change the culture within SAP. Now, we have the great opportunity to share our learnings and best practices with customers who want to establish a design-driven mindset within their company. I am proud that we recently started the Design Thinking enablement program at Daimler and we are happy to accompany them on their journey. When I met the project lead and the 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 the organization not only supports the overall idea of innovation, but is targeted on a more concrete level at streamlining processes within the business. To achieve these goals, 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 was to define the way forward, and the goals 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 Design & Co-Innovation Center:
1. Putting Daimler Coaches in the Driving Seat
During the enablement process, 13 junior coaches completed various training units organized by experienced Design Thinking coaches from SAP to introduce them to the methodology. This helped the junior coaches to gain practical experience, and also evaluate their performance by receiving feedback from SAP’s senior Design Thinking coaches.
We were quite impressed with how well the junior coaches had practiced Design Thinking during the course of the curriculum. This made us really proud.– Edda Mann (Design Thinking Expert, SAP)
2. Taking Driving Lessons in Real Projects
To put the theory into practice, the coaches applied Design Thinking in different real use cases. With challenges and teams from different units, the freshly trained coaches conducted their first Design Thinking workshops, side-by-side with coaches from SAP. 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. Pitstop Making Design Thinking Visible
In addition to the training units for the coaches, and the different approach for project challenges, the construction of a creative space in the center of the headquarter campus made mindset both visible and tangible. To support the new way of working, a temporary container space was designed and constructed which re-used containers normally used for the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM). Thanks to its central location on the campus, the pop-up space created a lot of awareness. The flexible furniture especially crafted for the Design Thinking space and the different environment helped to foster creativity and come up with different solutions.
The space was used to showcase the value of Design Thinking in two diverse formats: Downstairs, interested participants were invited to attend a 90-minute session to introduce them to Design Thinking. Upstairs, employees had the chance to experience Design Thinking up close in 1-2 day workshops. Remarkably, all slots for both sessions were fully booked before the container had even been set up.
Owing to its central position, the container achieved the desired effect, and had a big impact.
The 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”. STELLA provides a stage where creativity and the power of new ideas are able to unfold. And this not only within the temporary container space: with STELLA, Design Thinking has become a movement, and an invitation for everyone to follow.
The Design Thinking Journey at Daimler Continues
This journey has only lasted for half a year, but has already generated a lot of momentum and is just the beginning of a transformation. 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.
SAP is excited to be part of this journey, and is curious to see its impact in upcoming projects across the organization. This is also a new way of working for SAP. Edda Mann (Design Thinking Expert, SAP) says: “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.”
Matthias Langholz (Senior Strategic Design Consultant, SAP) adds: “As a designer, my mission has always been to design to bring about change. Working with Daimler to establish a new innovation culture has elevated my mission to co-create an environment to unleash people’s potential to cause change on their own. I am enthusiastic to see how the work of the Design Thinking team is shaping the company’s future.”