Our Mindset Design Team recently wrapped up a 2-part Design Thinking Engagement with one of our newest clients; a Fortune 50 CPG company. The second part of the engagement was noteworthy because it had key dynamics that made it possible to execute in a more accelerated, lean way. Moreso than the first—accelerated in the sense of time and process, while not sacrificing any of the essential work needed to deliver an exceptional Design Thinking Engagement.
First, our stakeholder group was small. This made it much easier to get our collaborative workshops on the calendar in short order. In many Design Thinking Engagements, scheduling workshops involving multiple stakeholders is difficult and causes the timeline to be pushed out. Scheduling the various meetings of our engagement was seamless. This is primarily due to having a smaller group to work with for the second engagement.
Additionally, our stakeholders had a greater familiarity with the different portions of our Design Thinking process, from scoping, to research, to sketching possible solutions. This familiarity, coupled with the success of our first initiative, resulted in greater buy-in and trust in our Design Thinking process. With greater familiarity and buy-in, as well as a much smaller group of stakeholders, the path was clear for more rapid, end-to-end delivery.
The results were tremendous. In just over a week we completed the entire process – scoping through discovery, framing, and prototype usability testing in advance of Agile development. The SUS score for the tested prototype was 95%, which is in the highest tier of possible scores. Customer satisfaction and enthusiasm were also very high. One of our users said of our prototype, “if we could have something like this, it would go to the top of my favorites list!” Beyond the quantifiables, it was an enjoyable experience for both, our Design Team as well as the client team.
This might seem like an outlier and difficult to achieve on a regular basis. There are three key lessons that can be applied to future Design Thinking Engagements;
1. Leaner Could Be Better
Often our clients are eager to involve a large group of stakeholders in our Design Thinking Engagements. They are excited to learn about the process as it is typically new to them. While we appreciate this enthusiasm, the downside is that calendar coordination alone presents an administrative challenge. In many cases, working in smaller, focused groups of stakeholders may result in the more rapid execution experience that we enjoyed with our client in this instance.
2. Similar Problems Can Lead To Similar Solutions
While we never want to start solutioning before first thoroughly exploring the problem and desired business outcomes, there’s an efficiency in working in the same or similar problem space. Familiarity by the design team and familiarity by the stakeholders with the Design Thinking process means that we can call upon solutions that have been solved for similar problems once the scope of the problem is clear. What we’re not suggesting is to jump to solutions too early in the process and shortchange the essential work of Design Thinking. We can utilize existing solutions as a launching point. This launching point can help progress towards a Minimum Viable Product since our clients work in common and tangential industries and lines of business.
3. Trust In The Process
Taking a new client through our Design Thinking Engagements can be challenging, especially in a virtual environment. The lack of social cues such as facial expressions and body language means it’s harder to establish trust and rapport. This is especially true while engaging in design activities. Especially those that are unfamiliar to our clients, such as using ‘Mural’ and sketching on paper. In our accelerated Design Thinking Engagement, our stakeholders were familiar with our process and were eager to repeat it. This resulted in more enthusiasm, attentiveness, and willingness to participate. Doing the hard work of building trust in online engagements has both an immediate and future payoff. It can lead to a long-term relationship with clients and a more enjoyable, seamless experience in engagements.
Accelerated Design Thinking increases the potential for our clients to experience what our client in this instance did. It was a more seamless engagement experience that arrived faster at an MVP. Additionally, it increased their trust in our Design Thinking process.