I grew up like most midwestern kids learning to build and do small projects in the garage with my dad. A few things annoyed me more than hearing “measure twice, cut once” repeated over and over again, I mean I was 8, and I had this! However, it did prevent me from hearing the most annoying phrase, the one time you would screw it up, “I told you so.”
Now fast forward several years and I find myself with a company that says measure three times and cut once or plan 75% of the time and builds 25%. I’ve been fortunate in my career and have been with companies that provide offerings on value instead of being the low-cost leader selling on price. I’ve been instilled with the value of if it’s worth doing it right (I’ll stop with the childhood phrases).
I struggled a bit though. I always want to provide a great experience to my customers and make sure they come back over and over again but this seemed a little much. I would ask every question under the sun, making sure I knew what they were hoping to achieve and go build it to their expectations, and hopefully exceed them. Though there was more to it. We push Design Thinking and refuse to build until we do a session. Design Thinking was created by Stanford d. School and refers to the cognitive, strategic, and practical processes by which design concepts (proposals for new products, buildings, machines, etc.) are developed by designers and/or design teams.
We pushed Design Thinking even though the client knew what they wanted, knew the problem they were solving, and were eager to get something out the door to meet a timeline and start seeing value. Great, let’s build this! We have done this a hundred times we are efficient and great at what we do. Why are we slowing down this process when we have done our due diligence to focus on Design Thinking?
This was until I was at a conference where I heard three Fortune 500 companies discuss how they recently upgraded different portions of their infrastructure. These companies had unlimited resources, brilliant engineers, project managers, architects, and a large staff to implement…I understood their confidence moving forward. I then heard a Program Manager, and two VPs of IT each vent for over an hour on unforeseen issues that wasted millions of dollars, months if not years of time and resources, discuss what not to do and how to not make the same mistakes they did. This happens everywhere…
It was then and there that I realized why we focus on Design Thinking and Advisory. This wasn’t to find additional add-on features or try to upsell. Every time we run a Design Thinking session, we run into processes the client didn’t know were happening, the infrastructure they didn’t know would be a hindrance or potentially could help, and so on. Design Thinking brings everyone to an understanding of what can and could be done to provide not only the best outcome but the best user experience to go along with it. Doing the work upfront and spending the time making sure you have every finite detail accounted for will have you doing more projects, incurring less cost, and increasing productivity. This includes a better experience for your organization and ultimately not having to hear, “I told you so.”
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