According to a Forrester report commissioned by IBM, design thinking has doubled project teams’ design and execution speed and more than 80 percent of business leaders using design thinking also reported their teams were more aligned and focused. According to a study by the Design Management Institute, design-centric companies have maintained significant stock market advantage, outperforming the S&P by an extraordinary 211 percent.
3 Ways to Jumpstart Your Digital Workplace With Human-Centered Design
1. Empathize, and listen to the voice of your employee
“Empathy” gets thrown around a lot, but true empathy doesn’t just mean listening. It means hearing someone for the individual they are, gathering insights in doing so, and having a structure and process in place to actually apply those insights.
2. Collaborate, co-create and prototype — continually
Despite the obvious benefits of a digital workplace, many organizations still see it as simply something to get done: The powers that be set aside a budget for a new tech rollout, the IT team takes the lead, and that’s that.
But design thinking isn’t a one-off, top-down process. And success isn’t simply “getting it done.” With the project goals, employee personas, and feedback in hand, the medical association could begin a collaborative, iterative process of redesigning their intranet. They held design sprints with various stakeholders (e.g., members of the marketing, design, and product teams, as well as firm leaders) to sketch out what the experiences might look like for various personas; they then developed an interactive prototype using rapid iteration that could allow employees to provide feedback in real time. Throughout, they nurtured a build-fast, fail-fast environment that let them work out kinks — and connect with a wide range of employees.
3. Collect and incorporate feedback throughout implementation and beyond
Human-centered design does not mean just creating assumptive user personas (i.e., personas that stakeholders devise in a boardroom without undergoing validation research). It also doesn’t mean just collecting feedback from validated personas groups during the upfront design process. A human-centered design approach means remaining committed to gathering and incorporating user feedback throughout the inception and life of the digital workplace. If (and preferably so) a team is engaging in an agile development process, taking a human-centered design approach means that user groups are continuously engaged during the implementation lifecycle.