Empathy, Empathy… through Design Thinking

I believe Design Thinking is very important. This must be true because despite the great weather I took a break from my sabbatical in July 2016 to attend an education event on applying IBM Design Thinking to collaborative services engagements between clients and suppliers.

To mis-quote Shakespeare and the Carry On films I personally think the slogan of Design Thinking should be Empathy, empathy, they’ve all got it empathy…

We’ve all seen great technical solutions which aren’t effective because insufficient consideration was given to how they would be used. The key to Design Thinking is simple – absolute importance on focusing on the people. You have to talk to them, work with them, understand them. Design Thinking and IBM’s own IBM Design Thinking provide a great set of tools, techniques and approaches to do this. Visit the IBM Design Thinking web pages to find out more.

Over the last two years we’ve incorporated increasing focus on IBM Design Thinking in our internal IBM Client Innovation Master Classes. They provide a set of new and indispensable tools to add to the client facing technical professional’s innovation kit bag. Outside IBM, one of the modules I support as part of my Visiting role at the University of Leeds in the Global Innovation Management program also includes focus on Design Thinking.

Back to the class on using IBM Design Thinking for services engagements… Now, you may ask “Design Thinking is great but isn’t it really about driving end user centric design of new products and apps?”. My view is that Design Thinking and IBM Design Thinking in particular can be applied in many many contexts and it is the context which is key.

Sharpie and Post Its

Whether designing a new service, working on a services sales engagement or co-developing with a client how the service will be implemented, run and managed, it should still always be about the people – and using a variety of IBM Design Thinking tools and approaches will ensure what is designed, sold and/or delivered will be what the people (client team, supplier team and most importantly the internal or external users or customers of the service) need, want and value.

Thanks to Danny, Ian, Sarah and Doug for a great class which really highlighted how IBM Design Thinking can be applied in a services context.

Lastly I was still on sabbatical and the weather was great so I did get outside at lunchtime and found a lovely walk very near to IBM Warwick (pictures below).