“We have been undergoing a complete transformation into a design-like culture.”
Lorna Feeney, Co-Chief Creative Officer at IBM Interactive Experience
IBM made Design Thinking central to its culture in 2013. Since then IBM has assembled more than 1,600 formally trained designers globally. They claim this is the largest corporate design team in the world. Additionally, the company has trained over 110,000 other employees in the basic concepts of Design Thinking.
In 2018, Forrester Research reported that IBM’s project teams doubled design and execution speed as a result.
Design Thinking for alignment
Design Thinking engages the user community in the co-creation of products and services that are constantly being refined rather than being honed to perfection behind the scenes – only to find that the original definition of perfect is wrong or applicable only in the past.
This alignment requires deep empathy with the user community, listening to and observing them to identify the tough problems and new opportunities.
Design Thinking for speed
In order to get useful feedback from the user community, there must be a willingness to put “beta versions” out quickly and applying outcomes-oriented problem solving to improve the product or service in a way that is meaningful to the users.
Design Thinking for saving money
The Forrester report quotes one financial services executive: “We can spend a quarter of the amount we used to with design thinking to gather and agree on requirements. It saves hundreds of thousands of dollars for every project.”
This reflects Design Thinking’s bias for action over attempting to develop a perfect requirements list.