• The Rolling Circle

How can Design Thinking help to shape the future of work?

If you understand the system you can design appropriate action.

- Edward de Bono

The world is changing at a tremendous pace. With the added uncertainty of a global pandemic, crumbling economies and border tensions, the future has never been less predictable, particularly for businesses that are so exposed to outside influence. But challenges and opportunities are two faces of the same coin. Posed with the present challenges we face today, we just need to flip the coin to find our opportunities. With advancements in design, technology and even ‘wizard like’ artificial intelligence (AI), the workplace of the future looks to be all set for disruption from within.

So how do organizations defend themselves against these outside sociopolitical, economic and sometimes geographical challenges with elapse of time? How can workplaces remain dynamic in the face of a world battling for transparency and simplification of processes? How will workers fare as AI and machine learning become more and more sophisticated? And, above all – the burning question – can organizations stay ahead of competitors even without innovation?

Design can be in a Company’s DNA

As a concept, design thinking is very much a part of your business process. Some of you may even be using it within your business proposition.

An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.

Design Doing and Design Culture are essential for the perfect exploitation of ‘design thinking’.

The Rule of Three, which combines design thinking, design doing and design culture, has the potential to really maximize the value of design in business.

Let's break down these steps.

Design thinking is when a group of innovative designers get together to solve an issue within an organization.

Getting into the next step, design doing is about taking this solution-focused design thinking and collaborating with different stakeholders to actually create new services.

That leads to the third, final, and probably the most important, part of the design triangle: design culture. To genuinely embed design culture within an organization, you need to engage the hearts and minds of the back office, too. The designers are already convinced about the effectiveness of design thinking – HR, legal, accounting and other departments are to be taken into confidence. Without their conviction, your organization will not shift away from a sterile, conventional office environment, and design thinking will not be put into effect. But, when design becomes part of a company culture, an organization can incentivize and innovate from all departments.

Companies need to stop limiting design culture solely for the tech world. Good design can transcend the overall business world, and must be taken seriously rather than just as a passing fad.

Add human traits in your business

With the power of digital and technology, customers’ opinions are gradually being valued as the basis of orientation of any business. This development is linked to the consumer expectations in a changing ecosystem. But for adopting a customer-centric approach to business, organizations need to be capable of changing rapidly in response to the shifting business landscape – they need to evolve into a ‘living business’.

A living business is one that resembles human characteristics and is therefore responsive, emotive and ambitious. A living business needs to have the capacity to shift its weight when the ground moves beneath it. This can be achieved only when imbibing a design approach and mindset that is both flexible and innovative to a company’s culture, putting employees and digital at the heart of everything you do. To find out the point of initiation of transforming your organization into a living business involves figuring out the heart of the problem, and realizing the necessity to be ready to comply to a changing business ecosystem.

You need to check the traits of – personality, instinct, craft and relationships – and consider your organization as a living organism. If your company possesses personality, instinct, and the ability to develop relationships and hone in on craft, then you have a better chance to identify and connect with your audience, be they external or internal.

A living business will manage to deliver an exceptional employee experience, by improving the way people work and giving them the perfect tools, support and freedom to excel. It puts people at the heart of everything it does, and incorporates a culture that encourages innovation at every level from the top down and bottom up. Above everything, it will design with society in mind.

Will a bot take over my job?

AI and chatbots have certainly occupied the center of media attention over the last few years. We’ve experienced the emergence of mainstream messaging apps – such as Slack – and other online bots, which have raised questions in people’s mind whether this form of AI will insecure the future human workforce and disrupt the job market.

The reality is that while AI has evolved, chatbots are yet to deliver a true human-to-human experience. Contemporary bots are fairly simplistic in their delivery – they can only sort through data and learn how to make better decisions, interpreting and responding to an intended task. But this is going to change and AI will accelerate. Especially when it becomes an established part of an organization’s design thinking, doing and culture.

This will lead to a growing need for machine learning capabilities to become more emotionally intelligent, paving the way for the evolution of the next generation of digital services. This does not necessarily lead to fewer jobs for human beings, but it will certainly open up new employment opportunities as organizations start to hire a new breed of AI designers and developers to deliver better customer experience.

Businesses of the future face a new set of challenges, like ever-shifting consumer expectations, disruption from unprecedented quarters and lightning-speed technological advancements.

For companies in the firing line of all these changes, it’s absolutely essential that they fortify themselves with the necessary tools of a living business to survive: design and digital innovation. But, for a living business to grow, it must be supported by a robust design culture, and for machine learning to become emotionally intelligent, it will depend on a company with personality and instinct. All of these factors are, without a doubt, intrinsically linked.

To discuss how to imbibe a culture of Design Thinking into your marketing communication strategy, sign up for a free consulting session with us.

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