Effective Remote Design Thinking: A Basic Essential For Global Companies To Develop Innovative Solutions
Effective Remote Design Thinking
At present, the state-of-the-art supplies for conducting a face-to-face design thinking workshop typically consists of self-stick notes and stickers, markers, and whiteboards. However, this analog way of working is incongruent with the realities of global software companies, where most products and services are developed by distributed teams.
This paper explores the process of facilitating remote design thinking workshops, using information technology and communication tools. The paper is based on a participatory action research undertaken by the author as a part of the doctoral thesis – ‘an approach to prepare the organization mindset to build design-led innovation culture to become a customer-centric and future driven software company’ in the Indian IT sector.
The participating company realized the innovation breakthroughs using design thinking can happen only when their organization can collaborate across disciplines, silos, time zones; and were looking for a solution to scale design thinking in their organisation.
Motivation for research
An Indian software company (the participating organization, henceforth referred to as TechCo) was undergoing a major shift and trying to embrace DT across its organisation. While the leadership team and other participants realized the benefits of DT, few points started emerging as barriers to scale DT across its globally distributed offices.
- Firstly, the finance team was on a spree to cut down on real estate costs and operational expenses. As DT demands a dedicated space for the team to work; they made it clear that they could not allocate dedicated rooms throughout the project.
- Secondly, as DT is an iterative process, the participants often realized the need to refer the artifacts they had developed along the way. With no dedicated rooms, carting the artifacts and sticking them on different walls every other day was painful. Few participants were suffering from workshop amnesia, while they waited for transcription and actionable items. They also found transcribing information from sticky notes time-consuming and making sense of the photos of whiteboards was reducing their overall productivity.
- Thirdly, the concern of the project management leadership was, how to effectively conduct DT workshops with a globally dispersed software development team, with a few working from home and co-sharing workspace without increasing the overheads of coordinating schedules, travel and entertainment expense, and overcoming the barriers to information sharing among the virtual teams.
- The fourth was a wish list, by the Managing Director. As the TechCo was playing the role of digital transformation catalysts for their customers, they should start conceiving of work in such a way that it is digital from the outset. It is about quickly developing the new skills, to translate the opportunities the customers have sensed into innovative human-centric products, services, and operating models, and helping them to enter new markets.
KEYWORDS: Collaboration, Digital Design Thinking, Distributed Teams, Innovation, Remote Design Thinking, Scale Design Thinking
This was posted in Associated Asia Resarch Foundation – International Research Journal of Marketing and Economics ISSN: (2349-0314), Volume 5, Issue 7, July 2018