A Day in the Life: The Design Thinker Executive

A Day in the Life: The Design Thinker Executive

This blog post highlights a case study of one of The Berkeley Innovation Group’s clients. Identifying information about individuals and companies have been altered for confidentiality purposes.

“We are not capturing the data streams our service generates, and we have no internal data analysis capabilities,” thundered the CEO. Seated across the conference table is Mei-ling, the fifty-something vice president of the company’s most profitable division. He continued, “in the past, you have expressed interest in data, so I want you to lead the data and analytics subcommittee in our next long-term planning effort.” She swallowed hard to mask the shot of anxiety she felt.

How can design thinking stop chronic homelessness?

How can design thinking stop chronic homelessness?

Homelessness challenges the “human-centered design” ethos of design thinking. To the casual observer, the unsheltered individual is the nucleus of the discussion and providing shelter is the first step to breaking the cycle of chronic homelessness. In reality, the mere definition of chronic homelessness is up for debate. 

How to predict the future with design thinking

How to predict the future with design thinking

“We have manufacturing lines older than most of our employees, how can we be innovative?” bemoaned an executive of a global aerosol packing company during a recent design thinking workshop. 

Experimentation: low-risk, high-reward value creation

This is the final post in our Design Thinking series. If you'd like, start with the big picture and delve into DiscoveryInsights, and Ideation before diving in on Experimentation. 

The Design Thinking process has led us from identification of fresh perspectives on what customers need to unique ideas about how to meet those needs in groundbreaking new ways. The experimentation phase consolidates this research and thinking into actionable, testable ideas. In experimentation, we discover the value that our ideas hold for the customer or consumer. 

At the final stage, Experimentation, you have the ability to test Ideas in a low-cost, low-risk, high-reward format through market research (via survey or observation), minimum viable products (MVPs), and prototypes. This stage de-risks the opportunities identified in earlier phases by gauging their value without requiring huge investments of time or resources. 

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The beauty of Experimentation is avoiding investments in costly solutions that don’t solve business needs and fall flat upon launch. Our teams begin with a $100 budget and a compressed schedule of weeks, not months. These constraints keep participants in an iterative mindset and allow them to fail, or succeed, quickly.

Experimenting with some of our ideas for Toyota related to mobility services could start as soon as this year, allowing them to learn long before wide-scale adoption in mid-2020s.

For example, our “How might we reduce range anxiety with consumers before launching electric vehicle-based mobility services?” could lead us to the idea of creating a shared program for “exchanging” internal combustion cars to gain mobility credits to test the service. We have already completed the market research related to this topic, so the next step is designing an $100 experiment.

Let's get existing Toyota customers to accept complimentary Uber or Lyft rides to and from work for three days. Did they arrive on time, miss meetings, or gain in productivity? Did their stress increase or decrease?

While experimentation is the "final" stage of Design Thinking, it's actually a gateway back into other phases of our process. If an experiment doesn't resonate with customers on the first try, their feedback is a launchpad back into a more-refined discovery phase. 

From discovery through experimentation, the Design Thinking process has provided not only new ideas, but a closer connection with the customer. This connection provides insight that can be disseminated throughout the organization, providing opportunities large and small for value-creation. 

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At The Berkeley Innovation Group, we are co-creators, working shoulder-to-shoulder with your team on immersive design thinking projects to solve core business challenges. Moreover, individuals are empowered with enhanced skills and a common language to continue using design thinking methodologies to unlock innovation and value for the long run.

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