The New Year is a time to set goals for yourself, your employees and your business. This year, why not focus on taking a more human-centered approach to the way your business operates?
Study after study shows that design thinking strategies lead to increased revenues and reduced costs, while improving customer satisfaction and employee engagement.
Here are five quick and easy strategies that will get employees excited about human-centered approaches and leave them wanting to learn more.
Invite a favorite customer to talk to your team(s). Ask a customer to attend a company meeting or brainstorming session to talk to your employees about what they do, how they work, how they use your products and what your company could do to make their lives better. Managers can laud the benefits of customer-centricity until they are blue in the face, but having an actual customer do the talking is a much more powerful tool for change.
Celebrate failures. Employees only innovate when they have the freedom to take risks – and they won’t take risks if failure is penalized or discouraged. Human-centered design can help shift this mindset. The method requires the rapid generation of ideas and development of low-fidelity prototypes for testing. Encourage teams to push their imaginations and use customer feedback to improve the next iteration.
Go on a field trip. If you want your people to be customer-centric, they have to get out of the office. Take them to your retail outlet to observe and talk to customers. Host a visit to the warehouse or client site, where employees can see their products and services in action. Afterward, have a quick brainstorming session about what they saw and how it inspired them. Making these site-visits part of the natural workflow will demonstrate to your people that you are invested in being customer-centric, and that it’s not just another buzzword from the management team.
Insist on cross-collaboration. Innovation occurs when project teams include diverse thinkers who approach problems differently. Creative friction drives new insights, uncovers unexpected risks and inspires ideas that better meet customer needs.
Send them to a workshop. Sending teams to a design thinking course, workshop or seminar will give them the tools and language they need to tackle challenges in new ways, and to engage customers as a natural part of every new project.
Read more about kickstaring human-centered approaches in your company in our post on design thinking and immersive workshops.
Learn how to enable innovation skill-building at scale here or download our free ebook Design Thinking 101.