If you are embarking on a digital transformation — and let’s face it, every company is — it’s time to start investing in design talent. The success of any digital-first business strategy hinges on the ability to create user-friendly and intuitive technology that leverages data and analytics to solve problems and meet end users’ needs. It doesn’t matter how quickly or inexpensively you build these digital tools, if they don’t meet these needs, it will be a waste of resources.
But if you introduce design thinking to your developers, and potentially even add a few design experts to the team, you can reduce the high risk of failure that plagues so many other digital transformation efforts.
In one 2018 study conducted by McKinsey, 80 percent of companies said they were pursuing digital transformations, yet only a depressing three percent were successful at delivering and sustaining real change.
What sets this three percent apart from the rest? In part, it is their organization-wide commitment to adaptive design and agile methods that encourage feedback loops, rapid iterations, collaboration, and risk-taking — all core elements of the design thinking process.
Human-Centered Design Increases the Rate of Success
Among the small cohort of organizations that succeed at digital transformation efforts, McKinsey lists adaptive design as one of the key differentiators. They found that respondents reporting success are almost three times more likely than others to say their efforts involve adaptive design strategies, including monthly adjustments to their strategic plans based on stakeholder feedback.
McKinsey also found successful companies were more likely to embrace agile methods, such as encouraging risk-taking and collaborative thinking. Respondents from successful companies were more than twice as likely to say their organizations reward employees for generating new ideas, and three times as likely to say employees collaborate effectively across business units, functions, and reporting lines.
This kind of innovative, agile culture doesn’t just emerge on its own. It requires the careful guidance of strong leaders who encourage and reward agile, innovative and collaborative behaviors, and who invest in training their people on how to integrate design thinking strategies into their digital projects and problem solving efforts.
It is said that design thinking is best used for solving big, audacious problems with no clear solutions. Tackling a digital transformation fits that description to a tee.
These projects are challenging, risky and have a high rate of failure. But they are also necessary to remain relevant and competitive, and the companies that continually innovate have the best chance at gaining a real competitive advantage. Introducing human-centered design into these efforts can ease some of the risk, and increase the chances that your first transformation effort will be a success.
Learn how to enable innovation skill-building at scale here or download our free ebook Kickstart Innovation: A Guide for Organizations.