How Design Thinking Can Change Corporate Culture
August 27, 2019 | Design Thinking
by ExperiencePoint

It goes without saying that business growth, sustainability and success are linked to a company’s culture. That statement has never been truer — or trickier to accomplish — than it is today. Can design thinking help? It certainly can.

Why is the importance of corporate culture taking center stage right now? There’s a tide of instability washing across all industries. Market strategies, economic conditions and customer needs are evolving so rapidly that companies may feel as though they’re riding a corporate rollercoaster.

The traditional ways of doing business — from delighting customers, to creating products and services the market demands, to keeping employees happy and fulfilled — are being turned on their ear. Our need for instant gratification, our digitally-driven society and the rise of artificial intelligence are forcing companies to question assumptions about how business works.

Today, customers expect to get what they want in the most efficient, personal and timely way. They want to feel known and understood; they expect their needs should not only be met, but also anticipated. If your company can’t do that, there’s an agile startup who will gladly take your business.

These heightened expectations and demands, compounded by the rapid-fire evolution of new markets, has wrought havoc within affected industries. Consider the ultra-traditional finance world, which is being upended by fintech start-ups, or ride-sharing companies that have transformed the way we get around and are putting cab services out of business.

A Safe Place To Land

Industries are not the only actors pivoting to meet these new demands; employees within these industries are affected, too. When you’re on a roller coaster, you typically crave a stable place to land. In the corporate world, company culture must be rock solid to give employees a reliable foundation from which to drive change. For many companies, that requires taking a look at internal culture and transforming it to meet these new, modern needs.

How can design thinking help create a corporate culture that will support and empower employees?

At TechHR2019, a recent HR conference, Parameswaran Venkataraman, Chief Design Officer at Fractal Analytics, gave a masterclass on using design thinking to renovate corporate culture in this volatile business environment. People Matters profiled the presentation in a recent issue.

Venkataraman argued that culture change depends on building empathy, reframing old problems and being open to exploring “what if” scenarios, rapid prototyping and implementation. Having employees participate in the transformation process has the added benefit of creating immediate buy-in; pushback often plagues HR when they try to implement substantive change.

How can the principles of design thinking transform corporate culture? Read Part Two of this series to discover Venkataraman’s bold ideas.


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