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Using Design Thinking to navigate the technology landscape

With the wealth of technology options available and the speed at which new offerings appear, business leaders can end up feeling some confusion. What do they choose? How will it help them solve challenges or grasp opportunities? Where do they start?

It can be overwhelming, so Cucumber has devised a process to work with clients to assist with the myriad of options. At its core is a term you may have heard a lot about lately – Design Thinking.

Cucumber offers a Product Assessment and Selection Service, of which Design Thinking is a key component. Not all phases need to be undertaken – they’re there as a guideline, however a Design Thinking workshop is a useful and key approach we use with clients. Here are the steps involved to get to the hidden nuggets that simplify those technology decisions:

  1. Before you start any Design Thinking exercise you really need to ensure your core team are ready and you need sponsor and team commitment from the very start. It’s important that the team has good representation across the business areas impacted by the expected change, and that they have the time to dedicate to the process.

  2. The next piece is crucial: research with real people - understanding the challenges people have from a human as well as process and system perspective. Listening intently to their feedback is enlightening, fun and motivating as you start to remove preconceived perspectives and assumptions to get to the heart of the matter.

  3. Once you have the research, the core team present back to refine the design challenge. By now everyone will be confident they’re addressing the key issues to be able to move forward.

  4. The ideate stage is usually a fun stage. Everyone’s ideas are on the table, usually tackled in small teams. Most people think in pictures so it’s important to draw out your ideas and visualize the solution. This is where buy-in to the change really develops.

  5. Now the team can start to validate them into the best options. A useful part of validation is the creation of a prototype; this can be as simple as a sketch, a clickable wireframe or maybe a proof of concept. It’s a great way to validate ideas and share them with wider stakeholders, including potential technology partners. After the prototype is validated from a concept perspective you can use this to assess technology solutions in a better way.

  6. Once you have a good shortlist you can share your thoughts and valuable ideas with vendors to explore potential solutions. They’ll be very receptive to hearing about a well-thought-through problem, ideas of how you think a solution could work, and why you think their technology could help.

At the end of this process, you’ll either be a lot closer to choosing a technology solution that matches your needs, or you will have decided that maybe you need something tailor-made. Either way, you have control of the process and you’ll have a fully engaged technology partner on board who understands the problems you are looking to solve.

If you think our Product Assessment service can help you using a Design Thinking approach, get in touch today!

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