Design Thinking for Engagement

Recently, we melded design thinking process with behavioral science methods to facilitate a breakout session at Acterra’s Spring Green Team Forum. My goal, along with my intrepid team at AZENTIVE, was to re-invigorate green team representatives, and give them fresh tools.

In a busy workplace with many seemingly competing goals, it can be difficult to rally co-workers around sustainability. We received positive feedback from the 32 participants, and once again, saw the power of design thinking at work.

Design thinking is being touted as a galvanizing methodology for companies. In digital learning circles, design thinking is being applied as a tool for innovation. Leveraging the ideation or brainstorming phase of the design thinking process, employees can come up with divergent perspectives and use them to create novel solutions.

Design thinking is also being used to achieve what is called a state of Digital Flow. This refers to situations when a user can achieve her goals and complete her tasks seamlessly using digital technology. In the complex digital world, attention to the human aspect is even more important, and design thinking provides that with all of its steps.

Let’s look at the prototyping phase. Wisely, user interface designers are turning to more human-centric prototypes such as scenario modeling and role play, which I have co-taught in the Research as Design program at Stanford and in climate and sustainability action planning sessions. Behavioral prototypes provide insight into what could go wrong, how to anticipate and satisfy queries, and how to establish and build trust. These lessons also apply to staff members and retention as well as to customer acquisition and cultivating long-term relationships.

Broadening our scope from the ubiquitous digital era and recognizing its human foundations, it’s important to embed design thinking into the culture of a company. We can do this in various ways, including starting with a particular step, and then slowly incorporating more phases of the design thinking process into daily or weekly operations. One of our former clients chose to embed ideation into their Monday planning meetings, and found it to be a very time-efficient and fun way to start the week. Tell us how you’ve incorporated design thinking to engage your staff and clients.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *