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Design Principles to Ensure Project Success

Question:

Discuss About The Opportunity Discovery Creativity And Design?

Design thinking assists organization to deal with complex issues. It is associated with innovation and tapping into brain thinking to come up with the best solutions. Current trends in using design thinking approach is an indication of a shift towards designing complex projects and their environments. The Australian Taxation Office is a world leader in applying design thinking in public services and is a great example of how capabilities can be formed to enable a design method in large and complicated governmental organisations.

The case study is an investigation of the end-to-end design method, which is used in creation of solutions in response to the individuals’ component of the superannuation reform project whose focus is on designs for an online superannuation portal targeted towards individual taxpayers. In the design of the superannuation project, the principles of design have been followed to ensure the project is a success (Ogilvie & Liedtka 2011, p. 8).  

Any project, which applies design thinking, is user centric. The users are very important and the project has to be user-friendly. In the superannuation project, ATO ensured that the portal improved efficiency and compliance. The portal introduced a fresh outlook into empowering both users and employees of ATO. The superannuation project enabled users to engage with the tax and transfer system through automation of business interactions with the Australian government.

Collaboration is also a characteristic of a design thinking approach. In the ATO, collaboration is inclusive and interdisciplinary. It is based on three principles called the “3C’s” which are collaboration, consultation and co-design. Collaboration means working with other people. ATO has ensured that the superannuation project has been implemented through the working together of various departments to ensure the project is a success. There is a core design team, which collaborates with specialized individuals at each phase (The Design Thinking 2016). The Design Guide has also been put in place and is a document, which assists the ATO staff to navigate the predetermined design process. Consultation is understanding of stakeholder viewpoints. The ATO gathered the views of users, employees and other stakeholders before the superannuation portal was designed. Co-design is involving users in designing of solutions (Olesen 2013, p. 32). Through getting the views of users, it was easy for ATO to design the portal exactly as users wanted.

The design thinking approach, which has been used by ATO in designing the superannuation portal, has followed an iterative process.  The ATO project design process is complicated and this complexity makes the design practice more manageable (Second Road N.d). The large complex superannuation project in the ATO is iterative and has a higher degree of engagement with the stakeholders. The engagement led to all parties participating in the design process.

User Centricity in Superannuation Project Design

Creativity is the ability of an organisation or person to act in new ways. Creativity can be demonstrated through innovation and invention. Innovation is how a company thinks creatively about something that already exists. Invention is coming up with a very new product or service. Creativity and innovation in a company that is run well leads to success. When an organisation stimulates creativity and explores the unknown territories it leads to increased productivity and this affects the bottom-line in a positive manner.  Encouraging staff to think outside the box and providing resources and time for them to explore new frontiers for innovative ideas leads to business solutions, which are cost-effective. Creativity also leads to an improvement in problem solving hence leading to the competitive edge that many businesses want to achieve.

There is a very high success rate of design-led companies hence design thinking has evolved over the years. Organisations are looking at thinking like designers and applying the principles of design to workplaces. Design thinking is considered as the core of effective organisational change and strategy development. It is a method that provides a solution-based approach in problem solving. It is very useful for complex problems by getting an understanding of the human needs which are involved through re-framing problems in ways that can be understood by brainstorming and adopting a hands-on approach. Design thinking occurs in five stages namely empathizing, defining the problem, ideating, prototyping and testing.

This is the first stage of the design thinking process and it aims to have an empathic understanding of the problem that one is to solve. In this stage, organizations can consult an expert to find out more about the area of concern by observation, engagement and empathizing with staff to get to know their experiences and motivations. At this stage, organizations also put themselves in the physical environment so that they have a deeper understanding of issues involved. Empathy is a key process as it allows the design thinker to set aside their assumptions so that they gain an overview into the needs of their users (Burnett & Chin 2015).  A lot of information gathering occurs at this stage so that a lot of insight can be gained into different users and their needs.

This stage involves the organization putting together the information, which has been created and gathered, in the empathizing stage. The organisation analyses the observations it has made and synthesizes them so that the core problems can be defined. The problem is defined as a problem statement in a human-centric way. This stage assists the design thinkers in an organizational team to come up with great concepts, which will enable problems to be solved in a faster manner. Once the needs have been defined, it becomes easier for the organization to come up with solutions that will be tailored to specific problems.

Collaboration through the 3C's

The third stage is idea Generation and this is the process whereby the design thinkers begin generating ideas. Since the needs of the users have now been understood, the design thinkers are able to think outside the box so that new or alternative solutions to the problem statement are identified. There are a number of methods that can be used by design thinkers in this stage. They can brainstorm and come up with a number of random ideas from which the best one that suits the problem will be chosen (Rutherland 2009). They can also brain write or use the worst possible idea method. The ideas, which have been chosen, should then be tested so that the best way of solving a problem can be found. An example is Samsung Argentina who came up with innovative safety trucks with screens that show the road ahead to the vehicles behind and they also have night vision.

The prototype stage will involve production of cheap, scaled-down product versions or specific product features so that they can test the solutions, which they came up with during the idea generation stage. These prototypes are shared and tested within the design thinkers’ team, different departments or within a small group, which is not part of the design team. This phase is purely experimental and the purpose is to identify the best solution for the problems, which had been identified in the first three stages (Konings 2016). These solutions are implemented on the prototypes and are either accepted, improved on or rejected depending on the experiences of the users. By the time this stage ends, design thinkers usually have a better idea of constraints, which are found in the product, problems that have been identified and generally have a better outlook of how the real users will behave when they use the final product.

In this stage, the design thinkers thoroughly test the final product using the top-most solutions, which had been identified in the prototyping phase (Oxman 2015, p. 3). The results, which are generated during this stage, are used in redefining different problems and informing the understanding of the users, conditions of usage, how the users think, their behaviors and how they feel so that there is empathy. Alterations or refinements to the product can also be made so that all problems are eliminated and the product is understood as deeply as possible.

Iterative Process of Design Thinking

The design thinking process is about action and organizations should not stick to just talking. Organisations mainly plan, analyze and control but translation to results sometimes does not occur as should. A very small percentage of organisations actually implement strategies that had been spoken about. Many organizations have mission and vision statements, which do not reflect on the day-to-day businesses that they do (Ogilvie & Liedtka 2011, p. 12). Design thinking therefore leads to organizations implementing rather than just talking and leaving plans on paper.

Design thinking is important as it teaches one how to make things real. The people who are directly impacted will ensure that their strategy is implemented. When things feel real to people, they become interesting and personally significant hence pronounced. Design thinkers tell stories, which engage their audience, capture their experience and makes the future feel real.

Design thinking is tailored to deal with an uncertain future .Currently the global business environment is unpredictable. In many organizations, people are skeptical about new ideas or initiatives as they feel that it will interfere with the organization’s stability and control. Those who come up with creative and new ideas are told that they should prove that their ideas would work by implementing right the first time. Design thinkers do not hold such expectations and work based on uncertainty (Mootee 2013, p. 56). Managers who have succeeded in organic growth usually have a designer-oriented attitude.

Design thinking leads us into understanding that products and services are purchased by humans and not target markets that have been segmented into demographics. Sometimes, organisations lose sight of the real people behind the demand. Design thinkers understand that user behavior is driven by more than economic logic (Ogilvie & Liedtka 2011, p. 15). They observe and understand the needs of human beings. This leads to consumers being treated in an appropriate manner and being given the best solutions.

My recent creativity presentation was quite a success and it helped me to learn a lot concerning design thinking and the importance of creativity. Creativity is turning of embryonic ideas into ideas that can be usable.  My presentation helped me that to fully apply creativity, the three levels must be well understood.  Discovery is the lowest level of creativity and when one discovers something, it can lead to an invention or innovation. Invention is the next level of creativity and it involves implementation of the discovery before someone else does. Creation is the final stage and at this point, the invention is turned into something tangible. This process made me reflect back on the company I work for, which deals with home and living accessories. I reflected on how one of our staff came up with an idea of incorporating detachable palettes onto a sandwich maker so that it could operate also as a waffle maker and doughnut maker. The machine would therefore have three detachable palettes hence consumers would not have to purchase three different machines for three different cooking processes. The staff’s idea was taken up and tested and it worked hence assisting the organisation to come up with a unique product. This helped to learn that in design thinking, one should not think of their idea as absurd but should speak out, as it just could be the pathway to the invention of a great product.

Through this course, I have learnt different things about creativity that can boost an organization’s ability to innovate. People who are truly creative have developed their abilities to make keen observations and use all senses so that they come up with unique ideas. Innovation is also knowledge-based and it is important for one to continue expanding knowledge through activities like reading or visiting different places (Liedtka 2014, p. 42). The perception that one has may also limit reasoning hence it is important to always be positive about things and not to judge wrongly. It is also good to let one’s ideas incubate so that the level of innovation and creativity becomes high. My presentation made me realize that the more creative and innovative my team members and I are the more long-term success we can be able to achieve. Rather than to keep chasing big ideas in our industry of home and living products, we should bring creativity and innovation to what we do and this will lead to our organization being considered as an industry innovator

References

Burnett, B and Chin, R 2015, Apply Design Thinking in Your Work. Stanford Education, 11 March, Viewed 07 September 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U499U4TcyY8>

Konings, H 2016,Cathedral Challenges.Crowd Sourcing Week, 16 January, Viewed 07 September 2017,< https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxQlrNFNXTs>

Liedtka, J, 2014. ‘Innovative ways companies are using design thinking.’ Strategy & Leadership, vol .42, no. 2, pp.40-45.

Mootee, I., 2013, Design thinking for strategic innovation: What they can't teach you at business or design school. John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey.

Ogilvie, T. and Liedtka, J, 2011. Designing for growth: A design thinking toolkit for managers. Columbia University Press, New York.

Olesen, N 2013, Re-inventing the ATO-ready, willing and underway. Australian Government, Viewed 07 September 2017, <https://www.ato.gov.au/Media-centre/Speeches/Reinventing-the-ATO---ready,-willing-and-underway/ >

Oxman, R., 2015.‘Thinking difference: Theories and models of parametric design thinking.’ Design Studies: Proceedings of the technical sessions presented by the design committee at the ECAAEE Conference, Vienna, Austria, September 2015.

Rutherland, R 2009.Life Lessons from an AD Man. Ted Talks, N.d July, Viewed 07 September 2016, <https://www.ted.com/talks/rory_sutherland_life_lessons_from_an_ad_man?language=en#t-***** >

Second Road N.d,Introducing ‘Design Thinking’ to the Australian Tax Office.Australian Government, Viewed 07 September 2017, <https://www.secondroad.com.au/portfolio-item/introducing-design-thinking-to-the-australian-tax-office/>

The Design Thinking 2016, Failure to Launch: Learning About Design The Hard Way, Australian Taxation Office, Viewed 07 September 2017, <https://thisisdesignthinking.net/2016/12/failure-to-launch-learning-about-design-the-hard-way/
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