This Design Thinking "it's Business Jim, but not as we know it!"
May it be “design thinking” or any other thinking model, “service design” or any other business model, as long as it empowers communities of practice, humanizes organizations and facilitates change, it is an entrepreneurial business at the leading edge of new economic frontiers.
Author: Andreea Hirica
“People are used to associating us with the design thinking practice or service design work. And while these are important parts of what we do and of our values, our professional endeavor thrives by going beyond disciplines and thinking models silos, right into the continuous process of facilitating change as a constant.” Arne van Oosterom , Founder, DesignThinkers Group, DesignThinkers Academy & Design Thinking Network.
Here are the five pillars of business at the leading edge of the new economics frontier. They have been extracted though the work of the Design Thinkers’s community of practice around the world and shared by Arne during the Belgian Design Thinkers #Twunch :
People. The Art of Allowing. Entrepreneurship. Madness. Flattening Geographies.
People. Be it since the industrial revolution or later along the way, organizations forgot the very intimate fabric that justify and fuel their own existence. At the new economics frontier, business thrives when it develops with and for people. This does not only involve the end-user, so called king customer; of the same importance are the organizations’ internal stakeholders. And more importantly, it involves empowering the flowing process of switching hats: from end customer to internal stakeholder and to one's own business model.
The thriving model at the leading edge shifts from designing services to giving clients the tools to design those services themselves. And even farther, to creating communities of experts where like-minded people can switch hats and share best practices.
The Art of Allowing. Wait a minute, isn’t giving clients tools to “do it themselves” a one way out of business ticket?
“On the contrary” shares Arne. In their experience, it is the most effective way of securing long-term expansive business relationships:
“People inside the organizations, our internal partners, start doing the work themselves and eventually end up using us for the key values that we can provide: an outsider, cross-industries, strategic and generalist perspective, coupled with facilitating change, skills. We give up the control of the tools and processes and we become facilitators of the outcome”. In this model, the process and the outcome are in an equalitarian relationship, with none more important than the other.
“Of course the outcome validates the process – agrees Arne – but both need to be handled with the same importance.”
Entrepreneurship. Through the process of constantly switching hats from consumer to internal or external service provider, a new servicing model comes in place: the Entrepreneur.
“Organizations need more and more entrepreneurial spirit (the so called “intrapreneurs”) so they hire people with such DNA and squeeze them through all possible methods to get as much entrepreneurial vibe as possible out of them.
Whereas as outside consultants we can't be anything but entrepreneurs; it is our DNA (we wouldn't be able to pay our bills otherwise).
Thus, opening up the tools and processes towards the inside partners allows us to keep the outsider entrepreneur status and also create unique value through it.”
Madness. “You have to be mental for such kind of business” (Arne) Read: passionate, dedicated, driven and a bit naïve (believe in your business fully). While being ready to experiment, iterate, change course and try new things, constantly.
Flattening Geographies. The next level from opening up the tools and processes is looking outside the box of our own market and definitely outside the box of one specific discipline or thinking model. The communities of practice mentioned before allow for global collaboration and clients servicing across regions. More than this, the geographic expertize if flattening: “the projects in South America are just as qualitative as the ones in Western Europe; there is a tremendous driving energy in these emerging markets” concludes Arne.
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