Does Design Thinking Have a Role in Mobility?

Sue Durio, Worldwide ERC® - Mar 01 2019
Published in: Ask the Experts

Mobility at its core is all about change management. Effectively managing change in a highly competitive, fast-paced global marketplace – with remote teams dispersed around the world – has never been more critical. Increasingly, innovative mobility programs are turning to the principles of design thinking to help better manage those changes.

The Change Resistance

The fact is, an organization’s employees lie at the center of organizational change – they either are being asked to change themselves, or the environment around them is changing. In fact, a recent Deloitte survey found an overwhelming 70 percent of business respondents said people management is the key to successful change management. The same study found 100 percent agree that successful organizational change hinges on effective staff engagement. Let’s face it: it’s simply human nature to be resistant to change.

Enter Design Thinking: Changing the Way We Manage Change

So what is design thinking, and how does it help?  In a nutshell, design thinking is approaching problems and innovating solutions by considering and involving the people affected by the change.

In its simplest form, says Colleen d’Offay, national professional services manager with global HR solutions provider Frontier Software, “design thinking is a mindset, the primary focus of which is to develop an understanding of the people for whom a solution is being designed. Design thinking is often referred to as “human-centric” because its focus is on the affected people; their feelings, knowledge, beliefs and attitudes.”

Long popular with innovative designers spanning the arts to science and engineering, design thinking is now being adopted by leading global brands and taught at schools like Harvard and Stanford. The results are speaking for themselves, says Linda Naiman, founder of Creativity at Work.

“When design principles are applied to strategy and innovation, the success rate for innovation dramatically improves,” she says. She points to a Design Management Institute study that reported “design-led companies such as Apple, Coca-Cola, IBM, Nike, Procter & Gamble and Whirlpool have outperformed the S&P 500 over the past 10 years by an extraordinary 211 percent.”

The Opportunity for Mobility

For mobility teams looking for innovative solutions to change management, design thinking experts say begin by understanding the needs of employees.  Include them in the problem-solving process to test and refine ideas and provide insights from the perspective of those most directly impacted by the change.  Empower employees to make and effectively manage change.

“It helps you reduce the risks by engaging with internal and external people seeking out a new solution that solves a need, problem or challenge,” Naiman says.

Learn More about Design Thinking

If you are looking to create a responsive, flexible organizational mobility culture, join your mobility colleagues at Worldwide ERC’s Americas Mobility Conference 8-10 May in Atlanta. In their session, “Change Management in the Mobility Industry,” speakers Anand Diraviyam, CRP, with Aires, and Jonathan Frick with Ineo, LLC, will share insights on the design thinking process and how mobility programs are using it to better manage change.

Learn more and register.