Time to realign?

By Christina Villefrance Moeller, TalesOfLeading

“… a methodology that we use to solve complex problems, and it’s a way of using systematic reasoning and intuition to explore ideal future states. … is more central to even business strategy, marketing execution, operations, and product design. … Culture is extremely important to the success of a …  organization.”

Maybe it was because I was half asleep on the train that evening, but suddenly I was confused about the topic. What was the topic of this Podcast? For many Lean enthusiasts this could have been our own words, however, this was about design-thinking. In an interview Jennifer Kilian and Hugo Sarrazin talked about the power of design thinking.

Envisioning a prosperous future

I hear a lot of talking about innovation and design thinking at the moment. It almost emerge as a relief to previous years performance, productivity, reduction, lay-off topics. Now we can use new technologies like 3D-printing, Internet of Things and Big Data to leverage visions of a prosperous future. A speaker even promised young designers: “No more limitations! You can make your designs free”  at a workshop I attended recently. He referred to 3D-printing as technology where you could set free your creativity. (I hided my engineering-sigh as I clearly was the only one in the room. Sorry designers, there are still a lot of problems unsolved).

Falling in love with our own concepts

Jennifer Kilian describe what design is worth: “The first one we react to as consumers ourselves. … At a second layer, we can look to design as a much more strategic business lever.” What I hear is fascination of design thinking accomplishments and of cause these must be shared with everyone else. I don’t blame these design thinkers. They sound like me when I talk about lean thinking!

I fear management teams soon will be confronted by one of the classical conflicts between product development and production. For some time now lean thinking has disseminated to various departments in industries, services, and hospitals. Are product developers now getting a weapon for striking back?

Thomas Edison phrased the definitions of Innovation as a transformation of ideas into reality both technically and in the marketplace. Your might thrill your customer with design, but you also have to deliver with quality, and earn money on the transaction.  In other words, it’s not a question of either innovation or efficiency. We need both in business.

Learnings from design thinking

What I find interesting about design thinking is the emphasis on exploration and empathy for the customer. For me this is not just about products. It’s also about how you design your manufacturing processes. Consider this: You have a problems on your equipment.

  • How many possible root causes do you explore?
  • How many possible countermeasures do you test before settling for one?

I know you have all the necessary tools to explore the problem, still many of us just “take one – do one”.

Now consider engineering new equipment for manufacturing:

  • How much empathy do you have for operators daily work?
  • And for maintenance?

From forcing alignment to containing diversity

May I suggest that we stay curious on each others ways of thinking instead of coherently aligning the organization to one way of thinking.

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.