June 7, 2016 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / Wisetalk

WiseTalk Summary on Empathy, IT, and the Digital Economy

On May 24, 2016, Sue Bethanis hosted Jeff Sussna, Founder and Principal of Ingineering.IT on WiseTalk. Jeff specializes in driving quality improvements through practical innovation.  Jeff shared his ideas about using Design Thinking and DevOps to improve customer satisfaction and operational effectiveness.

Favorite Quote:

“Empathy does not mean wallowing in other people’s pain. All it means is the ability to see things from another person’s perspective. It’s really fairly simple and straightforward.”

Insights:

  • DevOps – In most IT organizations the people who develop software and the people who operate software are separate groups. Software as a service (SaaS) businesses need IT to deliver faster and continuously and this leads to boundaries between these two separate groups to break down. Sussna believes that DevOps is fundamentally about crossing silos and boundaries and getting people to work better by working together- shifting from an old complicated system into something more fluid and dynamic that improves both speed and quality as a result.
  • Design Thinking – After 250 years industrialism we have this very long tradition of how we deliver things and messages. Now we need to learn something new. Companies are losing control because customers are controlling the message and that is a very new thing. Sussna uses an abductive approach to solving problems. This approach is an alternative to analyzing your way to a solution. He shared that it is important to think beyond functionality and that all of the parts of IT and digital business are about delivering service and this service needs to be designed.
  • Resistance – With an iterative approach you start with a hypothesis by engaging a group and allowing them to learn; you are empowering people to adjust and in this process you create momentum. Sussna believes that getting people talking to each other is the simplest and most straight forward way to begin. It is important to create opportunities for them to solve problems together. When you get people together and you give them an opportunity to make things better together, that is an ideal way to overcome resistance.

What We Found Most Interesting:

Leading businesses are making the shift from the complex machine model to the complex adaptive system model. This new model is organized in small cross-function teams with autonomy and the ability to experiment, learn and move quickly. This model also gives us a mechanism for achieving resiliency. The problems we face are becoming more complex with systems and the model organization structures give us a much more powerful mechanism for doing that. They also help us to respond to failure in a flexible and elegant way. The potential is that instead of IT being a friction point it becomes an acceleration point.

To learn more about Jeff’s approach to digital service delivery, listen to the WiseTalk recording.

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December 22, 2014 / Articles We Like / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / Leadership

On “Research: 10 Traits of Innovative Leaders”

To successfully innovate, companies need strong leaders. As executive leadership coaches, our work with clients in Silicon Valley is inherently tied to helping companies achieve their innovation goals, and that’s why this article resonates with us.

The Harvard Business Review article, Research: 10 Traits of Innovative Leaders, by Jack Zenger and Joseph Falkman, reveals the 10 behaviors innovative leaders consistently demonstrate that make them effective at driving innovation.  We contend that these behaviors are not only key innovative leadership behaviors, but core skills to hone for effective leadership overall.  Read the article now.

Do you agree with this list of behaviors? Why or why not?

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November 30, 2014 / Articles We Like / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation

On “Beyond MVP: 10 tips for creating your Minimum Loveable Product”

Creating a minimum viable product (MVP) is the goal for most new product innovation, and for many of our clients in Silicon Valley. So many decisions go into making an MVP, and balancing those decisions with speed to market is not a small task. With many MVPs failing to leave a lasting impression on customers because their expectations are not met, is there a better way to successfully bring new products to market?

According to Laurence McCahill, yes there is! From a customer experience perspective, the MVP might be an outdated way of thinking about new product innovation. Instead, consider the Minimal Loveable Product (MLP). In the article, Beyond MVP: 10 tips for creating your Minimum Loveable Product, Laurence outlines 10 tips to go from MVP to MLP. In the process, you’ll build a community of users, delight them from the start, and get them talking. The author advocates for design as a critical element, which we love!  Propel the success of your new product by reading this article now.

What’s the greatest challenge you face in creating new products?

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May 15, 2014 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation

How Can Design Thinking Spark Innovation?

Graphic by mapthemind.org

Graphic by mapthemind.org

Sue Bethanis, CEO of Mariposa Leadership, Inc., led an online webinar, Breakthrough! Apply Design Thinking to Spark Innovation, as part of the Syntax for Change online series, Cultivating Change 2014 Master Class for Change Agents.

Design Thinking is a problem solving technique that has been used extensively and successfully to develop products and services.  However, the principles of design thinking can also be applied by leaders to enable organizational transformation. For example, how do I redesign the value chain to shift from products to services or solutions?  How do I motivate employees to stay engaged and energized in their work amidst organizational change?  How can I involve employees in the change effort? These are not easy problems.  This webinar gave audience members an opportunity to apply the Breakthrough! model (Empathy, Brainstorm, Prototype, Implement) to a real-work challenge.

If you missed this fun and insightful webinar, click the link below to listen to the webcast.

download

For more information, check out our Design Thinking workshops and learn how to to easily move from idea-to-innovation.

 

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April 28, 2014 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / HR / Talent Management

Ask Mariposa | Understanding Customers’ Needs

John asks:  Recently there seems to be a widening gap between product development and our understanding of customers’ needs. The products aren’t hitting home like they used to. Obviously, there are many changes we need to make – where do we start?

Sue Bethanis, CEO of Mariposa, responds:

Well, there are many facets to the this question, and believe me, you’re not the only one feeling it; so many people we talk with are zeroing in on this dilemma.  Here’s one idea that may hit home: START with customer empathy, and put on your anthropologist hat. GO see how your customers are using the products on their turf.  You know, Steve Jobs was famous for not conducting Focus Groups, but he still knew Apple’s customers REALLY well.  He was seen regularly hanging out at the Palo Alto Apple store, and checking out how customers were using Apple’s products.

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January 29, 2014 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / HR / Talent Management

How Design Thinking Changes the Way HR Implements Programs

Most HR professionals understand the pitfalls of implementing an HR program. To circumvent failure, HR professionals often conduct a needs assessment to inform direction, maybe conduct a pilot program, and then move to implement when given a “thumb’s up.”

A design thinking mentality shifts that. Whether designing a product, service or experience, the core principle behind the success of design thinking is “fail fast.” For HR professionals, this changes how “buttoned up” your program will be before piloting, or even before rolling it out.  The point is to test the program and via observation and feedback, gather data on an ongoing basis to continue to improve.  Why do this?  Because “customer-driven” programs are the most successful.

To innovate the way you implement HR and Talent Management programs, join us in our new Using Design Thinking in HR & Talent Management workshop

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January 2, 2014 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation

Why Innovative HR Leaders Prototype

Prototyping is not just for product design. Prototyping can also be used for intangible services or experiences, including human resource initiatives. Redesigning your high potential development program? That can be prototyped. Got an idea for branding your talent recruiting experience? A prototype can be done for that as well.

Why prototype instead of using PowerPoint to present your ideas? Tim Brown of IDEO often refers to prototyping as “building to think.” By making the intangible tangible through 3D modeling, ideas are bridged with innovation by using the right brain to liven up the solution, creating space for fresh thinking. The 3D models then become a symbol that can be tested with your employees to gather feedback through interviews and observation. Prototyping also offers a quick and cheap way to “fail fast,” one of the key principles of design thinking. In “failing fast,” more feedback can be gathered upfront and used to refine your idea before investments are made in HR program pilots.

For an experience with prototyping your human resource or talent management ideas, join us in our NEW Using Design Thinking in HR & Talent Management workshop or download our Executive Guide to Design Thinking for prototyping tips.

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December 18, 2013 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation

Better Brainstorming for HR Innovation

As an HR leader, you need to come up with innovative ways to energize, develop and retain your workforce.  You need fresh ideas – many useful ideas – as well as an new method for cultivating those fresh ideas.

In a design thinking process, brainstorming plays a key role in cultivating a plethora of fresh ideas. But we aren’t talking about your average run-of-the-mill brainstorming session, with everyone in the room (hopefully) contributing a single idea out loud, one by one.  This is a frenetic, fast-paced process which sets the stage for creativity!

Here are our tips, based on our Breakthrough! Model:

  • Clarify the specific problem upfront. Set the problem for the group before you begin to guide the brainstorming process.  Examples: How might we redesign the entire end-to-end employee experience of performance reviews? How might we create buzz about our company to a certain demographic, so they know us and know good things about us? How do we ensure that non-comp recognition and rewards are tied to retention? How might we redesign our current leadership development program with Millennials in mind? With multi-generational audiences in mind?
  • Encourage imagination.  Ask your team to think broadly and creatively.  The sky is the limit for ideas!
  • Start alone. Give each person some time to write down a bunch of ideas on individual sticky notes by themselves and post for the group.
  • Break into small groups. With smaller groups generating ideas at the same time, groupthink can be avoided, one person can’t dominate the conversation, and idea generation potential multiplies.
  • Each small group member produces an idea…and another…with limited time.  In a small group format, have your team write ideas on sticky notes and share them aloud one by one without comments.  Challenge your team to produce more ideas after a period of time.

This brainstorming process will result in a broad, creative list of ideas, from which to cull further.

For additional tips on frenetic brainstorming and culling the list of ideas, download our Executive Guide to Design Thinking or join us in our NEW Using Design Thinking in HR & Talent Management workshop.

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December 11, 2013 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / HR / Talent Management

2 Ways Empathy Can Help HR Drive Innovation

In most companies today, innovation is expected from all areas of an organization – including groups not traditionally known for driving innovation agendas, such as Human Resources. Success for HR and Talent Management leaders lies in opening up to new approaches for developing fresh ideas for difficult issues. Here are 2 ways that empathy – a key element of design thinking and one facet of our Breakthrough! model – can help HR & Talent Management leaders go from idea-to-innovation more quickly.

  • Empathy provides context for solutions. Too often, leaders of all types come up with an idea for a product, service or experience in isolation, then implement it. This approach fails to lead to innovation. Developing empathy through various methods of observation and interviewing puts HR leaders in their customer’s shoes, experiencing what they do and how they feel. Thus, HR leaders stand a better chance of developing solutions that work for the customer.
  • Empathy develops T-shaped HR leaders. HR leaders who develop an ability to empathize with their customers have both the vertical skills in human resources and are able to broaden their horizontal perspectives, leading to an ability to look at a problem from multiple dimensions.

For more information on empathy, download our Executive Guide to Design Thinking or join us at our NEW Using Design Thinking in HR & Talent Management workshop.

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October 24, 2013 / Articles We Like / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation

On: "Productivity Improvement: It's Not What You Think"

In this article, author Dorie Clark sets out to challenge the traditional mindset on what it means to improve one’s productivity. Many executives try to increase productivity using times of intense focus without interruptions. Dorie contends that this “head’s down” approach isn’t the only route to increased productivity, and may hinder creativity and innovation.

In the article, Productivity Improvement: It’s Not What You Think, published in the National Center for the Middle Market, Dorie redefines productivity. She draws on the expertise of Mariposa CEO, Sue Bethanis, for tips on behaviors executives can adopt right away to positively harness the energy in office interruptions. Read it now.

What is your definition of improving productivity? How do you go about making the most of office interruptions?

Comment below! Or pose a question via Ask Mariposa.

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