“Employee Experience Enhancement”. The idea that we are driving forward through our DT4HR Initiative. Using Design Thinking to improve the employee’s journey, from before joining to after leaving. Built on the principle of Empathy and Action.
Here’s a great video, on those lines.
The Economic Times, May 25, 2016
Infosys on ‘design thinking’ treadmill to get its top gear acclimatised with latest technology
It’s not just the 194,000-odd employees at India’s second largest software exporter who are being put through the paces.
In what would mark the first such instance in India’s $160-billion IT industry, board members at Infosys are now being trained and brought up to speed with “design thinking” -an industry parlance that refers to the practice of solving traditional tech problems using newer, different and innovative methods.
Board members at top companies across the world, especially in the technology industry, routinely go through training sessions to help them keep pace with the rapid changes across the technology landscape.
However, this would mark the first known instance in India’s tech industry where a company is proactively aligning the board with the vision of the company’s top management, as part of a broader strategy to bring about a cultural shift at a traditional outsourcing company where coders and engineers have been content with following orders of customers, without asking questions. The design thinking exercise is one of the cornerstones of CEO Vishal Sikka’s broader strategy for the company and he has actively pushed executives and employees at the company to embrace the exercise. To execute this strategy, Sikka has even sought help from external mentors such as computer science pioneer and legend Alan Kay, who over the past two years has held sessions with company executives and employees.
Infosys chairman R Seshasayee said the decision to train the board on design thinking was taken recently during the last financial year.
“The adoption of Design Thinking at Infosys has been very encouraging, and we can see the enthusiasm and energy with which employees are adopting this philosophy. The Infosys board was keen to embrace this approach that is getting deeply ingrained into the company’s DNA. We introduced the entire board to these concepts during the year and I have found the application of its principles in our course of business very refreshing and impactful,” said Infosys chairman R Seshasayee in an email to ET.
According to Infosys’ latest annual report, at least six board members including chairman R Seshasayee, board veteran and former Cornell University professor Jeffrey S Lehman, Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Bank of Baroda chairman Ravi Venkatesan have all gone through what the company calls “immersion sessions” where they have been trained on design thinking. Each of these board members have gone through ex tensive sessions on design thinking that lasted for at least 3.5 hours, according to the annual report.
A person directly familiar with Sikka’s thinking said that the board has also been put through immersive sessions on areas such as Artificial Intelligence and that Sikka is actively trying to “acquaint the board with concepts around design thinking as he looks to unleash newer, more executable ideas at the board level.”
Infosys has already trained over 80,000 employees on design thinking and hopes to cover the entire company in the near term, according to its latest annual report.
The design thinking exercise comes at a time when Infosys is starting to show signs of a major turnaround in its fortunes and increasingly resembling its former bellwether self, having trumped top-tier rivals such as Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro for four consecutive quarters.
“Putting the board through design thinking is a must. Design thinking is the equivalent of Six Sigma for this generation. Until the boards understand what’s required to build for empathy and to understand the innovation process, they can not relate to the work required to deliver on innovation,” said Ray Wang, founder of enterprise research firm Constellation Research.
“Training the entire company including the leadership team on design thinking represents more than anything else a change in mindset for Infosys.However, Infosys needs to push change management in equal measure as training alone only gets you so far,” said Tom Reuner, managing director at HfS Research.
Doreen Lorenzo—formerly of Frog and Quirky—is running a new integrated design program at UT-Austin.
“It used to be you went to school and became a graphic designer or an industrial designer, but that’s all changed,” says Doreen Lorenzo. “Now design is about problem solving and critical skills. Long gone is the sole inventor.”
Lorenzo should know—she’s been a leader in the design industry for nearly two decades, serving as president of both the prestigious design firm Frog and the invention platform Quirky (she also writes a column for Co.Design). At the beginning of March, Lorenzo announced that she has taken a position at the University of Texas at Austin to oversee an initiative to integrate design thinking into the curriculum across the university.
As director of the Center for Integrated Design, Lorenzo will work with faculty in fine arts, business, engineering, architecture, and computer science to create a program that will allow students to study design from a multidisciplinary perspective and earn either a certificate or degree. The idea is to encourage students to use the school’s many different resources to learn about design as a problem-solving system, a concept that the professional world has already embraced.
These days, you can’t sit through a boardroom meeting without hearing the words “design thinking.”
“Business moves fast,” Lorenzo says. “It used to be, you had these 18-month, two-year product cycles—that’s all changed. Now you have rapid innovation, you’re constantly iterating, you’re constantly designing. You almost don’t have time to teach people all the fine nuances, so the more that we can make our students able to jump in and help, the more valuable they are going to be.”
This is something Lorenzo learned first-hand working at Frog, the innovative design and strategy firm behind projects such as Humanitarian Data Exchangeand the Kidaptive learning app. During her 16 years there—7 of which she served as the company’s president—Lorenzo saw the company grow from a boutique firm with 50 employees to a global company with 1,000 employees and 11 offices worldwide. She ran Frog as a team-based organization, hiring people with a variety of skill sets and experiences. “What I saw from the design world very early on, from working at Frog, was that you needed to work in a very integrated fashion,” she says. “In order to get a product out the door, you needed different people to come in and work with you.”
Integrated design eventually reached the business world, which today recognizes the importance of problem solving and working across disciplines. Now you can’t sit through a boardroom meeting without hearing the words “design thinking.” “Businesses caught on, everyone’s a software company now—you have to understand software and technology because that’s how you get up to speed,” Lorenzo says. “Academia has slowly been getting up to speed.”
Some integrated design university programs do exist—MIT Media Lab and Stanford’s d.school are two well-respected examples—but they are relatively small. UT-Austin is one of the biggest public universities in the country, so the program will be implemented at a much larger scale. Other programs also tend to be at the graduate level, training students who’ve already had work experience. At UT, Lorenzo will reach students before they enter the workplace, where “design” doesn’t just mean making a product. It might mean solving a human resources issue or operational problem. “If we can give them critical thinking skills and teach them problem solving and how to work cooperatively, they have a better chance at success,” Lorenzo says. “And they have a better chance of finding something they never knew about. They don’t have to wait until graduate school.”
We just completed our inaugural Design Thinking Lab in Bangalore. 16 participants, from 6 companies, explored problems and came up with solutions in an engaging process spanning 3 days. Here are some pictures.
We are planning our next one in April. Please let us know if you would like to attend.
“In Design Thinking, you get a holistic approach to problem-solving, balancing the human, financial and technology aspects and with that combination you can take the conversation to any sector, whether corporate or public, and apply it to any challenge.” – Richard Perez, programme director for World Design Capital at the City of Cape Town.
Introducing ‘Human Centred Design’, our 3-Day Designing Thinking Training Lab in Bangalore. 26th, 27th, 28th February.
Facilitated by Sudhindra V., Chief Design Officer, IBM.
Brought to you by The Painted Sky.
Join us! For more registrations and more details, write to email@example.com
About the Programme:
Over the three days, learn the Model for Design Thinking, apply the learnings to test assumptions, create insights, brainstorm for ideas, and prototype for tests. And do so using some of The Painted Sky’s unique Art-Based methods!
Learn to conduct powerful Empathy Research to get valuable Insights on behaviours and interests, develop Stakeholder Personas and draw Empathy Maps to identify possibilities and problems, Brainstorm with new tools to come up with novel solutions, prototype through modeling and theatre to test and validate the solutions for applicability.
A completely experiential learning approach (“learning by doing”), the programme aims to bring real problems from the real world and come away with real solutions. And try some Art, Theatre and Modeling along the way!
Hands on. Real time. Experiential and Practical.
- Programme Facilitator: Sudhindra V.
Chief Design Officer India, IBM Interactive Experience (https://www.linkedin.com/in/sudhindrav)
Location: Bangalore, India (venue to be announced soon)
Dates: 25th, 26th, 27th January, 2016