As IT executives, our job is to tackle intricate and challenging problems. In the realm of cloud computing, a common dilemma we face is facilitating seamless data exchange between systems that are situated in different locations, powered by diverse technological frameworks, and beyond our jurisdiction.
In many instances, resolving problems demands solutions that transcend technology. The popular adage “Don’t overlook the PPT (people, process, and technology) aspect when resolving an issue” is often cited as a guiding principle, but it does not offer a thorough understanding.
One of the main difficulties with the PPT approach is the absence of directives on commencing the process. As managers overseeing teams of technical professionals, we tend to prioritize tools and procedures over the well-being of our team members.
Before implementing a software, it is crucial to take into account the end users’ needs and ensure that the selected software aligns with the architecture, integration, and platform prerequisites. Moreover, aspects such as ease of use should be considered.
It is common to expect human factors to take a back seat or be deferred to a “parking lot,” where requirements might be neglected or forgotten following the selection of a software. Then, individuals are asked to “test” the system.
This phenomenon is not exclusive to the realm of business technology. Take, for example, the objects you use regularly at home or work. Your television set might possess cutting-edge capabilities and the highest image resolution available. However, due to its complicated menu system, you might not have been able to do anything else beyond switching it on and off. Whereas, your coffee machine seems to have been crafted with an almost supernatural comprehension of what you require, as its features are so intuitable that you have never felt compelled to peruse the directions.
When using a design-oriented approach is fitting
Design Thinking is an immensely efficient approach to resolving problems, focused on people’s needs and motivations. By leveraging this method, teams can conceive, assess, and perfect prospective solutions before actual deployment.
Prioritizing the resolution of “unknowns” instead of task execution is a straightforward yet notoriously difficult strategy to put into action. When it comes to implementing new technologies, businesses usually prefer the latter choice, skipping the exploration of untrodden terrains in favour of tried and true methods. While this approach may be helpful while dealing with an established playbook, such as post-acquisition of a new business, it has its limitations when striving to create something completely innovative, like an online shopping interface or a staff database.
When confronted with a new task, it is crucial to determine whether it is chiefly a matter of execution or solving the unknowns. Both types of problems are likely to encompass components of each other; nevertheless, a design challenge generally arises when the project’s accomplishment hinges on individuals’ acceptance. On the contrary, if the primary criterion for success is adhering to a fixed timeline for a predetermined set of actions, it is more of an execution obstacle.
When dealing with a design problem, it is essential to concentrate on developing a comprehensive comprehension of users’ requirements. IT specialists might find themselves in a predicament where they have to delay or diminish intricate technical choices to devote time to examining and trialling minor aspects, like the phrasing on a promotional website.
While devising a novel service, we discovered that some potential users were put off by the phrase ‘subscription.’ Renaming it as ‘membership’ yielded more curiosity. Our study indicated that this group was facing ‘subscription fatigue’ because of the proliferation of subscription services, despite their fascination with the prestige linked to membership.
The role of a designer is accessible to anyone.
People frequently believe that technical executives must have specific skills, such as the capacity to design products, create intricate blueprints, or hold degrees in areas such as anthropology or psychology, to achieve success. While these are all valuable qualities for a professional designer, most individuals possess an even more significant asset for effective design thinking: empathy.
Empathy refers to the capability of perceiving and experiencing the emotions of another individual. It is often interchanged with ideas like compassion and sympathy, which are more infused with moral judgments.
If hypothetically assigned to craft a user interface for an innovative digital office coffee maker, I would find it difficult to empathize with java consumers since I do not drink coffee myself. Nonetheless, I would need to contemplate whether a Bluetooth or WiFi-enabled machine is indispensable for this undertaking.
Through leveraging my creative abilities, I can acquire a perception of the viewpoints of individuals who consume coffee and interact with them at the office. This could assist me in comprehending which aspect is more vital to them: convenience or a broad range of coffee. To gain a more profound understanding of the interplay between these two elements, I could design and implement an experiment to identify which takes precedence.
By endeavouring to comprehend the necessities of my target audience, I have recognised several opposing prerequisites that must be tackled to create a coffee maker that would be warmly accepted by its intended users.
The key to unleashing the potential of Design Thinking methods is exploring the field under consideration. To boost the likelihood of generating a resolution to a problem that is embraced and used by your target users, it is advantageous to approach the problem from a distinct perspective.
Capitalising on the potency of design thinking can be as uncomplicated as exercising empathy. By doing so, you can assimilate design thinking methods into your kit for solving problems, allowing you to attain remarkable outcomes at a minimal expense. While there exist intricate techniques and enterprises that specialise in design and design thinking, leveraging empathy is an excellent starting point.