Every business owner out there hopes for uninterrupted growth in terms of productivity, revenue, and profitability. However, there seems to be no surefire methodology to achieve these along with employee engagement, retention, customer experience, and plenty more factors. But, what if I tell you that a simple change could make all the difference in the organization’s and employee’s thinking, planning, and execution? Yes, design thinking is a proven approach to promoting cultural transformation in a workplace. It is an innovative methodology to solve complex problems with focused planning and execution. Design thinking can bridge the gap to revamp the way an organization thinks and works, ultimately contributing to a reimagined customer experience.

What is cultural transformation?

Cultural transformation is a process of the shift of in company’s work culture as per the values and objectives of the firm. It can be an effective measure to boost the value-added benefits with sustainable success.

Implementation of a cultural shift is not an easy task for any business and requires dedicated changes in policies, commitments, behaviors, and processes. The successful implementation of cultural shifts can allow the employee to know about the values and virtues of the company in a growing and collaborative environment.

An efficient cultural change in a firm can redefine the thinking ways, actions, services, and support of the customers. The interactions will gain cultural values and a sense of positivity/motivation.


How Does Design Thinking Help In Cultural Transformation?

As Stephen R. Covey said

 “Treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.”

Design thinking is not just a tool to solve complex employee relations issues, it can improve organizational culture overall as well. The more the work satisfaction, the more the innovative ideas. Here are some of the key ways in which design thinking can promote cultural transformation in an institution.

#1. Design Thinking Promotes Ideation Culture

The majority of organizations work under strict requirements in the day-to-day tasks leaving employees to suppress ideation. Divergent thinking is one of the key aspects of design thinking and can be a means to promote and entertain new ideas. Once you enhance the work culture with design thinking, every employee will feel free to be a part of brainstorming and creative sessions.

Design thinking motivates the workforce to go out of their comfort zones and bring solution-driven thoughts to the table. With the inclusion of abductive reasoning, the workforce can seek to find the simplest answer and explanation with reliable reasoning. It not only guarantees a conclusion but can help tackle some of the biggest hurdles. With every employee getting the authority to share their ideas in business matters, the ecosystem becomes more enjoyable and collaborative.

Take the right decision to avoid any hurdle in the path of business growth and profitability. Accepting real and uninterrupted thinking with time management can assist in solving rare challenges. All such practices can boost the competitive cultural edge in organizations.

#2. Design Thinking Creates Collaborative Culture

It is a must-have trait in the organization. However, the modern-day work environments are not of a very collaborative nature. The missing collaborative mindset and thinking can cause complex employee relations issues to become a hurdle in business growth.

With the implementation of design thinking in an organization, you can boost various traits like creativity, teamwork, flexibility, and reliable thinking skills. While employees were previously pushed into a  competitive landscape, it should now be shifted to a collaborative ecosystem. One way to cultivate a collaborative culture is to extract ways to create new value from predictable and existing processes.

The process and implementation of design thinking encourage a sense of open collaboration. The organization should follow simple ways to boost the cultural shifts and bridge the differences gap. Create cross-functional teams to bring people from varied backgrounds together to contribute to the company. The diverse team members can be designers, HR, finance, marketing, etc. to break down the problems and find elegant solutions to beat complexities.

Design thinking encourages team bonding and lets them work together in person. The employees can bring in qualitative research data in brainstorming sessions. The efficient design thinking process can ensure the use of collaborative tools to boost productivity. Every lone employee can play a vital role in the team and thus bring in collective benefits and work approaches.

In an organization, all voices matter irrespective of their employment, designation, and expertise. The design thinking approach can boost the sense of humility instead of flaming the fire of hierarchy and ego, to test the assumptions, lead data, information, and customer requirements. Variable knowledge and skillsets boost the collaborative environment and encourage ideas from everyone.

As said by Kenneth H. Blanchard

“None of us is as smart as all of us.”

#3. Design Thinking Needs Productive Failure

Businesses dealing with outdated systems and policies will find it difficult to cope with any major or minor failure. Although, in most cases, these happen to be the basic reasons behind the failures. With the help of Design Thinking, organizations can teach the true value of productive failure and avoid complex employee relations issues.

Rather than considering it to be a hurdle or the end of the road, it should be seen as a valuable tool providing efficient learning and an iterative way to gain success. The employees will also begin to share the same thought that failure is a necessary step on the road of extensive learning and risk mitigation.

A design-led organization can bring something new to the market with deep learning and iterative improvement. Since the company cultivates an improved culture, the employees can tap into the necessary innovations by embracing failure and moving forward with new learning. Design thinking drives empathy and creates harmony to bring out the needs and emotions of the people.

Complex Employee Relations Issues: Rising Concern For Workplaces

Nowadays, the majority of organizations struggle with the problem of complex employee relations. While a few businesses rely on employee engagement surveys, there should be something far more suitable. What they actually need is a cultural transformation in the workplace backed with problem-solving design thinking changes. This approach has the capability to enhance the levels of employee engagement.

A strong company culture is an integral need for any institution. In simple words, employee engagement refers to a feeling of happiness and positivity while being in a workplace. Complex employee relations issues in a job or the workplace are quite common. But, we have a smooth way to avoid them with strong cultural transformation practices. It helps the employees to understand what they need to deliver in terms of expectations alongside keeping them happier, satisfied, motivated, and committed.

Now, let’s explore some of the key benefits of design thinking in transforming cultures.

Benefits of Cultural Transformation In A Nutshell

Here are some of the core benefits of a positive cultural revolution in the workplace:

– The employees can bring their ideas and expertise to contribute to business objectives and missions.

– It can boost the required motivation to outperform the targets/competition.

– It helps in developing a proactive mindset and new skill sets.

– Cultural transformation can build eagerness to start off new projects.

– It can boost positive thoughts and well-defined processes.

– Creative and cultural transformation can keep you dedicated and engaged in the work.

– It promotes a problem-solving attitude for complex hurdles in operations.

– It promotes employee commitment to boost organization workflow.

– Cultural shift makes business operations easier and more flexible.

– Achieve handy management and support standards with effective change in work culture.

There are plenty of other benefits of handling complex employee relations issues. Be it higher productivity, improved bonding, and/or a strong culture at the workplace.

You might be thinking about how to begin and implement the right blend of Design Thinking approaches at the workplace. Well, here is the way to bring necessary reforms and scale the business capabilities.

How To Implement Design-driven Cultural Transformation In An Organization?

1. Define your company culture

The first step to owning a strong company culture is to define the same. Culture is the backbone of the organization. Likewise, in any business strategy, you need to define the company workflow and process. You should be focusing on the company’s mission, vision, and values. It is also recommended to keep the majority of aspects documented as training your employees about a strong culture is also as important as implementation.

2. Employee survey can be helpful

It is another approach to keeping an eye on the growing company’s culture. Try to run several surveys within the organization to understand what’s working for you and what’s not. Be on the lookout for the scope of the improvements. Make sure the employees get the deserved attention. In return, you will get more ideas for workforce engagement and retention.

3. Keep your employees involved

To handle complex employee relations issues, you need to try to improve the company culture. One such efficient way is to involve the employees in all necessary aspects. Moreover, share your action plans and keep them involved while conducting brainstorming sessions. It will make them feel important by bringing more design-thinking ideas to the table. Making the employees feel important also plays a vital role in boosting retention.

We hope the above tips prove helpful in identifying the right cultural transformation. Be motivated to put the best design thinking approach in place and witness the improvement in workplace bonding. Experience the most hassle-free work atmosphere and scale your business to new heights.

About the author, Ajay Aggarwal

A Haryanvi by origin, an entrepreneur at heart, and a consultant by choice, that’s how Ajay likes to introduce himself! Ajay is the Founding Partner at Humane Design and Innovation Consulting (HDI). Before starting HDI, Ajay founded the Design Thinking and Innovation practice at KPMG India. His 16+ years of professional career spans various roles in product and service design, conducting strategy workshops, storytelling, and enabling an innovation culture. He has coached 50+ organizations and 2000+ professionals in institutionalizing design and innovation practices. He loves to blog and speak on topics related to Design Thinking, Innovation, Creativity, Storytelling, Customer Experience, and Entrepreneurship. Ajay is passionate about learning, writing poems, and visualizing future trends!

We at Humane Design strongly believe in the human ethos and draw inspiration from humans and other elements of nature to design innovative solutions for organizations of all sizes. We will be glad to be your success partner. Email us your requirements at explore@humaned.in.

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