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Design thinking is not just for visual design. The nonlinear process can be applied to broader corporate initiatives that are trying to solve complex and challenging problems. This is especially beneficial when facing a human-centered challenge like customer experience (CX).
Design thinking is centered on three principles: (1) Empathy, (2) Expansive Thinking, and (3) Experimentation.
Empathy for the customer is essential to any CX initiative, so design thinking is a natural fit. Design thinking starts with understanding the needs, wishes, and habits of the customer, and then brings your team together to drive innovative thinking and ultimately action.
CX programs also tend to be cross-functional and wide-reaching. Gaining the necessary consensus, clearly identifying problems, setting priorities, and defining actions plans can be challenging. Design thinking workshops can help – ultimately delivering specific detailed actions to be completed in short timeframes.
A typical design thinking workshop engages cross-functional participants in a series of half-day or full-day facilitated sessions. Ideally, they are led by a trained facilitator who guides the participants through the process. There is a high level of interaction using small group breakout exercises, visual tools (boards, sticky notes, etc.), and healthy debate. The “magic” of the workshop comes from fostering innovative ideas, collaboration, and increased buy-in from participants. All of which leads to an actionable plan that will enhance the customer experience and drive your CX strategy forward.
The following is an example roadmap for the workshops. Note that these sessions can be done in-person or virtually leveraging digital collaboration tools.
Workshop 1 – Define the Vision
Workshop 2 – Understand the Customer, Build Empathy
Workshop 3 – Improve the Customer Journey
Culture is the aggregated outcome of how people in an organization normally behave. Infusing the design thinking principles of empathy, expansive thinking and experimentation in your CX initiatives influences that collective behavior over time. Ultimately, it will lead to an acceleration of your CX initiatives, and a better journey for your customers.