Practicing Continuous Innovation, IDEO Style

Tim Brown, the CEO of design firm IDEO, has a new book called “Change By Design.” It talks about how large organizations can infuse “design thinking” into the company’s DNA. Who can practice design thinking? Everyone. According to Brown

The design thinkers I have described here are not minimalist, esoteric members of an elite priesthood, and they do not wear black turtlenecks. They are creative innovators who can bridge the chasm between thinking and doing because they are passionately committed to the goal of a better life and a better world around them.

One of the examples that Brown uses is Kaiser Permanente. Guided by IDEO’s support, a Kaiser team redesign the nursing staff shift change at hospitals. The internal group followed a design process, including videotaping, brainstorming, role playing, and prototyping. The redesigned shift change process enabled nurses to visit with patients twice as fast and raised satisfaction rates for both nurses and patients.

My take: I agree with Brown’s focus on infusing the elements of design into an organization’s DNA. One of the 6 New Management Imperatives that I’ve defined is: Turn innovation into a continuous process. Innovation shouldn’t be left to a handful of people or focus only on big-bang events.

There’s a strong overlap with these concepts and customer experience as well. A correctly implemented Voice Of The Customer program represents a form of continuous “Design Thinking.”

The bottom line: Either innovate continuously or fall behind consistently.

About Bruce Temkin
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, marketing, interaction design, customer service, and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

2 Responses to Practicing Continuous Innovation, IDEO Style

  1. Bruce,
    You and Tim have tapped an important vein here. I have been seen in a black turtleneck, nonetheless I have found “design thinking” or continuous innovation you describe as key factors to big improvements to customer experiences and performance.

    I would add two more key ingredients, and wonder if you agree: 1) Clearly define the essential need (problem or desire) your product, brand or organization is out to solve. 2) Define an ideal, or target customer or patient experience. These 2 things combine to give you kind of “end in mind” or litmus test against which design thinking ideas and actions can be evaluated. Your thoughts?
    LCI

  2. Pingback: Practicing Continuous Innovation, IDEO Style « Customer Experience Matters « Fredzimny's Blog

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