Design Thinking approach to “Business transformation”

Many businesses are prisoners of their past success. Their business model and its components (including sales, marketing and organization) that served them well in the past may not be effective any more in current environment.   Revenue growth is suspect, revenue predictability becomes difficult and operations untenable.  Business have to reinvent and redefine themselves in terms of increased Productivity, Better Sales, Efficient Functioning for which they’ll have to undergo Multiple, non-standardized set of Changes and be bull-headed against resistance at various stages of the process till it reaches the desired goal. Changes are a necessity when efficiencies are low, outcomes paring below expectations and growth is alluding.

In our experience of helping many business transform, we have relied on a design thinking approach for managing the transformation. For us design thinking is an approach that employs suite of tools to unlock complex problems and solve them using untapped potential. The broad framework we use in business transformation consists of five stage: Evaluation (E), Visualization (V) – Definition (D) – Implementation (I) and Sustain (S). In the first stage of business transformation, we conduct an as is analysis of the organization: Its process, decision making styles, products, systems, alliances, sales and marketing approaches, etc.  Next stage involves visualizing various patterns of change by consultants and the organizational members. The objective is to enumerate all possible approaches that may be embraced to create a better PSPD business. P stands for profitability, S for sustainability, P for predictability and D refers to de-risk. Solutions are discussed and vetoed by the transformation committee and the implementation committee consisting of members across functions and at different levels within organizations draw their implementation plans, seek investments and other approvals and own roll outs. Process changes, and associated measurement tools are tracked and discussed both at implementation committee level and strategic transformation group level.  The iterative process involving all key decision makers is useful to bring out the risk perceptions and dogmas affecting the behaviour. From our own experience of working with Quest, Prosim, Nsoft and others, this stage is very useful to know the limits of growth and extensibility of the organization. Teams explicitly probe for efficiency improvement by adopting any of the following strategies: consolidation, elimination, outsourcing and co-creation.

In next stage, from the complete set of patterns, the group defines plausible state that score high on  desirability, feasibility and viability.   Desirability looks at quality of short term and long term outcomes of following an approach. Feasibility refers to whether the outputs (in short term) and outcomes (in long run) are achievable. At what cost is measured by viability.  Once the approach is identified, prioritization of changes and tactics are expounded using PCCIO framework. All implementation actions are prioritized and pursued based on (P)urpose, (C)omprehensiveness, (C)onsistentency, (D)elivery, (I)mpact and (O)utcome.

In our experiences, many finer changes to sales structures, partners and marketing happen over period.  We adopt P2O (Purpose, Ownership, and Outcome) approach to sustain changes. Creating process, product and change owners at all levels helps in pursuing the right changes over time.

Dr TR Madan Mohan and Sanjay R.M.

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