In September, MURAL attended DesignOps Summit 2021 and co-hosted two workshops with Andrew Webster, Vice President of Transformation at ExperiencePoint, on scaling design capability. During the workshops, Andrew covered how Design teams can attract better internal projects and how to transfer essential capabilities, with a particular focus on co-creating and measuring successful outcomes.
Read on for a summary of the discussion, videos to watch the workshops on demand, and useful templates to help you put Andrew’s recommendations into action.
Why build design capability?
Not everyone in the organization needs to or can be a designer. Jeanne Liedtka’s latest research, from her book Experiencing Design: The Innovator’s Journey shows that for someone who is a non-designer, the amount of energy that it takes for them to move from novice to intermediate is huge — but the return on that investment is also huge. And this is what we’re talking about: Not getting everyone to be a full-on designer, but getting everyone good enough to do two things:
Be better internal clients With foundational knowledge about design, team members can now come to the Design team with a better understanding of what they actually need and how long it can actually take, allowing them to collaborate more effectively and efficiently.
Bring better projects With a better understanding of the parameters of design, the work other teams bring to your Design team can be more appropriately scoped and possibly have some of the introductory steps started by these other teams, like prototyping, divergent thinking, and more.
When most organizations are seeking to build capability, be it human centricity, design, innovation, and so on, they focus on either skills or conditions. A skills focus might mean providing design thinking training for your employees. But what we’ve come to learn is that a changed person, in an unchanged environment, is a frustrated person. If employees are learning valuable new design thinking skills but leadership isn’t bought in, the team won’t have the resources, tools, and data they need to put these new abilities into action. A conditions focus might mean having a consulting firm come in and restructure your organization.
There is a way to balance skills and conditions to meet the business outcomes you’re trying to achieve. Following the key Jobs to be Done for scaling capability can help you get there. You can use the Jobs to Be Done framework to shift your perspective to observe markets, customers, needs, competitors, and customer segments differently making innovation far more predictable and profitable to help your team scale your design capability.
Let’s take a quick look at one of the jobs: getting the right team together with the right focus and a defined vision. This core team are the heroes that launch a transformation, providing the early creative contributions and advocacy that drives real change. Without the right stakeholders on board, you’ll have a limited range of inputs and solutions that don’t serve everyone. This can lead to work having to be repeated and a loss of credibility for the core team.
With your core team in place, you’ll be able to create a team charter and define what success looks like for your organization.
Your team charter should establish ground rules for how the core team will work together — after all, collaboration is impossible without effective communication. With a team charter, you'll outline the essential elements of your team's communication and define the team’s values, norms, roles, success metrics, and quality standards in order to focus and guide your team.
Next is creating your vision of success — in other words, defining your success metrics and KPIs.
Why does defining success metrics matter?
While ExperiencePoint was working with one of the largest automobile manufacturers in China, they had an assignment to build innovation capability at their company. They met with their core team and asked how the team would determine success from the scaling of innovation and design capabilities across their organization. The company replied with the benchmark of releasing a car on the market that was a product of design thinking. But realistically, this would take at least 3.5 years, while their CEO was looking for ROI within three months. Ultimately, their success metrics were misaligned.
To avoid misalignment at your organization, consider these four types of KPIs when defining your success metrics.
Programmatic KPIs: What you’re going to do, build, or make to achieve the capabilities you’d like to see. For example:
Behavior impact: Evidence of positive behavior change. For example:
New insights synthesized through user observation
New ideas generated through collaboration
Feedback received on rapidly developed prototypes
Perception impact: Improved attitudes such as:
Client satisfaction measures (e.g., NPS)
Employee engagement measures
Project impact: Value saved or created. For example:
Time and/or money saved
Increased sales of existing offers
Revenue from new offers
Where do you start for disproportionate impact?
When you’re trying to change behavior at scale like this, it behaves like and has all the complexities of a social movement. So how do you decide where to start to demonstrate impact around the KPIs you’ve defined?
Start by selecting the projects with the greatest social influence, using this scale:
Potential for impact is great and the likelihood is high If we could make some meaningful motion here, the payoff would be huge.
Dissatisfaction with the current approaches and solutions We know this is solvable, but so far, our efforts to solve it haven’t succeeded — so there’s little risk in trying something new.
Positive results will emotionally resonate with a broad internal population This is the sort of thing that people would hear about and be excited.
Once you’ve selected where to start, execute the project according to these key principles:
Chunk, don’t sprinkle Concentrate on >50% of a population, such as a business unit.
Describe what connects them This goes beyond design thinking — it’s about the common vision everyone is pursuing.
Build the right skills and the right conditions What in the organization needs to change so that behavior can? What habits can your team build upon?
Watch the full workshops
ExperiencePoint is a world-leading innovation capability-building company. They help organizations build the skills and conditions for innovation to thrive and become self-sustained. Their proven system is outcome-focused and delivers lasting business results. They immerse companies in an approach that puts customers, and their needs, at the heart of everything they do, empowering your people to be confident and creative problem solvers. Their method is simple, swift, and scalable, which is why they’ve been trusted by over half of the Fortune 100 for more than 25 years. If you’re ready to innovate and change the way you work, you can start today, and they can help you run faster than you ever thought possible. Learn more about ExperiencePoint on their website.
💡 To learn more about ExperiencePoint and their innovation capability-building framework, check out their weekly blog, The Prototype.
MURAL for Design teams
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