Many of us, stuck in the trenches of Design Thinking, have to challenge the status quo.
We have to convince, cajole, or fight with people to effect change. Change goes against established Orthodoxies or cultural norms, thus you would have likely heard a lot of: “Son, this is how things have always been done here…”
Kelli Richards, a 12 year Apple veteran, shares some of her tips to help get you going. (Words in brackets are mine.)
- Create a risk profile for your current strategy the way you would for a new opportunity. Looking at the trends you already know about—and considering you’ll inevitably face some that you so far don’t—how does maintaining the status quo increase your risk? (Map out relevant trends that is going to make your existing business model outdated.)
- Show how the steps you recommend can lead to an increased return on investment, keeping in mind that you’ll need to define ROI in a way that resonates with upper management. (This may not always be about money. Customer loyalty, increased traffic, brand awareness are good alternatives.)
- Shine the spotlight on indecision and help teammates get more comfortable taking action with incomplete information. Ask, “How much do we really need to know before making a decision?” (Also remind your team mates that when we made a decision, it was based on the information we knew then.)
- Diplomatically resolve turf wars that hold the company back. When new products risk cannibalizing old businesses, emotions unavoidably get heated. Still, it’s better for an internal department to innovate than for an external competitor to gain an advantage. (Better us then them.)
Brian Ling (Design Sojourn)
Brian is a multidisciplinary Design Leader with more than 18 years of experience leading strategic design programs that drives successful Brands and Fortune 500 businesses such as GE, Philips, Nakamichi, Flextronics, Ericsson, Hannspree, and HP. His passion is in helping organisations leverage on Design Driven Innovation to make people’s lives better.