Sep 7, 2020 | Better workplace, consultant, consulting, Design Process, Design Thinking, Design Thinking and Business, Uncategorized
Design Thinking is a creative process for problem-solving. It has a human-centric approach and helps identify new ways of seeing and understanding a problem. It is a solution-based approach because it focusses on finding solutions rather than focusing on fixing the obstacles and limitations. It focuses on people first by knowing their needs, understands related problems, and come up with effective solutions to meet their needs. In other words, design thinking is a process to come up with meaningful ideas to solve peoples’ problems. Design thinking has evolved from a range of different fields like engineering, business, and architecture. However, this applies to any area based on the processes and methods used by the designer.
We keep on facing problems in our lives/ and desire to solve them, but it is sometimes difficult to find the right solution or even where to start. That’s where the “design thinking” ideology comes in, as it helps to solve complex problems by approaching it from the user’s perspective. Design thinking is explained in various design and business schools across the globe. It has helped many businesses to become more customer-centric and come up with new and innovative solutions. It helps organizations develop better products, services, and internal processes.
Design Thinking Process
As mentioned above, the design thinking process is highly progressive and user-centric. It is foremost to know the principles which form the base of the design thinking process. Christoph Meinel and Hary Leifer of the Hasso – Plattner Institute of Design, Stanford University, California has laid down four principles of Design Thinking as listed below-
- The Human Rule –
- The Ambiguity Rule
- All design is re-design
- The Tangibility Rule
Based on the above four principles, The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford (aka the d.school) describes design thinking as a five-stage process as below-
- Empathize – Involves understanding the users’ needs in their frame of reference. It marks the first stage of the design thinking process as it helps to identify the wants, need, and objectives of the users. To do it appropriately, the designer sets aside all his/her assumptions and understands the user on a psychological and emotional level to gain a real insight into their need and wants.
- Define – Its time to identify the problem statement based on the information collected in the empathize stage. You analyze the users’ needs and problems and synthesize them to develop a problem statement in a human-centered manner. Instead of defining the problem as per our wish, like “We need to get our client base in small and mid-size businesses” a much better way to define the problem would be, “Small, mid-size and many startups need HR support to run their operations at a nominal cost”. It is from this stage that the designers gather great ideas and establish features of products and services to address users’ needs. This stage advances the designer into the third stage by asking meaningful questions to explore ideas for solutions: “What business-aligned services we offer to benefit the SMBs in their smooth operations”.
- Ideate – This stage challenges our assumptions and triggers to generate ideas. The problem is apparent at this stage, and it’s time to brainstorm ways to identify solutions. The knowledge background from the last two phases helps us identify the feasibility and quality of ideas to find innovative solutions. The point is not to get a perfect idea, but rather to come up with as many ideas. It’s advisable to use sketching as it becomes easier to communicate the idea.
- Prototype – This is an experimental phase intended to find the best solution to problems identified in previous stages. The solutions are investigated and are further accepted, improved, or rejected based on users’ experience. This stage helps the designer get a clear idea of problems, still to be addressed before the final interface with the user.
- Test – This is the final stage wherein the designers test the best solutions identified during the prototype phase. It is time to revisit the problem statement and make sure the end solution is meeting the needs identified in the initial stages. Designers also make some alterations and refinements to develop a more user-centric solution. This stage also redefines one or more further problems and moves you to earlier stages making the design thinking an iterative process.
Thus, the design thinking process tackles problems by empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping, and testing solutions, and brings ideas to life, eventually resulting in successful products or services. It also fosters creativity and innovation towards complex problem-solving in a highly user-centric way. Design thinking process can be used at every level of business and also by individuals to develop better alternatives for both business and society.
Jul 31, 2020 | HR Consulting, Uncategorized
We have seen the challenges small and mid-size businesses face in managing the greatest asset – its workforce. Often leaders are endowed with the responsibility of overseeing HR but lack of knowledge and tools creates multiple complications. It’s very important then to view HR from a perspective of a specialized HR consultant or firm as they can bring a lot of structure, order, and professionalism to business by developing one organization’s HR strategy. But companies struggle to identify an appropriate time to hire an HR resource. Small businesses spend around 18 – 40 hours a month on HR-related stuff as they fail to consider and hire an HR specialist at the appropriate time. It’s imperative then to identify when to hire an expert for managing HR issues.
Before we identify the appropriate time let us just know some situations that draw your attention towards hiring an HR resource.
- When hiring becomes a challenge in the absence of JDs
- Attraction and retention of potential employees becomes a challenge
- When there is a mismatch between the company’s culture, environment, Vision and Mission
- The company lack HR processes resulting in improper business functioning
- The organization is struggling to become compliant with laws and regulations
- Identification and alignment of core competencies with organization goals is a challenge
- When there is no T&D plans and the company is looking to create one to improve performance
- Organization need help to build healthy employee relations
- The company needs to develop an appropriate PMS process
- Management needs consultation and solutions on HR related matters
The above situation is alarming for the organization to look for a dedicated HR resource or a Consultant to take care of its HR needs. Any business growing in size and complexity demands to hire a specialized HR but sometimes it is tough to decide as the above-mentioned situation mostly arises with increased headcount. Now to avoid critical situation business owners should keep other factors also in consideration and look for HR resources beforehand. The best way to identify and do this is to plan the HR resource when the business decides to do the following –
- The company has chalked out periodic growth plan – When you have rapid expansion plans it’s nice to have dedicated HR resources who can support recruitment, on-boarding, and other HR matters to run the operations smoothly.
- Building a company’s culture – Business owners are aware of the culture they want to build in their company but have no time to develop it effectively themselves. An HR expert can help to set out, create, and protect the desired culture and strategically develop it along with business growth.
- Looking to establish strong communication – People forms the core of any organization and HR acts as a bridge to connect them with Leadership. A proper HR communication strategy keeps the employee engaged and help them succeed. Organizations that plan for the long run prefer to link corporate communication to business strategy to develop effective and consistent business operations. An HR expert can help to develop a formal and comprehensive communication strategy to establish consistent communication with employees and help build a recognizable employment brand.
- Build on employee relations – Business leaders who believe in developing a happy and productive workforce, plans to establish good employee relations. Such an organization promotes healthy employee relations at the workplace to extract the best out of each individual. So if you are having the same belief, hiring a People expert seems to be a viable option. A human resource professional plays a key role in binding the employees and act as a mediator in preventing and resolving workplace issues. But this skill doesn’t come naturally to every start-up founder, so it’s advisable to hire an HR consultant to strategically handle the matter of employee relations.
- Business needs more attention – When the owners handle HR responsibilities themselves, keeping cost at a minimum and sacrificing time to focus on more revenue-generating activities, then it’s time to look for a dedicated HR professional. They can help you upgrade your HR and takes it to the next level while you take care of your business.
We cannot undermine that HR forms an essential part of any business. Small businesses without a clear defined HR role and well-trained HR professional face many challenges on their HR front. Whether you have one employee or 100, people management is always paramount. So thinking of an HR early would be a wise decision to avoid a messy situation. A right HR approach in any business maximizes efficiency as it helps find and retain employees important for growth and meeting company objectives. It is advisable to let go of certain HR responsibilities to an expert with a clearly defined HR strategy at the appropriate time.