The magic triangle: team – room – process
All three components have to be right. The team must be composed of open-minded people from different disciplines. The room should encourage thought. Boards for sketches, scribbles, notes and Post-its should always be available, as should materials for handicrafts. There should be no limits to immediately making note of ideas and trying them out. Standing desk, table, chair, sofa, cushions? The main thing is that everyone feels at ease and that the most important point is not sitting around a meeting table in an orderly fashion. The room has to provide space for ideas.
Rule number one: there are no fixed rules.
Think of possible design thinking processes like a toolbox. What is inside? What tool shall we try? Should we combine different tools? Let’s give it a go!
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Keep the Change – the pop star among design thinking cases
A prominent example of how a smart, innovative solution was found using design thinking is the ‘Keep the Change’ campaign from Bank of America. Bank of America employees and the innovation agency IDEO spent two months researching the life situations, desires and needs of baby-boomer mothers in Atlanta, Baltimore and San Francisco. They visited the families at their homes, and looked over their shoulder as they did their household accounts, their shopping and made payments in restaurants. They carried out lots of spontaneous interviews on the streets and in shopping centres and gained insights into people’s real everyday lives everywhere where using money was involved.
Is small change the key to success?
It became clear that many of them rounded up their entries in the household accounts so that they would be pleasantly surprised at having more money available at the end of the month. For card payments in shops, too, some of the women rounded up amounts for the sake of convenience. Another finding was that, for various reasons, many mothers found saving difficult. The team members put themselves in their place and saw two aims that they could support with a product from the bank: firstly, for a better overview, rounded amounts should be shown when checking finances. Secondly, savings should be bigger than expected. A suitable new product idea was developed with product managers, financial experts, software developers and business managers.
20 brainstorming sessions, one idea makes it through
After more than 80 concepts were developed in 20 brainstorming sessions, just one idea was preferred. With every card payment, the amount should be rounded up and the difference transferred to a savings account. 1,600 female customers tested the product, which was a roaring success. New features were added during the implementation phase and the idea was refined to make it market-ready. The name ‘Keep the Change’ was developed in a focus group.