Out of the Office

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At a recent Watermark event on Innovation both Ericsson and Intuit showcased their design thinking programs.

Gabriel Broner, the leader of Ericsson’s Innova program, hosted a two-hour design thinking session in which participants redesigned a car interior. It culminated in the participants receiving an Action Worksheet which helps you create a mini-research plan on one-page. The focus was on quick testing of the idea and it’s value proposition.

Kaaren Hansen spoke about the journey of design thinking at Intuit. Of note, they are teaching “elements” of design thinking in modular formats that sound to be more tailored to the audience (e.g., tools for fast prototyping, how to interview). They have different types of “jams” that they help lead (pain-jam, solution-jam, code-jam) which sound like workshops with a specific focus on user pain points, ideation or hacking prototypes.

Their innovation model has combined Lean Startup with Design Thinking.  They look to how many prototypes or experiments are deployed in the field as a success metric. (They are counting >2000!)

She described a good “vision” statement as being ambitious, tangible, memorable, solution-free and focused on the customer. She cited Amazon’s “any book, anywhere in 60 seconds” or Apple’s “1,000 songs in your pocket.”

Similar to Ericsson, they also have reward and recognition programs that allow engineers compete for funding to build out some of their novel ideas and move them towards a product.

Her three lessons learned are:

  • Fall in love with the problem, not the solution
  • Scrappy doesn’t mean crappy (make a good idea into a well designed prototype)
  • There’s no right answer other than getting started