Design Thinking - Is it Worthwhile? Lessons From SAP


Have you ever heard about Design Thinking? What comes to your mind when you hear it? 


CreativityCreation? Innovation?


When I talk about it not only to our customers but also internally to my colleagues, I sometimes struggle to find a single and unique statement for it. And when it comes to KPI's and deliverables it is even tougher. It is just too easy to use terms and definitions as a magic formula to success.


There are a lot of success stories about companies embracing a Design Thinking mindset (Solving Problems with Design Thinking, Ten Stories of What Works by Jeanne Liedtka, Andrew King, and Kevin Bennett, Designing for Growth by Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie). Also on the web, you can find many other stories about great companies and leaders who have been leveraging a Design Thinking approach.




Design Thinking is not a "Miracle Cure"


Considering Design Thinking to be another toolset to be applied for success, will for sure lead to failure.


So the question is how Design Thinking can be relevant for an organization. Or is it only of value for service or product innovation for our customers?


I found a lot of valuable advice in the McKinsey interview with Catherine Courage, Citrix SVP of Customer Experience. Catherine speaks about her experience with Design Thinking and how it can be applied not only for customer solutions but also for CIOs and their internal stakeholders.


"Design thinking is key for CIOs today. Consumerization has raised the expectations of all users. IT should think of its users not as stakeholders but as customers".


This was also the SAP journey to Design Thinking. The journey began in 2004 within Strategy and the Development Organizations. Then it was entirely infused into all the other functions. From strategy to development, from marketing to sales.


Here are the details of the journey: Our history in SAP with Design Thinking.


My internal experience at SAP as well as with customers tells me that Design Thinking might be key to starting a new approach to problem reframing by bringing back the human focus and the empathy that drive our creativity as human beings.

 Read Other Posts About Organizational Change



About the author:

Stefania Sadigh Ershadi is the Customer Innovation Principal at SAP, Italy. She utilizes Design Thinking to engage customers in strategy workshops with a human-centric approach for solving and reframing problems. 


Topics: Innovation, Organizational Change, product innovation, Design Thinking

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