Design thinking is a viable strategy for organisations tasked with delivering customer experiences, according to guests on the latest Which-50 podcast.

Originating in architecture in the 1960’s, design thinking has recently been applied to business strategy with intriguing results.

In the fourth Which-50 podcast, Editor in Chief Andrew Birmingham is joined by Michael Buckley, managing director of Accenture Interactive, and Joe Cincotta managing director of Thinking Group, to discuss design thinking and why it may be key to organisational realignment.

Before considering the ins and outs of design thinking, the group discussed what was driving the shift to customer centricity, agreeing rising consumer expectations, particularly in digital, where forcing organisations to respond.

“Our customers and consumers have complete liquid expectations,” said Buckley.

“The best customer experience is the brand we choose.”

He said these expectations and a focus on customer experience means Accenture “now has that exact design thinking led methodology”.

Cincotta agreed, adding design thinking is often necessary for organisations looking to innovate and develop a “self sustaining customer centric experience strategy.”

According to Birmingham, design thinking is still not widely understood or implemented and he asked his guests for an explanation on what design thinking was.

“Design thinking is a process. It’s actually a framework that you use for coming up with solutions,” said Cincotta.

“It can be applied to anything.”

According to the group the theory is underpinned by empathy for and focus on the customer. It’s about viewing brand interactions through the lens of the consumer and identifying how to create positive customer experiences. Then designing products or services around that experience.

Often it’s a considerable shift for organisations and as always, culture becomes critical.

“Change management is huge component of the outcomes of this. Both during the phase, because in order to change or rethink a service or product, because that product basically effects every part of the organisation,” said Buckley.

But for those who get it right, it potentially becomes an avenue for generating momentum in shifts to customer experience.

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