Design Thinking - An Imperative for Digital Transformation During The Pandemic & Beyond

Design Thinking - An Imperative for Digital Transformation During The Pandemic & Beyond

Design Thinking - An Imperative for Digital Transformation During The Pandemic & Beyond

Prior to the onset of this global pandemic, experts were already predicting an exponential adoption of digital technologies and were encouraging businesses across all industries to engage in the digital transformation journey. 

With the dramatic worldwide economic and workforce changes we have been experiencing as a consequence of this pandemic the predicted timeline has markedly accelerated and it has now become an imperative for companies to start or accelerate their digital transformation process. It is now considered critical in order for them to remain viable and/or to retain their competitive advantage in a highly disrupted, digital and virtualized environment.

Even during favorable economic times, the road to a successful digital transformation was filled with hurdles and challenges, requiring a comprehensive strategy and disciplined deployment.

Given the financial pressures and disruption in business operations due to the pandemic, it is now even more difficult for companies to design, deploy and complete all the stages of digital transformation.

To start the journey these organizations or businesses would need to complete a careful environmental risk analysis to understand what has changed in their value stream, what new stakeholders have emerged and what new forces have disruptive potential. Afterwards, they would need to understand what has changed in their customer base. Have they lost customer loyalty, have they gained any new customers or is there an opportunity to enter new markets? Additionally they would have to reevaluate support from their boards or investors and if needed be prepared to pivot or realign the business model.

After these domains have been addressed, they would need to plan a digital strategy that is harmonized with their general enterprise strategy. Additionally they would have to carefully select and build a digital portfolio that will ensure their ROI and long term sustainability.

There are several methods to accomplish this, however the application of design thinking principles seems uniquely suited for a volatile and complex post-pandemic ecosystem due to its agile and human-centered approach.  

There are 7 core design thinking stages: empathy, definition, ideation, prototyping, selection, implementation, and feedback. It allows for increased speed of implementation, improved user satisfaction and cost savings.

So how would a design thinking powered digital transformation playbook look like? 

Change the culture by shifting to a human-centered mindset, encourage creative confidence in all employees and the leadership team, express empathy for all stakeholders, and embrace uncertainty.

Complete an honest risk- and voice of the customer analysis to create an environmental resilience map.

Encourage all employees to brainstorm, ideate and submit their proposals in order to create a viable ideas funnel.

Design, build and test a minimum viable live prototype or pilot and schedule playback sessions within the organization and with key stakeholders to receive valuable feedback.

Throughout this process it would be essential to maintain transparency and open communication with all employees as that will facilitate engagement, acceptance and successful deployment. 

After these stages would be accomplished the focus would shift to crafting a state of the art implementation plan in order to ensure long term sustainability and revenue generation.

As stated, design thinking is only one option in the armamentarium available to business leaders. However due to the emphasis on user experience and outcomes, its ability to empower diverse teams and a process that encompasses an ongoing innovative loop it is this author’s opinion that design thinking should be considered as a methodology of choice during this crisis and beyond.

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Dr. Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes

Innovation Expert

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes, MD MBA Is a healthcare executive, futurist and globalist who is highly dedicated to digital and ethics advocacy. She is a Forbes Business Council member, digital strategist, passionate educator and entrepreneurship ecosystem builder, known as an expert speaker, board advisor and consultant. Throughout her career she has received several awards for excellence in research, teaching or leadership. She is the recipient of numerous awards most notably: WBAF World Excellence AwardSocial Entrepreneurship 2021, Top 20 Global Leaders in Digital Twins Technologies, Top 50 Global Leaders in Health Tech,Top 50 Global Ecosystem Leaders, Top 100 Visionary In Education Award 2021, Top 100 Global Women in Leadership Award 2021, Top 100 World Women Vision Award, 2021-Innovation & Tech, Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise 2021 (nominee),Top 50 Global Thinkers (Nominee),Nations of Women Change Makers Award(finalist),Top 100 Healthcare Leader 2020 Award, Top 100 Finance Leader 2020 Award, and Top 100 Women in Crypto 2020. Additionally, she serves as an Expert Advisor to the EU Blockchain Observatory Forum, and was appointed to the Board of UN Legal and Economic Empowerment Network. Dr. Vasiliu-Feltes is CEO of Softhread Inc., the Founder and CEO of The Science, Entrepreneurship and Investments Institute, and currently serving as a Country Director for WBAF USA, Senator of WBAF, Faculty Member of the WBAF Business School-Division of Entrepreneurship, and teaching the Executive MBA Business Technology Course at the UM Business School. She is also acting as the Chief Innovation Officer for the Government Blockchain Association. Most recently she served as President of Detect Genomix, Chief Quality and Safety Officer Chief and Innovation Officer for Mednax, Chief Quality and Safety Officer and Chief of Compliance for the University of Miami UHealth System During her academic tenure she taught several courses within the Medical School, as well as the combined MD/PhD and MD/MPH programs. Throughout her career, Dr. Vasiliu-Feltes held several leadership positions and is a member of numerous prestigious professional organizations. She holds several certifications, such as Bioethics from Harvard, Artificial Intelligence and Business Strategy from MIT Sloan, Blockchain Technology and Business Innovation from MIT Sloan, Finance from Harvard Business School, Negotiation from Harvard Law School, Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Stanford Graduate School of Business, Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management, Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Patient Safety Officer by the International Board Federation of Safety Managers, Master Black Belt in Lean and Six Sigma Management, Professional in Healthcare Quality by the National Association of Healthcare Quality, Manager for Quality and Organizational Excellence, by the American Society for Quality, and Certified Risk Management Professional by the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management. Additionally, Dr. Vasiliu-Feltes is an Honorary Advisory Board Member of several companies, as well as an Editorial Board Member for several international publications, an author and TV/Media partner.

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