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The Human-Centered Design Thinking Ripple Effect

Updated: May 23, 2019

If you ask a design expert to explain the benefit of Human-Centered Design Thinking (HCD), you will likely get an earful more than you bargained for. The reason is that there aren’t one or two, but countless benefits to employing HCD.

The Human-Centered Design Thinking Ripple Effect

Using empathy as its main driver, HCD is able to amplify its value, like ripples across the organizational pond. HCD’s unique approach to solving complex problems taps into the emotional drivers at the root of key challenges. HCD practice relies on a mindset of which fosters inclusivity, openness, creativity, inquiry, and qualitative exploration. There are dozens of HCD tools that can be applied to any discipline or existing process. The tools propagate a common language and a set of behaviors that, left to mature, can multiply their influence. The Intersection Human-Centered Design Business Impact Wheel (below) graphic helps illustrate this phenomenon.

The Design Academy’s Human-Centered Design Business Impact Wheel highlights typical departments within corporate archetypes. Through the understanding and adoption of HCD methodology, internal challenges can be met in a new way that focuses on end-users. An organization may experience multiple benefits across each discipline. Engineering departments, for example, using HCD tools are prompted to think more inclusively about their end-users, develop inexpensive prototypes to test more often and define the minimal viable product (MVP) that solves the “right” problem. Human Resource staff may utilize the tools to better empathize with employees allowing them to identify skills gaps, uncover motivations and patterns, or barriers to optimal performance. Building internal HCD competency nurtures empathy and a user-first mentality.

Culturally, widely engaging the HCD methodology engenders a new way of thinking. This mindset shift and related activity gradually influence the overall system behavior. The proactive activity acts as a testament to an organizations promise in the eyes of the employees and consumers. The collaborative nature of HCD tools and close user relationship provide greater transparency to stakeholders into organizational priorities. Transparency of mission to stakeholders allows for validation of authenticity and builds loyalty and trust in the organization. This trust can be invaluable when the market dips or reputational controversy inevitably challenge the organization. Strengthening of the organizational fabric adds resiliency its market fitness and ability to contend with an uncertain future.

Strategically, practicing inclusivity infuses diverse perspectives across the organization that increase awareness of key issues, including environmental and social concerns. A people-centered approach assures companies are constantly in-touch with key stakeholders. This relationship curates more relevant and unique products and services, going beyond second hand reports of industry competitors and, or new features. Additionally, it is easier to detect slight shifts in stakeholder behavior when deeper connections have been harvested. Spotting a new behavior can inspire development of new and innovative solutions. Solving complex problems in a cross-disciplinary team fortifies solutions from multiple perspectives, reducing financial and reputational risk at launch. Ongoing activity around HCD teaches and equips companies to use the tools and how to respond quickly to small and large-scale shifts in the market. This market resiliency brings peace of mind to leaders concerned about future disruption

Human-Centered Design Business Impact Wheel - The Design Academy
Human-Centered Design Business Impact Wheel - The Design Academy

For organizations ready for meaningful change and a desire to compete in tomorrow’s landscape, HCD empowers stakeholders with tangible tools, healthy behaviors, and deeper insights to better position themselves for success.

If your organization is ready to learn about HCD call or email the The Design Academy today.


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