3 minute read 18 Dec 2019
175138221

How can design thinking transform the quality of your service?

By

Lawrence Landeloos

EY VODW and EY Belgium Advisory Executive Director

A conceptual thinker passionate about customer-centric innovation, future trends, and personal growth hacks.

3 minute read 18 Dec 2019

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The principle of focusing on the human dimension of a service and product is enabling organisations to better serve their clients.

Design thinking seeks to break free from traditional and rigid task-orientated approaches to doing business. It encourages collaboration among teams, the pooling of knowledge and creates the space to experiment with new ways of working.

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Five basic principles

At its core are five basic principles: it is people focused, tailoring solutions to actual need and not devising them in the abstract; it is inclusive, gathering expertise from a wide range of players operating in different areas, which might not always have been included.

Design thinking is also optimistic, being founded on the belief that change is possible and beneficial. It also fosters the confidence to test ‘pilot-phase’ ideas in the marketplace before refining them based on the feedback received.

The final principle of design thinking is to ensure that teams are comfortable with taking on problems that don’t have a clear answer and developing solutions that are often unfinished and ‘messy’.

Design thinking should not be considered as a theoretical endgame to be reached, but rather as a facilitator of increased collaboration and a more client-centric approach.
Lawrence Landeloos
EY VODW and EY Belgium Advisory Executive Director

Woven into the organizational fabric

These principles have been widely diffused throughout EY and the consultancy is now spreading the word to its clients. But they need to be fully understood to make a difference. Design thinking is not the last step of the process; it should be woven into the very fabric of an organization.

Ideas are introduced during on-the-job training, so that staff members can take a lead role in their implementation and become co-authors of new people-focused approaches. This process can be facilitated – structured sessions can yield results quickly – until team members are more experienced and become comfortable with the principles. The focus should be on creating an environment where this transition can flourish.

Tangible results

An EY client specializing in legal insurance has experienced first-hand the transformative impact of design thinking. The client had a very qualitative financial product, but it wasn’t receiving sufficient market traction. Instead of just focusing on further product refinements or marketing initiatives, EY carried out a thorough examination of the problem using a wide set of human-centric research methods.

In discussions with both the brokers and the end-users (SMEs), a few things became clear. Brokers felt uncomfortable to sell this more complex product, they have limited SMEs in portfolio, while SMEs didn’t understand the need for this product. To overcome this gap, EY developed a few tailored concepts to allow the broker to better and easier explain and discuss the product, such as a digital legal risk calculator that demonstrates clear advantages to potential customers. Two years after the exercise, the product demand trebled, conversion rates doubled, and the average premium grew x 2,5.

The end point is to not consider design thinking as a concept, but as something embedded in the DNA of the organisation.
Lawrence Landeloos
EY VODW and EY Belgium Advisory Executive Director

Improving interaction

In fact, the growing popularity of personalized insurance and healthcare options are areas of particular relevance for design thinking. The five principles provide a working framework for improving the interaction of companies and their prospective clients.

However, Management has a key role to play in making this thinking an eventual success. It has to create an environment that stimulates this mindset in their teams, where they look to cooperate with colleagues in different departments and are comfortable with trying new things that may not always work. Better informed teams that are driven to achieve the wider mission, rather than specific tasks, can have an incredible impact.

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Summary

Design thinking puts people at the center of products and services. It seeks to create an atmosphere in which teams can be collaborative, unafraid to experiment and pioneering. Companies that encourage and allow this new way of thinking to permeate their organization can expect to achieve tangible results.

About this article

By

Lawrence Landeloos

EY VODW and EY Belgium Advisory Executive Director

A conceptual thinker passionate about customer-centric innovation, future trends, and personal growth hacks.