In today’s digitally driven economy, businesses are increasingly turning to digital solutions to create a competitive edge. According to McKinsey’s book, “Rewired,” nearly 90% of companies are deploying digital technologies and capabilities to create a competitive advantage. However, not all digital solutions are created equal. Some products revolutionize entire organizations, while others seem to fall short of their promises.
So how can we be certain that your digital solutions are truly deserving of being built?
The answer lies in understanding the end user’s needs and having the data that meets those needs. When creating digital products, services, and experiences, it’s important to follow an approach that is anchored both on the user needs and data. These things form the core of your digital innovation. Without them, the user experience doesn’t matter, the technology solution doesn’t matter, and the business model doesn’t matter.
In this blog, we’ll review the key steps you should take to ensure your digital solutions merit creation and deliver the utmost value to you and your customers.
Break through the tech hype.
The hype cycle of technology is a reality we must acknowledge. Businesses often choose to lead with technology and chase after the latest and greatest in the industry, but this approach often results in disappointment. Currently, generative AI stands at the pinnacle of this cycle. We’re seeing a lot of compelling examples of use cases and how this is promising technology. Yet, the question remains whether it can genuinely deliver the sought-after value that businesses crave.
It’s important that we realize the hype of technology and that we stay focused on delivering value that meets the end user need.
Take a human-centered design approach.
There are many methods and ways to gain insight into what’s valuable. Whichever method you choose, make sure it’s founded on a human centered approach. This involves placing a real person at the core of the development process. It’s understanding what their needs are, employing empathy, fostering creativity, and embracing curiosity.
These elements collectively allow us to uncover what truly resonates with people. It also allows us to understand the needs of all stakeholders, as well as the needs of the business, the community, and the environment. When we gain this holistic view and understand what’s clearly needed, we can keep that at the forefront throughout the entire development process. It enables better decision-making and a clear path to deliver informative, transformative, and innovative products and solutions.
So, how can businesses effectively execute a human-centered design approach while maintaining a data-centric perspective?
Build a cross-functional team.
It’s important to build a cross-functional team to develop your digital solution. This means bringing together people from different disciplines, such as design, engineering, and product management. This collaboration of diverse perspectives and mindsets is key to successfully achieving digital transformation.
Traditionally, it is a designer’s job to execute the human-centered design approach. The designer is trained to venture out, conduct research, and ask questions to identify genuine needs. These needs are then refined and clarified, serving as the foundation for ideating potential solutions.
Following this, the engineering team gets pulled in, viewing the user needs through the lens of data. Their role entails pinpointing the specific data requisites needed to fulfill the needs. Data is the “golden thread” that pulls the design and technology team together. Data breaks down the “language barrier” that exists between the two teams.
As a data scientist, my training encompasses mathematics, numbers, and computer science, driving me towards outcomes and patterns in data. However, comprehending data is just a single piece of the puzzle. Equally crucial is the cultivation of empathy. Thanks to insights gained from designer colleagues, I’ve embraced the significance of empathy and integrated it into my approach. This holistic perspective empowers me to make more informed decisions, all while remaining steadfast in the pursuit of delivering products and solutions that enlighten, transform, and innovate.
Clarify the outcome.
To ensure the solution meets its purpose, it’s important to define a measurable outcome that your product, service, or experience aims to achieve. Establishing a relevant KPI (key performance indicator) serves as a reliable compass, keeping the solution development on track towards fulfilling its intended purpose and maximizing its value.
Let’s take equipment downtime as an example. Through a human-centered design approach, you’ve identified a critical problem: when equipment breaks down, on-site repair technicians spend too much time on the phone, lacking essential information to diagnose the problem. Moreover, during equipment downtime, other workers are left idle, unable to perform their tasks. By collaborating with repair technicians, you’ve pinpointed the key insights and data required to diagnose and repair the top 10 failures. Subsequently, you’ve created a digital solution to deliver these insights through a mobile app.
The desired outcome is to reduce the 2-hour average diagnostic-to-repair cycle time by 80%. In this example, the KPI is the diagnostic-to-repair cycle time itself. You can incorporate cycle time measurement into the mobile app experience, allowing your development team to track how effectively the solution meets the established need.
When embarking on your digital transformation journey, it’s essential to focus on the end user need and the data need. To make this a priority, we recommend bringing together cross-functional teams that combine design-centric thinking with technological expertise. This collaborative approach ensures a strong alignment with your desired outcome and results in solutions that truly matter.
In today’s world, building things using digital technologies has become increasingly accessible. It’s no longer a question of “can I build it?” but rather “what should I build?”
At Twisthink, we’ve embraced this mindset. We’ve intentionally assembled a cross-functional team of strategists, designers, and technologists who collaborate to design and build products and solutions that not only align with your business objectives but are also desirable to your end users and technically feasible for value creation.
Are you ready to embark on your digital transformation journey? Connect with us, and our team can help guide you through the process all the way from conception to completion.