How to learn fastest?

How to learn fastest?

By Scott Lee · 21 September 2016 · 2 minute read

I learned on Saturday at the Design Thinking in Action Conference in Hong Kong that many leading companies are tackling just this issue.  Why? Because he who learns fastest, wins.

Even a 100-year-old company like Li and Fung, a global supply chain management company, is employing design thinkers from Ideo within its business to build creative capacity across 46,000 staff. As Richard Kelly, their Chief Catalyst admitted, the journey is not a linear one, but gradually by starting small and tackling problems where they can, they are forcing everyone to confront the new reality -  that the world will simply not be the same tomorrow.

‘Design thinking’ conjures up many associations but at its core, as Asia Miles’ CEO Stephen Wong said, it is a commitment to putting the customer first.  It starts with empathy for the customer and solving problems that help innovate a better experience. Spreading such a message of customer centricity takes time in organizations, because although many people do want to change they don’t always know how.

We learned from Kai Haley, a ‘Sprint Master’ at Google, that archetypal design thinking steps are now used across their business to help cross functional teams collaborate, learning fast and failing frequently, to sprint their way to deliverables that make an impact through the business. Google now has 300+ Sprint Masters who run design sprints as part of a Sprint Master Academy. Put the customer first, and solve their problems fast.

Elaine Ann, from Kaizor Innovation shared her great tips on applying some of these Western design thinking methodologies in Asia. A lot converges on making it real, especially for the bosses! Showing and educating the before and after, going from insights to end results is key. Her final advice, don’t call it ‘design thinking’ – call it customer centric innovation.

I left the conference suitably inspired that customer experience innovation is firmly taking root in Hong Kong and Asia. As Richard Kelly said, let’s make more happy people and more happy money!