Posted on: January 20, 2017

A recent report generated by Deloitte University and IT Sloan Management Review revealed that 44% of business professionals (including execs, managers, and analysts) are of the mindset that their organizations are adequately prepping for digital disruption, and subsequently, digital transformation. That’s all pretty great news, but what about the other 56% of organizations that aren’t there yet? Where should they begin in the journey?

Many experts agree that the movement toward digital transformation begins with collaborative teamwork and innovative thinking; specifically, design thinking exercises. Promoting this type of activity, they say, will help to establish an environment in which all persons and departments can be successful. The goal of design thinking, after all, is about more than just a top-down setup and relaying of directives, but is largely focused on bottom-up ideas, suggestions, and innovative technologies across teams. 
Design Thinking 101
So, what is design thinking, anyway? Tim Brown, the CEO of IDO, as well as the writer of “Change by Design”, describes it as “a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs to what is technologically possible and a viable business strategy (to) convert into customer value and market opportunity.”
In other words, tech designers and experts can build upon the various needs that exist throughout your organization as they consider what is and what is not technologically possible, and develop innovative solutions that will improve day-to-day operations and increase sales. 
In order for design thinking to be successful, though, you’re going to have to push for a true team effort and organization-wide collaboration. Everyone needs to be involved with the innovative processes, or else you’re only going to be solving part of the puzzle, thus leaving you with gaps in both the near and long-term future.
For best results, you’ll want to assemble a diverse group of employees, each representing different departments throughout your enterprise. Accountants, for example, think very differently from sales professionals, and artists will think differently from an operations manager. Gathering ideas and opinions from the entire organization will provide you with a wide variety of perspectives from which to draw inspiration from, generating innovations that are developed at the crossroads of each discipline, thus working to the benefit of your business as a whole.
Team collaboration can be done in a number of different ways. Obviously, getting everyone together in the same room in order to collaborate and share ideas is the best course of action, but in cases where this simply isn’t practical or possible, it’s easy to get together and discuss needs and potential solutions with collaborative tools like Microsoft Teams.
Be sure to set some guidelines for communicating across disciplines and departments. The design thinking process is all about positive action rather than negative interference. Encourage your team to build upon each other’s ideas and come up with solutions that meet diverse needs rather than slamming ideas and discouraging everyone from participating.
Design Thinking Leads to Digital Transformation
Digital transformation has been defined by Constellation Research as being, “The methodology in which organizations transform and create new business models and culture with digital technologies.” This goes hand-in-hand with the idea of design thinking. Design thinking simply gets the process started by pushing your various team members to put their heads together and come up with new and innovative ways to solve their common problems and meet their common needs. From here, your tech team figures out what is technologically possible in terms of meeting those needs and goals. With digital transformation, the technological changes are actually implemented and become an ongoing part of your enterprise’s culture and very core. 
But, everything always comes back to team collaboration and innovative thinking. If you don’t create a culture in which team sharing and design thinking are encouraged, you’ll never survive in a world of digital transformation.
Learn more about how Microsoft Teams and other collaborative tools can help prepare your business for digital transformation. Contact the experts at Uncommon Solutions and we’ll help you get started today.