Organizations identify goals that help them succeed, and then align teams to execute initiatives to realize those goals. Simple, right? Not always. New technologies and changing customer expectations are requiring many organizations to re-evaluate how they provide value to their customers and stakeholders. Organizations may struggle with goals that are too abstract to break down into actionable tasks – leaving their teams at a standstill. In such cases, it might be useful for such organizations to consider at a new approach – Design Approach, to facilitate clarity and organizational alignment.
The Design Lab (DLab) of the Hitachi Global Center for Social Innovation–North America (CSI-NA) has developed the Hitachi Design Approach program to help organizations tackle this challenge. Often used to help customers develop products, services and solutions, the Design Approach can also be extended to organizational goals across any industry.
Design Approach is based on empathizing with the perspective of the stakeholder who receives the value of what is being designed. Hitachi offers Design Approach workshops that help participants focus on their stakeholders’ perspectives, discover shared objectives, define a mission statement as a team, identify and prioritize common challenges, and ideate possible actions to overcome those challenges.
In the Organizational Alignment Workshop, DLab facilitators guide the participants to clarify the current condition accurately. They ask, “Who are the beneficiaries of your tasks and services?,” “What is their current role, and what are their related tasks?” “What is the value you are creating for the beneficiaries, and how are you providing the value to them?” and “What are your current challenges?” The highly skilled DLab designers use targeted techniques such as stakeholder and experience mapping, value sorting, and Venn diagramming to define the direction. After the new direction and actions are clarified, the participants finish by identifying how they will put their plans into action to accomplish the goal. By explicitly going through these carefully planned and facilitated exercises, participants solidify their partnership with renewed understanding and respect for each other. This type of team alignment workshop is effective not only for fixed teams but also for short-term dynamic teams to face the same direction. It is also useful for aligning internal team members before customer engagements.
Chizuko Sasanabe, Designer at DLab, facilitating a workshop
Together with the Foresight Cards (Workshop) introduced in the January post, DLab delivers organizational solutions to align each team for clearer goal setting and smoother collaboration across teams to achieve future success. To learn more about DLab, please contact Sadanori Horiguchi at Sadanori.firstname.lastname@example.org.