The changing climate of the business ecosystem and the future of work poses the need for more and specialized talents in the workplace. HR professionals need to begin to rethink how we help our businesses and talents to better identify, understand and address challenges in an innovative way. Design thinking is a driver for innovation as it empowers HR professions to be solution-focused over process owners. For HR to be more relevant and innovative, there is a need for a paradigm shift in our we solve for our organizations.

It’s no news that Design thinking methodology to problem-solving has begun to take center stage on the business table. Professionals have also asked for conceptual clarification on this subject matter and what makes it a different approach.

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My thoughts on the session delivered are captured below:

1. Design thinking starts with ‘Need finding’

As HR professionals do we understand our business and its strategic intent enough? Are we connected to our employees /talent enough to understand what it takes to retain them?

Are we conducting more of stay interviews ‘what can we do to make you stay?’ Instead of exit interviews? This is the first step to design thinking. If we don’t understand our customer’s needs, how then can we proffer innovative solutions to meet their needs and add value?

2. Choosing a problem space

Where’s the opportunity to add value? It takes our ability to iterate both left and right sides of the brain and deliberately narrow down to what problems we want to solve or where the opportunity to add value exists. Who, what, when, how & why.

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3. Fitness for purpose

Who are we creating solutions for? We should refrain from a blanket approach, let’s remember it’s about the user(employee) experience. We should ensure our solutions directly fit into or address the need/ problem we are trying to solve.

4. Co-creation, Participation and Involvement

This helps to foster user acceptability and in the HR parlance employee engagement. We shouldn’t be seen putting together our employee value proposition without involving or seeking input from our employees (users). This gives the opportunity for collaboration with the business and also room for employees to align their purpose with the business imperatives. They take more responsibility and ownership when businesses co-create with their talents.

5. Emphathy! Emphathy! Emphathy!

Putting ourselves in the shoes of others will enable us to understand and be more sensitive to the needs of others when embracing the design thinking approach, which is geared towards problem-solving. HR needs to wear the hat of the business and its talent and find alignment.

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The future requires problem solvers and not administrative experts. We cannot therefore effectively solve problems if we do not understand and embrace the essence of design thinking.

About the Author 

Lara is a seasoned Human Resources senior executive with local and global best practices spanning across various industries. She is a certified coach with expertise cutting across HR Transformation, Talent & Career Management, HR Strategy, HR Metrics & Data Analytics, Organizational Development, Training, Performance Management, Talent Acquisition & Retention, Workforce planning, HR Coaching, Succession Planning, etc. 

You can reach her on LinkedIn here.

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