I’ve never explored inside a multinational company before, when entering to deliver our first workshop in Norway I was truly amazed by the scale and amount of suits! We were holding the workshops inside the brand new innovation centre, which was behind a vaulted door and surrounded by the latest communication technology from other companies. I remember my first thoughts being this company see innovation as a secret activity and mostly technically focused. But from my PhD, there are three ways to deal with technical advancements, (a) do not let the technology in (b) to let the technology in without questioning the purpose, (c) critically let the technology in, by considering the purpose and value for all people involved. The latter would always be preferable, but sometimes there is no time to stop and think. So during the workshop we were providing a moment in time to come together to critically think about the use of technology to add value to their customers.
We had gathered people from across the different sectors of the business to explore ‘How do you develop a customer-centric organisation and design a service to demonstrate the thinking in practice?’. When setting up the workshop I remember there were a little surprised that we were only using paper and pens. But for us it was more important to have a conversation across the business sectors to explore the current customer journey, the value they offer the users and pain points in the process. The real value was in having a good conversation, helping them to see the bigger picture and reconsider why they do what they do for their customers.
In these workshops I felt a little out of my depth, I had never heard of KPIs or ROI, but I did like being the outsider, helping the employees to become an explorer in their business. Given them permission and the freedom to dare to explore – so they can find the treasure for themselves. In times when I feel out of my depth, I always turn to capturing and reflecting on the conversation. This led to mapping the conversations, which took place during the workshop, which was really helpful to helping Arne and myself to providing an overview of the workshop to the client. But also following every workshop, I asked Arne to reflect, on what worked? What did not work? What was so so? It allowed us not only to fully understand what happened in the day, help develop a better programme for the next workshop. From these conversations, we started to say, we start with ‘Plan B’, but we are always looking for ‘Plan A’ – looking for ways to have a better conversation.
I will never forget my first explorations inside a large multinational – the business culture and design culture are so different, but I see a lot of value in the exchange!