It's Summer, and for most of us in global mobility, things are busy. Very busy. We can easily find ourselves becoming unwilling to deviate from our tried-and-true processes and approaches to work. But, I would argue that this is when some of the best opportunities to change exist. Summer is when the majority of the action is happening and the chance to connect with many people.
For some context, my role at Aires is all about helping others pursue new ways of working smarter and creating better things. Often I use approaches like Design Thinking, which is a framework to navigate the process of problem framing to solutions, all while keeping the focus on people. In my opinion, one of the most significant value adds of design thinking is in the problem framing stage.
For most people, when it comes to solving problems, the default process is to solve the problem through our perspective and skillset (and as quickly as possible). This approach is problematic because we are often solving problems for other people who have a different perspective than we do. Sometimes taking a step back and ensuring that you understand the problem can make a world of difference and ensure you are delivering the right value.
Here are a few practical applications of design thinking that can help you be a better problem framer:
+ Ask "Why" five times. It's as simple as it sounds and can help you quickly challenge your understanding of a problem. This is a great tool to use with a team or as an individual and only takes a few minutes to complete.
+ Create a stakeholder map, a visual that unpacks the various people and relationships within a problem/opportunity space. This can be as simple as listing who the people are and how they interact, as well as adding in other information like their mindset, role/title, responsibilities, etc. Don't worry if this gets messy – and consider starting on a whiteboard or paper so it is easier and quicker to make changes. This is a great tool to use with a group of people because it can quickly orient them to the complexity of relationships. I've used this tool in onboarding new employees to our team and to help evaluate service breakdowns. You can even use it to help business partners understand who and why they might interact with various people on your team.
+ Ask your employees to journal their experience. There are so many touch points in delivering mobility services, and having the employee's perspective can be invaluable in understanding areas for improvement. Getting to that information is not always timely or realistic. With journaling, you could focus on a specific area of a service that you want to improve and ask a handful of your employees to capture details of what they experienced. Consider aspects like who they interacted with, how often, how did it make them feel, what tools did they use, what environment were they in, etc. Set a distinct timeframe for two days (such as one journal each day for a week or an entry morning and evening). To help you assess feedback, ask them to submit entries in real time via a Google or Office365 form that can flow to a spreadsheet. You may also need an incentive (such as a small gift card) to encourage participation. You'll be amazed at what information you can gain that may not show up on typical surveys or casual conversations.
These are just three examples of design thinking methods that you can quickly deploy on the fly or with minimal planning. Don't overthink it, and don't worry if it’s messy. The goal should be to help you and your team think more critically in a time when brainpower is at a premium and timeframes are short.