25 Feb Design thinking: how to gain traction on internal ideas.
Take a moment and think about the amount of times you’ve heard something like the following:
- “Good luck getting that through compliance.”
- “That’ll take forever and compliance will just shoot it down anyway.”
- “Even if we had the budget, we’d never get buy-in all the way up.”
In highly-regulated industries (such as finance and healthcare), it’s easy for people to get stuck playing it safe with marketing and the digital user experience. The key to innovating on a new idea with buy-in all the way up to the C-level and compliance is to INVOLVE them in the process. Everyone loves expressing themselves and being heard, and facilitating an environment to do so gives everyone in the organization a sense of ownership. Here are some quick (1 hour or less) breakouts you can run to get more traction for your ideas. You only need space to meet and a whiteboard (I love the 3M poster-size post-its for these, as well)
How to get ideas and feedback early
Phase 1: Concept Poster (30 minutes)
- Introduce an idea: Give the group a quick synopsis on the concept you want to explore (this could be an upcoming project or challenge you’re trying to overcome)
- Split up: divide the team into groups of 2-3 people — make sure to make each team as diverse as possible: include members of development, executives, and designers in each group. It helps reduce executive bias.
- Concept: have each team design a poster ( full size is great, but even a sheet of paper will work for this) around the concept. Each team should be focusing on ways to illustrate the concept / solution. Make sure to include a short summary of the larger idea, all stakeholders, a timeline for developing the solution. Finally, have each team come up with a name for their concept. Taglines help, too.
- Give a 2-minute warning
- Display and rapid-fire presentations: Have each team hang their posters on the wall and take turns presenting each concept (1 minute each)
Phase 2: Rose/Bud/Thorn Feedback (15 minutes)
- Bring participants back together
- Give everyone a set of post-it notes (it helps if you can have 3 colors) and a marker: solicit one piece of feedback per post-it.
- One set of post-its will be for positive feedback (rose)
- One set will be for challenge feedback (thorn)
- One set will be for opportunities (bud) — these can be ways to make an idea even better, or possible long-term benefits
- Have participants start by writing at least one of each for concepts other than their own.
Phase 3: Critique (15 minutes)
- Have the groups stay together around their Rose / Bud / Thorn poster
- Starting with the first group to present, ask the following:
- What do you like about your concept? Share your Roses
- What challenges do you face? Share the Thorns
- Ask the group to build on their original idea, incorporating the buds and adding to them.
- Collect feedback for around 5 minutes before moving on to the next team
- Thank all the teams, and make sure to take pictures of each poster.