As most of the world’s population is under some form of lockdown, we find ourselves in the middle of an unprecedented social experiment with many people working remotely while staying at home with families. These times have led to friction and frustrations for many however, it has also provided a fertile ground for innovation. Covid-19 has provided opportunities for many product designers and managers to come up with new solution or modernize their existing services to deal with the crisis.
Approaching the issue from a design thinking perspective, we could run design sprints, to solve everyday issues keeping user as the centre of solution. We can follow the steps of Design thinking: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test, and implement to generate multiple solutions and get rapid feedback from users. This could help companies mitigate several issues, make better strategic decisions and innovate more quickly.
Drawing parallels between the steps of design thinking and initiatives taken by some companies, we could understand how agile companies have adapted their business models with this pandemic. Companies which have empathized with their customers and understood their needs and issues have repurposed their offerings. By defining the problem clearly and challenging the assumptions, businesses have come up with new ideas. Distilleries and breweries started producing hand sanitizer, hotels offered their vacant rooms for quarantined travelers and grocery delivery apps leveraged taxi drivers as new delivery networks. Companies like Ford, GE and 3M have rapidly prototyped and tested respirators and medical equipment as the demand for new cars have slowed.
As design thinking allows you to embrace ‘test and learn’ approach and scale new offerings, many offices and schools closed nationwide, are undergoing a learning experiment to operate remotely by putting technical infrastructure in place as well as developing a mindset of accepting the change. Apps are being developed to maintain social distancing and smart watches are being attuned according to Covid safety protocols.
Changes in the organization have happened much faster than it would have pre-Covid-19 period, but still there are many issues which need solutions such as self-diagnosis at home, widespread testing, emergent mental health issues, panic buying, and social distancing caused by lockdowns. Endless design problems with unique challenges present themselves during global crises, and exciting design opportunities abound.
While it is not entirely clear how the future will play out for business, companies need to respond to the challenges with creativity and ingenuity. Using design thinking as an ideology, organisations can innovate, learn and solve complex problems in a highly user-centric way and emerge from this crisis stronger and more resilient.
Dr. Sakhhi Chhabra
SOIL Faculty - MarketingSakhhi Chhabra has completed her Fellow Programme from Management Development Institute, Gurgaon. She has Masters in Marketing from Manchester Business School, UK and Bachelors' in Commerce from Shri Ram College of Commerce, DU. She has qualified UGC-NET and achieved 5th Rank all India and was awarded scholarship for her doctoral programme for 3 years.
She has been teaching core and elective marketing subjects to post graduate students and executives at various MBA institutes like IIM- Rohtak, ICFAI Business School- Gurgaon and Northcap University. She has successfully published research papers, case studies and book chapters in renowned International and National Journals. She has also written articles for newspapers, blogs and magazines. She has presented her research work at various reputed conferences in India and abroad & has been a mentor to students for internship and various clubs. She has keen interest in case study writing and has a Harvard case to her credit. Her main research interest is Digital Marketing, Marketing of Higher education and Customer Loyalty. She is willing to take up new challenges and believes in self growth.