IBM: Where Design Thinking Is The Corporate Culture

Wired: “For going on four years now, IBM has been working to reinvent itself as a design-led business. In 2012, the computing behemoth employed just one designer for every 80 coders. Today, that ratio stands at 1:20. By the end of 2016, the company hopes to narrow it to 1:15. All-told, the company is investing more than $100-million in an effort to become a design-centered corporation.”

“That plan hinges not only on the company-wide implementation of design thinking—a framework for conducting business that puts users’ (i.e. customers’) needs first—but the establishment of IBM as a leader in the growing ecosystem of design-conscious companies.”

“Its entire design thinking manifesto is now online (link), and if you’re interested, it’s certainly worth a read. If nothing else, it provides fascinating insight into how a massively successful corporation plans to stay relevant amidst the rapidly changing worlds of computing and business. In many ways, IBM’s newfound focus on design is an admission that a good user experience isn’t always as simple as slapping on a new user interface—it can take a total overhaul of corporate culture to get it right.”

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One thought on “IBM: Where Design Thinking Is The Corporate Culture”

  1. Ironically, the manifesto is as poorly designed as anything I’ve seen. It’s verbose, disjointed, organized in a linear rather than random access way, and seemingly endless. If any business organized its processes to be this complicated (for the user), it would be bludgeoned in feedback and on social media.

    When companies first started using business process re-engineering in the early ’90s, the idea was to reduce the often confusing number of steps to a few top-level choices. Underneath those choices, all of the necessary actions were ready to fire, but the user didn’t have to learn, understand, and perform them.

    That’s how American Express vastly improved its online credit verification to prevent fraud (and reduce false positives) and reduced the time required from several minutes to about 15 seconds. A New York bank re-designed and automated its foreign transaction analysis and saved more money in one night’s run than was spent on developing the system.

    If IBM can’t simplify its design manifesto to mimic that kind of simplification, it’s in dire need or remedial training.

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