Jump-Starting Design Thinking

August 25, 2016

To survive in today’s world riddled with disruption, organizations need to embrace a culture of innovation. Such a culture needs a good dose of creativity along with a process that can unearth solutions focused on resolving customer’s needs. For Pointwest, Design Thinking is the answer.

In 2013, the organization ventured into User Experience (UX), which utilized Design Thinking as an approach for creating meaningful User Interfaces (UI) for users. During that time, UX made known the importance of understanding the users – their behavior, quirks, and pain points, and making it an imperative requirement for designs.

The approach also emphasized the involvement of the users in the design phase.  Getting their feedback at each critical aspect of UX design was crucial. Designing the user journey, the information architecture, the layout, and the interactions were vital to create user interfaces that users will actively use in their day-to-day tasks.

UX design eventually became a required step in the organization’s application development methodologies.

This led to the question: “Can UX design be used to create meaningful solutions outside of user interfaces?”

Design Thinking or User Experience

In this world of acronyms and buzzwords, there is that tendency to use different words to describe one thing. Or at least something that belongs to the same circle of concepts. Design Thinking, UX, Human Centered Design (HCD), and Service Design all pertain to processes and methodologies aimed at designing products and services around the actual needs of the customer.

With UX focused on creating meaningful User Interfaces, Pointwest chose Design Thinking as the approach to empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test, and repeat/refine for non-UI needs. The idea is to utilize Design Thinking in creating meaningful products, services, or programs with the customer always at the heart of what has to be done.

UX Designers and Pointwest Labs’ product designers are at the center of the effort to make people aware of the methodology. They are to act as guides and oversee the proper use of the methodology. After all, design thinking is synonymous to thinking like a designer in creatively solving problems.

This approach is already being rolled out to the organization.

Making People Aware of Design Thinking

“In any effort to introduce a new methodology, the first step is always ‘appreciation’,” Sherwin Pelayo, Pointwest Labs Head.

In August 2016, a workshop to make Design Thinking known was run for Pointwest’s leaders with Sherwin Pelayo as the instructor. The Institute of Design at Stanford (Stanford’s d.school) Virtual Crash Course Playbook was used as the guide for the exercise. Instead of the Gift-Giving Project, a different project or objective was introduced; something more relatable to the participants.

d.School Design Thinking Processd.School Design Thinking Process

To show support for the effort, senior leaders also joined the first batch of participants.

Beng Coronel, Pointwest president, partnered with Jo-Anne Loquellano-Cruz, Pointwest Labs Founder, to design a solution for the given problem. Renato Quizon, Business Development Executive Director, teamed up with Rene Canlas, IT Security Head. Jowee Reyes, Executive Director for Administration and Finance, went through the exercise with Randy Dichoso, Project Manager for Finance and Retail, as her partner.

Beng Coronel with Joanne Cruz Designing a SolutionPointwest President Beng Coronel going through the Design Thinking A-Class

“The workshop was met with a lot of exchanges in ideas, and poked at creativity skills that I didn’t know I had,” Rene Canlas, IT Security Head.

Dubbed as the A-Class, the appreciation workshop was customized to fit the personalities of the participants in the organization. Instead of the standard 1-hour session, the pilot workshop lasted 2 hours. Since then, the workshop has gone through design iterations itself, and tested during succeeding sessions.

A Collage of pictures from the Design Thinking A-ClassSnapshots from the A-Class workshop for Pointwest leaders

The A-Class will be run strategically for the rest of the organization throughout the year. This includes running the workshop for Pointwest resources in the United States.

Nurturing a Design Thinking Culture

Sherwin shared that the program does not stop with the A-Class. There are 2 supplemental workshops that resources have to go through to complete their “Design Thinking Certificate.” Part of the program will be to use the Design Thinking approach to tackle real-world problems of the organization.

Nurturing the Design Thinking culture requires a combination of encouragement, guidance, and gentle prodding. An online Design Thinking community in the organization serves as a sounding board for ideas and discussions, and questions.

Benefits of Designing Thinking for Existing and New Clients

Imagine having engineers with a mindset of solving the pain points of customers. This is one of the goals of introducing Design Thinking into the organization. Software engineers that take the customer’s experience into account while working (consulting/designing/developing/testing) on their projects can think out-of-the-box (or eliminate the box altogether), suggest improvements, and, eventually, enhance the experience of the client’s customers.

“Design Thinking is all about empathy and putting the customer at the center of everything. Isn’t that as basic as it can get – but the benefit it provides to the solutions we develop is as boundless as it can be! So it goes without saying that adopting the Pointwest Design Thinking is the only way to move forward.” Beng Coronel, Pointwest President.


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Founded in 2003 by pioneers of the Philippine Global Sourcing industry, Pointwest creates value for its list of satisfied clients — including top Fortune 100 and local companies — with world-class IT and BPM services backed by international-standards methodologies and innovative practices.