Shifting trends are forcing technology companies to reimagine their value proposition. IBM has chosen to create disruption through design. In embracing the future, the company is essentially invoking its past. Back in 1956, IBM was the first large company to establish a corporate-wide design program. But this time, the company’s goals are more ambitious.
Recently, we interviewed Karel Vredenburg, Director of IBM Design’s worldwide client program and head of IBM Studios in Canada, who told us, “We’ve put everything into this transformation.” The company is investing more than $100 million in becoming design centered. Read More
In recent years, the Hindi word Jugaad has gained popularity as a synonym for frugal innovation—that is, the ability to do more with less. While the concept of Jugaad came out of developing nations such as India, the concept has garnered interest in the developed economies of the West. This trend has arguably occurred after a half century of relative wealth. Consider, for instance, the British wartime call to arms on the domestic front to “Make do and mend.” The idea of frugality is not simply about making things cheaply. Companies, particularly well-known Western brands, have hard-earned reputations they need to maintain. For these companies, frugality means staying true to their brand values while, at the same time, delivering additional value to the customer. They may accomplish this by
reducing overconsumption and waste—Thus, a company can deliver environmental benefits as part of their corporate social responsibility.
engaging with a broader range of users—This may mean delivering value in new markets or engaging with customers who the company had previously excluded from consideration by virtue of their age or disability.
making their product-design, development, and production processes more decentralized and flexible—This helps the company respond more quickly to market trends and opportunities—functioning like a fleet of speedboats rather than a single supertanker. Read More
One program I helped develop and now lead at my company is an innovative, deep-level customer-engagement program that combines design thinking, business-value analysis, and enterprise architecture to help potential clients look at their business challenges in a different way. Rather than focus on features, functions, or even software in general, we focus on helping clients to better understand their business needs and frame them in a way that prevents their seeming insurmountable or like something they could fix only through a massive investment in the wrong technologies.
Overall, this is a highly successful program that has really unlocked benefits for our clients, as well as our own company. In general, our win rate is rather high when we get involved, so many clients want to engage with us—and not just one time but for a longer-term, strategic level of engagement. While that is an achievement for which we are striving, nothing is perfect. So, even when we get involved, we don’t always win. When we don’t win, we often become discouraged and beat ourselves up about what we could have done differently to prevent our losing. Read More