Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Design Thinking and Agile

Recently, while doing a course on Design Thinking from University of Virginia Darden School of Business, I had an Aha moment. While Design Thinking focuses on once off design of a product but Agile talks about continuous improvement. Then how do Design Thinking and Agile gel in an Agile-oriented organization?

Before diving into Design Thinking vs Agile, let’s take a step back. Is continuous improvement only way forward in an Agile organization? If the answer is NO then how innovation should be looked into an Agile organization?

In any organization, continuous improvement happens at two levels:

  • Incremental continuous improvement
  • Quantum jump or break though

Incremental continuous improvement results in numerous small improvements in a process or a product which add up over time and results in significant improvement.

As the name suggests quantum jump or breakthrough results in phenomenon improvement in a short duration of time.

Due to natural lethargic nature of organizations, productivity and efficient gained between two consecutive breakthroughs sag and distance between consecutive quantum jumps increases.

To keep the upward trend two quantum jumps and reducing the distance between quantum jumps any organizations need a fair intake of incremental continuous improvement.

An Agile organization may utilize Design Thinking as one of the tools for the quantum jump while incremental continuous increment keeps the lights on.