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Design for change in uncertain times

12th Nov 2020
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2020 is a year of change. At a rapid pace, we all had to adapt to the effects of the pandemic and change our usual ways of working, educating our children, interacting with each other, and conducting business. Change affected all of us in similar ways, but our ability to adapt to change varied.

Change management specialists highlight that most change initiatives fail. The reason why is inherent in our biology and brain structures. Those structures have been optimized over billions of years to keep us safe, yet sometimes, this well-organized system gets in our way. And this is where neurosciences and psychology help us understand three key elements:

  • What it means to adapt to change
  • Why it can be difficult to change
  • What we can do to be better prepared for change

What we can understand at an individual level, we can apply to organizational structures … as they are, after all, a collective of human beings, driven — without their knowledge or control — by their biology.

Harness design processes and principles for change and resilience

I often interact with leaders charged to deliver a “top-notch and future-proof” concept, product, or new service. This happens when organisations rely on the design thinking or service design process as a guarantee for future-proofing. Indeed, those models’ representations look simple on paper, but that’s what representations are meant to be … in reality, things do not look as simple.

User experience researchers working in what we call “the fuzzy front end” are comfortable with uncertainty. So are service designers, who are comfortable saying how little they know about what they are going to find when they start a service design initiative … and that’s the right attitude.

Design can help companies understand their ecosystem today, grasp its complexity, make sense of it, and experiment with potential futures in a controlled way — helping them to be more resilient. In that sense, design is a powerful tool for change — as the one and only constant is change.

Lean more about the topic design for change at CX EMEA 2020.
The article was written by Forrester Senior Analyst Karine Cardona-Smits and originally appeared here.

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