Tag Archives: Human-centered Design

The Rebirth of Blogging Innovation

The Rebirth of Blogging Innovation

Join Us Here at Human-Centered Change and Innovation

Fifteen years ago I started writing Blogging Innovation on a cumbersome platform called Blogger.

It started as a place to share my observations and insights about business and innovation. Leveraging what I learned operating and optimizing the marketing engine powering what is now VRBO.com from Expedia, Blogging Innovation grew.

Blogging Innovation drew an increasingly large audience and its mission grew into:

“Making innovation insights accessible for the greater good.”

This led me to invite other leading innovation voices onto this growing platform to broaden the chorus of voices across a range of innovation-related specialties and topics.

I had the opportunity to go out and do video interviews with luminaries like Dean Kamen, Seth Godin, Dan Pink, John Hagel, and many others, sharing them with you on the blog and via my YouTube channel.

A global innovation community was born with Blogging Innovation transforming into Innovation Excellence and then into Disruptor League before I stepped away.

Recently I posted a slideshow on LinkedIn of the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2020 and in communicating with the authors recognized for their contributions on the list it surfaced that people would be interested in contributing guest posts here.

Please follow the link, give it a like or leave a comment on LinkedIn supporting your favorite author on the list or add a name of someone I should watch for this year’s list.

Because people expressed interest in contributing articles to Human-Centered Change and Innovation, I’ve decided to allow some guest posts from select authors.

Here are the first three:

1. How to Conduct Virtual Office Hours
by Arlen Meyers

2. Innovation organization only thrives along with innovation culture
by Nicolas Bry

3. Catalysing Change Through Innovation Teams
by Janet Sernack

If you’ve contributed articles to Blogging Innovation in the past and are interested in contributing to Human-Centered Change and Innovation, please contact me and I’ll set you up with a user account.

Topics of particular interest include:

  • Innovation Culture
  • Innovation Methods
  • Change and Transformation
  • Human-Centered Design
  • Behavioral Science and Economics
  • Customer Experience and Insights
  • Employee Experience and Engagement
  • Organizational Psychology

Keep innovating!


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Why Sometimes Being Certifiable is a Good Thing

Certified Design Thinking ProfessionalRecently I became a Certified Design Thinking Professional (CDTP) through the Global Innovation Institute (GInI).

I’m sure you’ve probably heard someone say that an individual is certifiable. In the negative context of the word it means that an individual is “officially recognized as needing treatment for mental disorder” according to the Oxford Languages dictionary.

BUT, there is of course a positive meaning to the word certifiable as well – “able or needing to be certified.”

I’ve been doing human-centered design, or what some people refer to as ‘design thinking’, for more than twenty years – since I built Symantec’s first web-based technical support and customer service capabilities. But, despite decades of experience I’ve never bothered to get certified. So, why now?

Well, recently I finished building and launching a Design Thinking program for Oracle customers similar to Salesforce Ignite, Deloitte Greenhouse, EY Wavespace, SAP Leonardo, etc. Now as I explore a range of potential new opportunities to tackle next, there is one inescapable fact that presents itself very quickly:

Companies are extremely risk averse as they evaluate potential vendors and employees, and so they place a great deal of value on diplomas and certifications as a way of decreasing the perceived risk of hiring the services of a new employee or contractor.

This is valuable to the individual as well, but certifications help to increase the knowledge and confidence for the person too. And, tools like the Applied Innovation Master Book (AInMB) contain not only valuable information about design thinking, but also about innovation in the bargain. And, the Applied Innovation Master Book gives you one place to jump back to for selecting the methods you want to leverage each time you engage in a new design challenge.

So, does it make sense to get certified in everything you could possibly get certified on?

Maybe not. But, there are definitely times where being certifiable is a good thing.

Keep innovating!


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Why Your Digital Transformation May Be Doomed to Fail

Why Your Digital Transformation May Be Doomed to Fail

Digital Transformation, like Innovation, has become an overused buzzword that is losing its meaning. Whoever created the Wikipedia page for Digital Transformation defines it this way:

“Digital Transformation (DT or DX) is the adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology. Digital solutions may enable – in addition to efficiency via automation – new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhancing and supporting traditional methods.”Wikipedia

This definition is too focused on technology as the source of the transformation instead of the transformation being driven by the needs of customers and employees. In my view, technology should always be seen simply as a tool to help achieve the desired human-centered transformation.

Too often the SaaS and Cloud vendors co-opt the true practice of digital transformation by trying to claim that a shifting from on-premise software to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is somehow a digital transformation or that going to the Cloud is the secret to everything that troubles your organization.

None of this of course is true in and of itself.

This definition of digital transformation from EnterprisersProject is a bit closer to the truth:

“Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. It’s also a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure.”

But, even this definition doesn’t go far enough…

Number One Reason Your Digital Transformation May Be Doomed to Fail

The primary reason your digital transformation will fail or take much longer than you expect, or possibly even than you can fund, is the failure of the organization to put the customer and the employee at the center of its data model and to be able to construct a fully-linked and coherent picture of every customer and employee’s body of interactions/transactions/experiences across the enterprise.

When you lack this ‘single source of truth’ and this ability to connect everything together, you greatly increase the chances that your well-intentioned digital transformation will fail or will be abandoned when you run out money.

Defining What Successful Digital Transformations Look and Sound Like

Successful digital transformations are human-centered transformations empowered and accelerated by the proper use of technology in support of the desired experiences and outcomes. You can’t have a human-centered transformation without a human-centered data model. You also can’t have a human-centered transformation without a holistic understand of what information customers and employees are looking for, what information you have, what they want to do using your digital infrastructure, what they can do with your digital infrastructure, and where the gaps are.

One of the many tools in the Change Planning Toolkit™ is a series of worksheets that help you explore these foundational questions for a successful human-centered digital transformation.

While you can improve the organization through a judicious use of technology in absence of a consciously designed human-centered data model, you cannot digitally transform the organization without doing this difficult work.

The disruption that many startups attempt against the incumbents is achieved because they start with a human-centered data model. Their approach leverages technology where appropriate to add value and remove friction from the human-centered design of their customer experience instead of trying to force customers to use new and often disparate technology experiences. It is a subtle but important distinction. We must be careful not to let the servant become the master.

So, what is driving your digital transformation?

Do you need help creating a human-centered design?

If so, contact me.

Change Planning Toolkit Backed By Million Dollar Investment

Image credit: Pixabay

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Fix the Problem or Design it Out?

Fix the Problem or Design it Out?

Let’s start with the problem.

According to The Plastic Pollution Coalition (January 3, 2017) – “It’s National Drinking Straw Day! Each day, more than 500 million plastic straws are used and discarded in the U.S. alone. Plastic straws consistently make the top ten list of items found, according to Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup data. In the last three years, plastic straws have climbed the list to the Number 5 spot.”

The Paper Straw Movement

In response to this growing problem, in January California made it illegal to give customers plastic straws unless they expressly request one.

Another way some restaurants have tried to to fix this problem has been to replace plastic straws with paper straws.

Or then there is the tasty fix to the problem, the cookie straw.

Starbucks Cookie Straw

But there is another way to approach problem solving, and that is to design out the problem instead of trying to fix it.

Recently a barista at Starbucks accidentally gave me a lid on my water cup that I wasn’t expecting.

I had heard that Starbucks was planning to reduce their use of the iconic green plastic straw, but I kind of assumed that meant they were shifting to paper straws like some other quick serve restaurants, but that is not what they have in mind at all.

Starbucks is instead planning to eliminate the plastic straw.

Instead of focusing on the straw they instead chose to focus on the lid and design it in a way that a straw isn’t even necessary.

Starbucks Sippy Cup

So, next time you’re wrestling with a problem and trying to solve it, look at it in a slightly different way just for fun, try asking yourself how you could design the product, service, or experience (or all three) in order to design out the problem.

You may or may not get to a more viable, desirable, and feasible solution than trying to fix the problem.

But, looking at the problem from a range of different perspectives is always worth the effort.

Keep innovating!


Accelerate your change and transformation success

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.