Disruption across all industries has made rapid innovation an existential imperative. IBM Garage is a consultancy within IBM that co-creates with clients across industries to enable them on a new way of working and delivering innovative solutions rapidly. By integrating design throughout the solution lifecycle, IBM Garage drives a laser focus on defining and delivering fast, impactful business outcomes that deliver real value to users, moving from an idea to a production pilot in just six to eight weeks. Pilots are used to gather user feedback, test key hypotheses and decide whether to continue to invest in the idea, expand the pilot, or pivot.

IBM Garage Method for Cloud: Expanding design thinking

At the center of our approach is the IBM Garage Method for Cloud with prescriptive guidance for defining, designing, developing and scaling innovative applications. In the method, Enterprise Design Thinking practices are combined with principles and key practices from lean startup and agile to focus on defining, delivering and validating a minimum viable product (MVP). Agile and DevOps practices are used by cross-disciplinary squads to deliver the MVP in weekly iterations at the direction of an empowered product owner from the client.

We apply ­design thinking to drive alignment between stakeholders and sponsors of an initiative, across business and IT, multiple business units, and within IT across development and operations organizations. The “secret sauce” of the Garage is a two-day Enterprise Design Thinking Workshop where we define an MVP to be built to test key hypotheses. We work across business and IT to ensure that what is being defined is implementable and truly minimal in terms of time and investment. When we do IT-focused projects, we use the same approach to ensure the business of IT is the focus, and that the project itself is also defined in terms of the projected business impact.

Enterprise Design Thinking ensures that what we build focuses on user needs by applying empathy to get to the heart of users’ problems, and to design a delightful user experience. We integrate design within the solution lifecycle with our designers working side-by-side with product owners, developers and architects designing and developing solutions in one-week iterations. Every week we do a playback (one of the keys of Enterprise Design Thinking) to the sponsors and stakeholders to review the progress being made on the MVP and ensure there is alignment on the priorities and decisions being made. Most often, the MVPs are intended to be minimal function pilot production solutions because we find that quickly putting a working solution in the hands of target users gets the highest fidelity feedback and is the shortest path to delivering business value.

The IBM Garage experience: Client stories

What does an IBM Garage experience and MVP look and feel like? Hear from our clients:

How could your business benefit from the IBM Garage experience? Schedule a no-cost visit with IBM Garage.


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