Design Thinking

The Business Value of Design Thinking

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Design thinking is a 21st Century skill that anyone working in any industry can benefit from.

Here at IBM, our design thinking framework—which is tailor-made to the speed, scale and complexity of the global enterprise—is helping our diverse teams move faster by aligning around the needs of our users. Design thinking is helping us deliver better products to the market, faster. And it is even changing the way we engage with our clients to meet their ambitions.

Five years after launching a renewed program of design and design thinking, IBM has added more than 1,600 formally-trained designers. We have built a global network of more 50 studios where our design teams are working and co-creating with clients and users. And we’ve established this collaborative and multi-disciplinary practice of design thinking as the new way for our teams to address complex problems with a human focus.

Through this renewed commitment, we’ve seen designers and non-designers alike adopt our framework, and change the way they work. In fact, now 114,000 IBMers of all disciplines and backgrounds have received their design thinking certification through our Enterprise Design Thinking badging program. That means nearly 1/3 of IBM’s global workforce is putting their users first and applying our design thinking methodologies on a daily basis.

Still, time and time again we’ve heard the same question: What is the business value of design thinking? Now, thanks to a new study by Forrester Research, we have some answers.

Forrester Research studied IBM’s design practices and has determined that our unique approach to design and design thinking results in a dramatically faster and more efficient workflow, it is yielding a massive return on investment for both IBM and our clients, and it shows that IBM is a clear leader when it comes to enterprise design thinking.

Here are just a few of their key findings:

Forrester has determined that teams that are applying IBM’s design thinking practice and are adequately staffed with design talent are getting to market twice as fast as without. These teams are seeing as much as a 75% reduction in design and development time.

As a result of this faster pace of work, Forrester discovered that design thinking teams are consistently cutting costs, reducing risks, and ultimately increasing profitability. One health and human services organization slashed their number of defects by well over 50% through effective use of design and design thinking. This more efficient workflow is resulting in a calculated ROI of more than 300%.

Furthermore, in a blind survey of senior leaders at top companies 52% of respondents linked IBM with design thinking expertise, more than all other companies combined. This clearly positions IBM as the leader in enterprise design thinking.

Now more than ever, we’re able to see the true value of design and our design thinking framework and what it means for our global teams and the people and companies we serve. This study is further proof that any and every organization can meet the challenges of today’s market by adopting this new way of working.

IBM Distinguished Designer

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