IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - January/February 2018 - 12
Reflect on learnings to drive
Make the best ideas, based on
meeting users' needs, a reality
Many companies have teams
that are well-organized. They
each work toward a spreadsheet
of product requirements.
Sound familiar? While the teams
invest a lot of critical thinking
and resources, their process
For example, "if you ask a
team what human experience
they're working toward, they
can't articulate that idea
holistically," Hill says. "A
typical result is a product with,
metaphorically if not actually,
a large number of dials and
knobs that in sum is very
difficult to understand and
use. It's well-engineered, but
not well-designed for its users."
Design thinking guides
innovative engineering and
design with user outcomes.
Within IBM, this approach
was used to redesign an HR
system. HR staff, designers,
design researchers and others
worked toward a solution
that enabled more interaction
between managers and staff,
and less bureaucracy.
Organizations have options for getting started with IBM Design Thinking.
"Design thinking has generated excellent results, and companies are
now embracing it," says Charlie Hill, IBM Fellow, vice president, Platform
IBM offers a series of courses to help clients apply design thinking to their
business. The courses include a set of practices that can be applied to any
business. Organizations can use the series on their own, or IBM consultants
can provide the information in workshops.
Learn more: ibm.co/2AczH3g and ibm.co/2BlOupX
starts with a new
searches for a
way to use it.
"They were able to think
through an experience that allows
continuous interaction and is
more enjoyable and motivating for
both employees and managers,"
Hill says. "Now, because of that
process, we have IBM Checkpoint,
which is a business experience
and process that offers a more
engaging way to discuss goals and
leads to better outcomes."
IBM clients are also finding
success. A large bank asked
IBM to redesign the tooling and
applications for its financial traders,
who had to switch between 23
apps to do their jobs. IBM brought
together people from across various
disciplines and enlisted traders to
articulate the problem and help
The traders, called "sponsor
users," helped design the new
trading terminal. Their input
guided designers and engineers,
Shaping the IBM z14
To understand the value of design thinking, look no farther than the latest
generation of the mainframe. IBM worked with clients to understand their
challenges, then designed the new IBM z14* platform to solve those pain
points. The process entailed conducting hundreds of hours of interviews with
more than 150 clients and working with sponsor clients who were directly
involved in the design and proposed capabilities.
Design thinking also proved successful with recent encryption work on the z14
system. A design researcher in IBM Z* led an effort to engage sponsor clients to
design and develop pervasive encryption capabilities in a human-centric way.
12 // JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 ibmsystemsmag.com
and prioritized needs. The result
was an innovative training
station that delivered the tools
needed to be successful and
conduct trades faster.
"The trading terminal was
extremely successful," Hill says.
"The team was able to go from
an early design state to having
working stations very quickly."
Into Corporate Culture
As IBM clients learn about design
thinking and see the benefits, they
become interested in applying it to
their business, Hill says. "We are
working with many clients to help
them on their journeys to embrace
The opportunity extends
beyond employing design
thinking on a given project, he
says. The real opportunity is using
it in a scalable way that becomes
part of the corporate culture.
"In the end, if someone is not
getting better value and a better
experience from your products,
they will go elsewhere," Hill
That premise is very broadly
applicable. Almost any project
can benefit from design thinking.
"You're trying to compete for your
consumers' hearts and minds,
whether it's concern with a
product, a service or even simply
a process. If you're not using
design thinking, then you're on a
path to failure," he adds.