„Design Thinking aims at improving the customers‘ life“ – Interview with Handelskraft speaker Florian Müller from projektUP!

Geschäftsführer projektUP! – Florian Müller
Geschäftsführer projektUP! – Florian Müller

Daily routine is full of tasks and challenges and you always want to find a solution, accomplish a mission or reach your goals. Normally, you just face it and deal with it all in, what makes you waste so much energy. However, have you ever wondered if there are other efficient and effective ways to do so? The answer is yes: Using a problem-based and problem-solving strategy. You identify an objective which can be a problem, a task or a situation and think up the best solution for it in a practical way. Design thinking takes this approach further putting customers in the center of every activity the company is doing and offer solutions and ideas to improve and enrich the customer experience.

In a recent interview, Florian Müller, from projektUP!, has shared some first approaches, on how Design Thinking can help companies to put customers in the center of their actions, anticipating to customers’ needs before they even have them. He will host a session on this topic at our Handelskraft Conference 2016, so you can get the whole insights on Thursday, February 18.

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is difficult to pin down into a single definition. For me it provides a link that brings teammates and colleagues together around a common goal: make the people’s or customers’ life better. It’s not rocket science. It´s a methodology for innovation which combines creative and analytical approaches and requires collaboration across disciplines.

Are there any best practices in Design Thinking?

There are two illustrative examples which are showing us the enormous potential of Design Thinking.

The Morgan Stanley Children´s Hospital of New York City
Imagine you are a father or a mother of a 5-year old child. For whatever reason your child is sick and his or her brain must be scanned by a magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) scanner. These machines are extremely loud, nerve-racking but harmless and safe. The only problem is that – if you have to be scanned – you have to lie for around 20 to 30 minutes in the scanner. Not allowed to move. For an adult person like you it´s not a big thing, but for your child this situation will be totally different, out of its all-day routine. Most of the time the only way to keep him quiet and avoid any movement is to give him or her some medicine to keep him or her silent. Not a very lovely idea

In the Morgan Stanley Children´s Hospital in New York a Design Thinking team found another solution. To make the brain scanning process a less frightening experience for children, the hospital designed its radiology room to look like a pirate-themed room, with the centerpiece being the magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) as a pirate ship.

To complete this room, the hospital worked with General Electric to design and install the scanner. The bold, colorful decor of the room makes it instantly lively and welcoming, a far cry of how medical facilities usually look like.

How will the postman bring us our parcel when in the near future more and more pedestrian areas will be implemented in city centers? How will the postman get there? He cannot run back to his car for every single parcel. So what is the solution?

Bring.buddy – via social networks DHL will recruit normal people like you and me to deliver the parcels of other people. The process of recruiting the people and delivering the parcels was developed by a Design thinking team. So if in the near future someone is ringing at your door and giving you your parcel, but does not look like your postman or neighbor you know why.

Design Thinking is becoming a mainstream tool for innovation. How can it help the companies to focus on customers?

Design Thinking puts the customer of your product or the user of your service in the center of all activities necessary to develop your new product or to implement the new service. In a nutshell, this is the whole secret around Design Thinking.

So if you want to change your way of developing products from „we are good at something and, therefore, we sell it“ to „we want to sell products our customers will need in the future without knowing they will need it“, Design Thinking will help you.

Could you give us an overview about your session for the Handelskraft 2016?

In our session we will make a short tour through the Design Thinking Process, we will look at innovation, in general, a real experience in Design Thinking. And, of course, there will be some time for Q&A.

Which strategies will trend during 2016 in Design Thinking? Is there a market standing out from the crowd in the implementation of Design Thinking?

There are two major trends I would like to mention: one is the whole process of digitalization and the questions that come together with this transformation: What do our customers need from us and how can we offer the best service? For example the whole insurance business and banking sector will deal with these questions because more and more small and flexible Start-Ups are coming around the corner which focus totally on service and small solutions and which can be disruptive and strong competitors for the established players and companies.

From my point of view, the second market are development aid and the social sector. Why? With the refugee crisis, we are confronted with one of the biggest challenges in Europe since 70 years. We will not find solutions by shutting down our borders, by pumping money into the countries of origins or by giving up our responsibility to the public authorities and saying they should do their job.

I think, together with all the important activities and programs, we need to implement many small, flexible solutions for the refugees, the volunteers and the authorities. Like Welcome-Apps providing information or apps for the translation between German and Arabic. I don´t want to say these apps will solve the refugee crisis. But they can be a small, but very powerful help.

We would like to know what your expectations for the Handelskraft Conference 2016 are?

I am really looking forward to making new contacts and having interesting and also controversial conversations. :)

If you don’t want to miss Florian Müller’s session “Design Thinking” as well as many other interesting presentations on topics like “Du bist, wo du kaufst” by Johannes Altmann, you can book your ticket to the Handelskraft 2016 here!

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