Engineering - Design Thinking

V. S. Parathasarthy, Group CIO & President, CFO, Member of the Group Executive Board, Mahindra & Mahindra

Thinking is a function of the brain. Design Thinking principles help organizations, shift orbits and migrate to future leadership position. It’s a synchronized thinking of left brain with right brain, enabling the ‘WHOLE brain approach’.

The three dimensional model of design thinking is ‘Comprehending the Universe, Nurturing Organizations, & Ocean thinking.’

1. Comprehending the universe: Customer has always been at the focal point and business around it. The ‘Digital’ has created an attractive spider-net around business with huge promises & unthinkable alternatives for raising the customer expectations. Needs are getting created day-by-day. Its time, organizations comprehend this universe with customer at the core & products-services around it. Those organizations, who balance the needs through their business models, are moving up to become market leaders.

To discover the unspoken needs of the customers, one needs to use the ‘A-B-C-D framework of KNOWN and UNKNOWN’

A. The Arena gives visibility to understand the customer and service provider well. These understandings need to be formalized in order to get objective clarity and promoting sustainability. Formalise the truth is a rule.

B. The Blind spot originate through assumptions and ultimately affect the customer’s intended usage. One sided working, without getting into customer shoes blocks the empathetic working. The blind spots need to be minimised and Area to be enlarged.

C. The Closed spots are those which Customer doesn’t expect but Businesses anticipate possibilities. These are un-tapped opportunities which sometimes spurt the growth exponentially. Identifying the Closed spots should be a priority for organisations.

D. The Dark sides are the most vulnerable ones to handle. Exposing them and unleashing the power of light in those areas would be the aim. That would mean enlarging the Arena and trimming B C D always.

This comprehends the business universe with customer at the core.

2. Nurturing the organization: This derives the functioning of ‘Human Body’. The Human body has a mandate of Self-retrospection; Performance based internal-triggering, Auto corrections and Continuous improvements. Studying this learning, adopting to business, will build platform of sustainability with continuous improvements.

Let’s look at the human respiration system. Humans breathe throughout their life with fixed frequencies. During odds the frequency goes up & drops in relaxed situations. The breathing frequency world over is same, irrespective of space, time and culture.

Now we have experienced, ‘YOGA’ can improve the respiration norms

• Globally human breathing frequency is 15 to 20 per minute. ‘YOGA’ has potential to drop that to 05 to 10 per minute. ‘Lesser breathing frequency, higher the
life span.’

• ‘YOGA’ never throws the odds out, but improves capability for making it effective. It never automates, eliminates, but helps in improving the breathing capability.

• It improves sustainability of the life and health.

There are N such BODY SYSTEMS in human body, all working together synchronously.

The systems and their synchronization if applied in business along with RACI of systems, people, organizations. [RACI: Responsibility, Accountability, Consulting and Informed] will lead to a healthy and long life organization.

It would mean universal standards can be improved by ‘YOGA’ methods.

3. Ocean Thinking: Seventy percent of earth space is occupied by water. The height, space and health of the same has remained unaltered over thousand centuries. It has managed boundary crouching, bottom volcanoes, moon gravitational force well. It has absorbed the odds from the rivers and also supported the living kingdom within. Still ocean is ocean. A deep look at the Ocean, evolve principles, adopting the same is, ‘Ocean thinking’.

Ocean understands the relation of waves within, manages the ecosystem effectively. While it owns the water within, collects the polluted water, initiates purification, works for making it clean, and makes pure water available to the universe.

Ocean thinking gives new direction to Newton’s 3rd law that states ‘for every action, there is equal and opposite reaction.’

‘For every action, there is a planned and designed action, never a reaction’.

The ‘Whole Brain’ approach is nothing but taking a holistic view of the situations. The three dimensional model of ‘Comprehending the universe, Nurturing the organizations, & Ocean thinking’ forces one, to think out of the world and prepare for the future. It would guide the organizations to be future ready and drive on the transformation journey with the pace of technology.