Abstract

Corporate business and management are embracing design thinking for its potential to deliver competitive advantage through helping them be more innovative, differentiate their brands, and bring more customer centric products and services to market (Brown, 2008). As consumers continue to expect more personalisation and customisation from their service providers, the use of design thinking for innovation within organisations is a logical progression. To date however, there is little empirical literature discussing how organisations are setting about integrating design thinking into their culture and innovation practices. This paper is a first step in initiating a scholarly discussion on the integration of design thinking within organisational culture. Deloitte Australia is a large professional services firm employing over 5700 staff in 12 offices across Australia. The company provides a range of services to clients in the areas of audit, tax, financial advisory and consulting. In early 2011 the company made a strategic commitment to introducing design thinking into the organisation’s practices. While it already maintains a strong innovation culture, to date it had largely been operating within an analytical business environment. For Deloitte, design thinking is an opportunity to create better outcomes for the people they serve – both internal and external stakeholders (Brown & Wyatt, 2010). Research was conducted using case study methodology and ethnographic methods from June to September 2011 at the Melbourne Deloitte office. It involved three methods of data collection: semi structured interviews, participant observation and artifact analysis. This paper presents preliminary case study findings of Deloitte’s approach to building awareness and a consistent understanding of design thinking, as well as large scale capability, across the firm. Deloitte’s commitment to transforming its culture to one of design thinking poses significant potential for understanding how design thinking is comprehended, enabled and integrated within a complex organisational environment.

Keywords

design thinking, design thinking practice, design practice, organisations, organisational learning, organisational culture

COinS
 
Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

From Concept to Capability: Developing design thinking within a professional services firm

Corporate business and management are embracing design thinking for its potential to deliver competitive advantage through helping them be more innovative, differentiate their brands, and bring more customer centric products and services to market (Brown, 2008). As consumers continue to expect more personalisation and customisation from their service providers, the use of design thinking for innovation within organisations is a logical progression. To date however, there is little empirical literature discussing how organisations are setting about integrating design thinking into their culture and innovation practices. This paper is a first step in initiating a scholarly discussion on the integration of design thinking within organisational culture. Deloitte Australia is a large professional services firm employing over 5700 staff in 12 offices across Australia. The company provides a range of services to clients in the areas of audit, tax, financial advisory and consulting. In early 2011 the company made a strategic commitment to introducing design thinking into the organisation’s practices. While it already maintains a strong innovation culture, to date it had largely been operating within an analytical business environment. For Deloitte, design thinking is an opportunity to create better outcomes for the people they serve – both internal and external stakeholders (Brown & Wyatt, 2010). Research was conducted using case study methodology and ethnographic methods from June to September 2011 at the Melbourne Deloitte office. It involved three methods of data collection: semi structured interviews, participant observation and artifact analysis. This paper presents preliminary case study findings of Deloitte’s approach to building awareness and a consistent understanding of design thinking, as well as large scale capability, across the firm. Deloitte’s commitment to transforming its culture to one of design thinking poses significant potential for understanding how design thinking is comprehended, enabled and integrated within a complex organisational environment.

 

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