In this age of the experience economy, innovation is the mainstay of every organization’s agenda. Increasingly, organizations are looking toward developing their capabilities to develop innovative new products and services that bring a significant business impact. While substantial resources on research and development are critical for the development of such innovations, more and more firms are innovating their most significant competitive advantage – human capital – by transforming the way human resource management and development operates. Design thinking (DT) is a proven approach in renewing business strategies, and it is also applicable in the context of transforming human capital into a force to be reckoned with.

Design Thinking in Human Resource (DT-HR)

The DT-HR Roadmap

By applying design principles and methodologies to the way employees work, organizations can boost employees’ satisfaction and productivity and achieve desired business outcomes.

DT-HR Objectives

  1. Develop smart calibration for seamless alignment between employee needs and business goals.
  2. Nurture a workforce with strong organizational values and a future-ready mindset.
  3. Create an engaged workforce that drives sustainable performance and innovation.

The DT-HR Roadmap charts the pathways of the current and desired employment cycle, along with key touchpoints that address business outcomes and capability development.

The DT-HR Continuum is a strategy used in the DT-HR Roadmap. It is comprised of iterative phases beginning from creating personas, defining drivers, creating experience journey maps, reviewing touchpoints, prototyping interventions, implementation and evaluation.

Another essential element that can complement the practical use of the DT-HR Roadmap is analytics. HR analytics are designed to capture critical information (particularly in each transition, such as from onboarding to performance) that can be used for continual improvements for all – regardless of their level in the organization. However, the design of the data capture and the information processing must be purposeful and aimed at accomplishing the intended goals.

Here’s an analogy: Many times, people tend to fall into the trap of the “thermometer” mode, where they simply reported the conditions of their challenges and diagnosis. When you can turn yourself into a thermostat, you will be able to change and adjust to the conditions around you. To achieve impact for employees, awareness and deliberate choices are a crucial part of HR management.

Design thinking can be applied to learning and development for teams and individuals. The Growth Sphere is a continuous framework of learning and development. Both online communities of practice and face-to-face learning circles are concurrently adopted to achieve four key ongoing outcomes: business impact, engaged workforce, values alignment and holistic development (of teams and individuals). The Growth Sphere’s unique advantage is the blending of work themes for sharing and learning (represented in the four rectangles).

Growth Sphere

Processes in organizations are fluid, and learning needs are diverse. It is important to be mindful that every employee is unique in his or her learning and development. HR management and stakeholders should promote a culture of progressive transformation with these models and lead by example to drive sustainable human capital innovations.