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SHRM India Content Team
India: Design Thinking in HR – What are the Leaders Saying?
Design thinking is one of the trending buzzwords in the business functions. It is now being viewed as a multi-disciplinary, non-linear approach to view business challenges from a fresh perspective. Given its positive impact on the bottom line outcomes, several global corporate giants such as IBM, Google, CISCO, Citrix Systems, GE and Apple have already embraced design thinking as their core strategy. In India, design thinking is still a relatively new practice, but it is gaining momentum.
Understanding Design Thinking
The first impression about design thinking is that it is closely related to visual appeal. While the concept has been borrowed from designers, because they apply a high degree of creativity to their work, its application in the business terms goes beyond aesthetics. Initially, design thinking was mainly constrained to product designs, but today, it is widely applied to business processes and systems as well.
It brilliantly blends the concepts of creativity (design) and rationale (thinking) to provide an innovative framework to look into business problems and opportunities. Hence, design thinking is a creative problem-solving approach that deploys various elements such as intuition, ingenuity, experiments, data, logic and insight to arrive at solutions which appeal to a larger audience (employees, customers, other stakeholders) and give a competitive edge to the business.
Design Thinking in HR
Design thinking has penetrated almost every field of the business, including human resources. HR is a function specifically created for people. However, it has been observed that people practices developed by HR often fail to create an engaging experience for employees. So, in HR's context, the principles of design thinking are applied to answer human-cantered questions and challenge assumptions. It comprises developing an in-depth understanding of people for whom solutions are being designed and involve them in the process so as to come up with out-of-the-box ideas to enhance their workplace experiences.
HR follows the similar design thinking framework that was proposed by the Hasso - Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford (also known as Stanford d. school), and has been accepted generally worldwide:
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