1. Best online tools for Design Thinking

    September 6, 2018 by ahmed

    Originally posted by Bianka Nemeth on SessionLab

    Have you heard of Design Thinking?

    Chances are you have.

    It is one of the hottest buzzwords of today, easily found in articles and in the news. The education and business fields are going crazy over it, books are written about it, and service designers, creative agencies, career coaches, trainers and facilitators are using it. Perhaps you’re already applying it in your work or everyday life, too?

    Since its debut in 1969 when Simon Herbert introduced the model in the Science of the Artificial, Design Thinking has revolutionized business models, education systems, processes of innovation, product and service design and human mindsets.

    One of the reasons for its popularity is that it is human-centered, putting users and customers at the center of creation in order to understand their problems, thus making products and services more user-friendly.

    Design Thinking may seem like just a tool, but this is not the case. Design Thinking is more of a mindset or a process with several different stages, and each stage can be supported with different tools to help in the understanding-designing process.

    Keeping in mind the stages of the model, we have collected some of the best Design Thinking tools to help you create real value for your customers and users.

    Empathizing
    The first stage of the Design Thinking process is to empathize with your users by collecting as much information about them as you can with different set of tools. This human-centered approach helps experts focus on the user instead of their own assumptions about a problem.

    For collecting (raw) information:

    • Google forms is used by many as go-to solution for creating free, unlimited surveys. You can choose from 6 different types of questions, and as a Google product, it works perfectly with Gmail or Spreadsheets.
    • Typeform arrived to the survey-making world with a fresh and simple look and an easy-to use interface. As you type, the application automatically evaluates the question and puts it into the right format. The free version includes an unlimited number of surveys of 10 questions and 100 responses.

    For organizing the information:

    • Creatlr is an open platform for visual thinkers and designers. You can browse through more than 200+ templates from empathy maps and customer journey maps to stakeholder analysis. The free plan includes 5 projects with 5 collaborators, access to the community and template library with an option for adding your own tools as well.

    Defining
    Once you have gathered a lot of information about the users, their needs and problems in the empathizing stage, you can analyze and synthesize it in order to sift out the (real) problem to be solved. To understand problems better, it is useful to create personas and define roles so you can attach needs and problems to different set of users. Once you have this you can see what patterns emerge and summarize problems into one problem statement.

    • Smaply provides a beautiful and detailed persona and stakeholder editor, journey maps and storyboards to analyze all the data on your users. Short videos are also provided on how to use each tool as effectively as possible. Smaply offers a 14-day trial, after which you can choose a plan. The basic plan gives you 3 projects with unlimited personas, stakeholder and journey maps and access to learning resources for 1 person.
    • Userforge promises to help you create in-depth and realistic personas with less clicks than it takes in design software. To foster collaboration and fast decision making you can share personas by URL instead of by the slow process of invitation. The application is non-designer-friendly, meaning anyone can create usable personas without the designer mindset. And it is totally free.
    • An all-in-one solution for persona identification: Pyoneer. This app has two main parts: problem definition and solution finding. The former consists of everything you would possibly need to map out your problem statement from personas to journey maps. The latter has concept, validation and kanban storyboards for seamless solution finding. The app is not yet fully available as of the publishing of this post, but you can get early access by signing up.

    Ideation
    This stage is about coming up with solutions based on the problem statement. At this point in the process you’re not concerned about finding the best solution but creating as many possible solutions as you can with the help of brainstorming and other ideation techniques.

    • The open library of more than 400+ facilitation tools from SessionLab offers a wide variety of ideation methods. From brainwriting to 3-12-3 brainstorm, you can find the best methods to get ideas flowing in the team. It is free to use, and by signing up you can also save your favourites or add your own tools to the library.
    • For collective brainstorming, idea collection and note-taking use Realtimeboard. Imagine it as a huge, endless online whiteboard for whatever task you need whether its brainstorming with colleagues or stakeholders, creating a mindmap of ideas, or user story boards. It’s all up to you. The free version offers 3 boards for three-person collaboration but can also be shared with guest viewers too. It also integrates with Slack.
    • Ideaflip is a simple yet elegant tool for brainstorming sessions either with your team or alone. Anyone can add their ideas on post-it like notes to the virtual space. Ideaflip enables commenting and idea groping for easy and fast decision-making. If someone invites you to a board you don’t need to subscribe, but you can also create your own unlimited amount of boards and have 2 guests per board for 9 USD per month.

    Prototyping
    By this stage you will have a few solutions or features that you will want to test. Prototypes do not have to be too detailed, high-quality or actually even working yet. The idea is to create a prototype that is sufficiently able to display a specific feature or working mode.

    • Boords aims to be your complete storyboard toolbox. Their storyboard creator allows you to experiment with pictures and gifs, voiceover and action text or redraw existing frames. With the Animation tool you can actually make animation from your frames with sounds. Plus you can collaborate with anyone in real time. A basic plan includes 3 storyboards, 1 user and Boords branding for 12 USD per month.
    • Mockingbird has a clean and user-friendly interface making it one of the best prototyping and wireframe applications. Features include drag and drop UI, linking together several mockups to make it interactive and smart text resizing. Sharing with direct links makes collaboration super easy. The basic plan costs 12 USD for 3 projects.
    • Unlike Mockingbird and Broods, POP is a mobile application for turning your sketches into animations. It is very easy -just take snaps of your sketches or pictures and the app merges them into an interactive prototype. The best thing about POP is that it allows you to share your prototype and get feedback from users instantly. It is available for iOS and Android.

    Testing
    When testing the complete product or service, it often happens that data gained through testing will redefine the problem statement or several features, making Design Thinking a real iterative process. While nothing beats the ultimate experience of seeing your users interacting live with a prototype, there are various different tools you can use when you have to conduct user testing remotely. And if your prototype is a website, you can also benefit from website analytics and screen capture tools.

    • UserTesting.com one of the best and biggest names in user testing applications. Pick users according to what you want to test whether it’s a website or mobile app. The platform records every move your testers make, so you can truly understand how they navigate and perform the tasks you assign to them. Try it out for free, and it is 49 USD per video session after that.
    • Another great tool for testing is Hotjar. This all-in-one analytics and feedback tool enables you to collect data on your funnel conversions, see where people click and how they navigate on your site. They offer instant feedback from users and feedback polls to identify problems the user may be having. The basic plan is free and collects data from 2000 page views/day.
    • Pingpong is a user-research platform where you can find tens of thousand of testers from all over the world. The platform will automatically set up the best testers for you. You can easily schedule interviews which can be recorded and later analyzed. They work on a credit-based approach: 1 credit = 30 minute interview = 75 Euro.

    +1 Browse through more than 500+ design tools and resources on Public Design Vault ! You will find everything needed for design work from templates to sort cards, toolkits and podcasts. Make sure to check it out!

    We hope that all of these tools will be useful and will support you in creating awesome, valuable and human-centered products and services for us and the world! If you happen to deliver workshops, make sure to check out our post on the best online tools for workshops, too!


  2. Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes hails four-day week trial

    September 2, 2018 by ahmed

    Originally posted by Zane Small on NewsHub

    A four-day working week sounds like a dream for most, but for some lucky Kiwi employees it’s become a reality.

    New Zealand trust company, Perpetual Guardian, has been trialling four-day working weeks for employees since March this year, without changing the salary or making working days longer.

    In February, founder Andrew Barnes told The AM Show he predicted his 200-strong team would have the same output, and was confident staff would be more productive knowing they have more time off.

    Mr Barnes returned to The AM Show on Wednesday, hailing the results of the trial as “really exciting”. He said staff productivity levels were up, stress levels were down, and customer engagement levels with the company went up over 30 percent.

    Perpetual Guardian staff were asked before the trial to explain how they planned to maintain their work output despite spending less time in the office, and then develop a plan. Most companies just tell staff what to do, but Mr Barnes says he didn’t want to do that.

    “This is bottom-up engagement; it makes the staff more engaged, more empowered, and more enthused about the whole thing,” he said, highlighting that staff aren’t expected to work more hours so long as they can produce their work on time.

    One of the challenges of the change is at the leadership level, Mr Barnes said, because “everybody in leadership says it’s never going to work, so they approach it with a bit of scepticism. We’re all conditioned to think you’ve got to spend five days in the office.”

    Interestingly, he said staff initially struggled with the extra day off and had to adjust to it. But stress levels eventually dropped “quite significantly”, despite staff knowing they had to meet their targets with less time spent in the office.

    Mr Barnes said he’s putting recommendations to the company’s board next week, with the hope that the scheme will continue. The company generated about the same amount of revenue during the trial period, he said, and costs were down, with people spending less time in traffic and less time using power in the office.

    Mr Barnes says the trial isn’t about how much time off people should get, but rather about productivity and how it can be achieved. He said the company pays staff to get a job done, and it shouldn’t matter if they’re able to do it in two days, three days or four days – as long as it’s done well.

    The extra day off for staff is a gift, Mr Barnes said, and they work hard to maintain the privilege. He says every company in New Zealand should give the scheme a go.


  3. Best Practice Report – Ideas Management System

    September 1, 2018 by ahmed

    Ideas management is a structured process of generating, capturing, organising, evaluating, and selecting ideas to improve your organisation. An ideas management system is the mechanism that enables organisations to perform all of this (and more) in an interconnected way. These days, most organisations use software to make the job easier. Since there are many different types of e-based ideas management systems available, it is important to choose one that meets your organisation’s needs. More sophisticated systems will monitor and prompt you when new ideas are submitted; promote collaboration; enable peer evaluation; be totally accessible from PCs, smartphones, and tablets; and, provide trends and metrics to recognise key contributors and measure outcomes.

    This report outlines the best practices research undertaken by BPIR.com in the area of ideas management systems. The best practices have been compiled under seven main headings. This new layout is designed to enable you to scan subjects that are of interest to you and your organisation, quickly assess their importance, and download relevant information for further study or to share with your colleagues.
     
     

    In This Report:

    1. What is an ideas management system?
    2. Which organisations have been recognised for excellence for their ideas management system?
    3. How have organisations reached high levels of success by having an ideas management system?
    4. What research has been undertaken into ideas management systems?
    5. What tools and methods are used to achieve high levels of success in ideas management systems?
    6. How can an ideas management system be measured?
    7. What do business leaders say about ideas management systems?

    Access the report from here. At the bottom of the page is a PDF version of the report for easy reading. If you are a non-member, you will find some of the links in this report do not work. To join BPIR.com and support our research simply click here or to find out more about membership, email membership@bpir.com. BPIR.com publishes a new best practice every month with over 80 available to members.


  4. What keeps rocket scientists happy at work (could engage your employees, too)

    August 31, 2018 by ahmed

    Originally posted by Christine Schaefer on blogrige

    A 2017 Baldrige Award Winner with a Strong Workforce Focus
    Want to improve workforce engagement in your organization? Consider what you can learn from one of the nation’s identified role models for high performance. For example, in the business sector, you might study Stellar Solutions, a 2017 Baldrige Award-winning small business based in Palo Alto, California, that provides professional engineering services in the aerospace field.

    Stellar Solutions has been repeatedly designated a “Great Place to Work” by Fortune magazine in recent years (from 2014 to 2017). 2017 employee survey results show that 99 percent of respondents agree that “taking everything in to account, Stellar is a great place to work.” For the same four consecutive years, survey data show that 100 percent of its customers would recommend the company to others.

    How does Stellar Solutions engage its rocket scientists (among other employees) to achieve such enviable results? From its inception in 1995, the woman-owned business has set a vision of aligning “employees’ dream jobs” with its customers’ critical needs.

    Systematic Processes
    To meet its objectives of having (1) engaged, satisfied employees, (2) employees’ “dream jobs” matched with customers’ critical needs, and (3) “low to no attrition,” Stellar has created a system of workforce-focused processes (in alignment with category 5 of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence) that include the following practices:

    • Conducting monthly face-to-face employee visits/meetings
    • Creating employee incentive bonus plans and review these with employees
    • Completing annual updates to each employee’s “Dream Job Worksheet” and review progress quarterly
    • Providing annual required training
    • Providing professional development training
    • Providing recognition through bonuses

    Measures and Results
    Key metrics used by Stellar to measure its approaches for developing and retaining employees include completion of annual bonus plans, quarterly dream job assessments (i.e., reviewing progress on each employee’s Dream Job Worksheet), employee participation in training, bonuses paid, employee survey ratings, and attrition.

    In addition, Stellar measures its progress in relation to its identified top three drivers of employee engagement: (1) feeling empowered and trusted to do what’s best for the customer, (2) feeling encouraged to balance one’s work life and personal life, and (3) feeling that one’s work has special meaning rather than being “just a job.”

    For the company’s 2017 employee survey, 100 percent of respondents agreed with the statement “I am empowered and trusted to do what is best for my customer.” In addition, 98 percent agreed with the statement “I am encouraged to balance my work life and my personal life,” and 97 percent agreed that “My work has special meaning: this is not ‘just a job.’”

    Key Points
    At the end of a presentation of its workforce-focused practices for the Baldrige community in April, Stellar shared these two key points:

    • “Our employees are our greatest resource.” Stellar Solutions keeps employees engaged by “helping them work toward their dream jobs and empowering them to identify and solve our customers’ most critical needs.”
    • “It is important for us to encourage and offer multiple outlets for collaboration and communication among our workforce to share knowledge across various locations and projects.”

    What do other organizations do (or not do) to engage workforce members? Please share ideas by submitting a comment below.


  5. BPIR.com Newsletter: August 2018

    August 25, 2018 by ahmed

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    Best Practice Report: Safe Use of Drones

    This report outlines the best practices research undertaken by BPIR.com in the safe use of drones and how drones have enhanced safety. The best practices have been compiled under seven main headings. This layout is designed to enable you to scan subjects that are of interest to you and your organisation, quickly assess their importance, and download relevant information for further study or to share with your colleagues.

     

    Featured Events

     

    2 nd call for entries: 

    6 th International Best Practice Competition & 2 nd Organisation-wide Innovation Award


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    The  International Best Practice Competition encourages organizations to share their best operational and managerial practices, processes, systems, and initiatives and learn from the experience of others. It provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of individuals and teams that have been responsible for creating and/or managing the introduction and deployment of best practices.

    To submit your Best Practice please download an entry form. The second call for entries closes on 21st of September 2018 . Last year there were 65 entries with 28 qualifying to the Competition Event.

    The 6th International Best Practice Competition will be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, 10-12 December 2018 as part of the  Global Organisational Excellence Congress courtesy of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

    In addition, to the International Best Practice Competition (IBPC) organisations are encouraged to apply for IBPC’s  2nd Organisation-Wide Innovation Award. This award recognises organisations that have embraced best practice learning and combined this learning with their own ideas and creativity to become highly innovative. The award recognises organisations that excel in inculcating an innovation culture throughout all facets of their operation from the leadership to employees and covering all stakeholders leading to innovative processes, products and services. To submit your entry please download an entry form.

     

    2 nd call for entries: 

    6 th Global Benchmarking Awards

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    The  Global Benchmarking Network (GBN) launched the  Global Benchmarking Award in 2012 to recognise those organisations that had integrated benchmarking into their organisation’s strategy and processes in order to continuously learn and innovate.

    To submit your entry please download an entry formThe second call for entries closes on 21st of September 2018 .

    The 6th Global Benchmarking Award will be held in will be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, 10-12 December 2018 as part of the  Global Organisational Excellence Congress courtesy of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry.


    Add the Congress to your calendar

    JOIN THE CONGRESS LINKED-IN GROUP

     

    Latest News

    • COER News – Articles on Business Excellence, Benchmarking, Best Practices and Innovation…. read more???
    • So what is Strategic Alignment?…. read more
    • People join organizations and leave their managers…. read more
    • Major Research Project on Awareness and Use of Business Excellence – Website Launched & Participants are Signing Up…. read more
    • Dubai Police: Best Practices in Vehicle Fleet Maintenance…. read more

     

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    Using the Baldrige Criteria delivers improvements to key metrics


    To improve customer and employee satisfaction, cycle times, defects, and processes, ProCo, an anonymous small US manufacturer, placed the Baldrige Criteria at the heart of the organisational strategy formation. The management team was trained on the Baldrige Criteria, organisational and team self-assessments were conducted using the Criteria, along with employee surveys and strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats (SWOT) analysis. Strategic planning was focussed on the identification and assignment of strategic objectives, action plans, timelines, and strategic goals were linked to employees. The Baldrige Criteria were aligned with other quality tools, including ISO 9001, ISO 14001, Six Sigma DMAIC methodology, value stream mapping, process mapping, Kaizen blitz, failure modes effects analysis, and 5S. Cross-functional improvement teams also completed projects that were aligned with strategic objectives. Several Baldrige-inspired improvement projects resulted in reductions in cycle time (15%), defects (50%) and warranty costs (75%). Customer satisfaction increased to 97%.

    Do you know that in BPIR.com there are more than 200 video clips of best practices? And increasing…

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    Rapid benchmarking using TRADE Best Practice Methodology


    To address below expected performance at its Edendale plant, Fonterra, a NZ Manufacturer of dairy products, used TRADE to identify best practices and develop an implementation plan – all within 5 days. Edendale, in its second year of operation, had the second largest milk powder drier in the world. Fonterra’s Clandeboye plant, performing to specifications, was introduced as a benchmarking partner. The solution was identified through a detailed comparison of process maps and specific running conditions and parameters between the two plants. Following the rapid benchmarking project there was a quick improvement in performance with the product meeting specifications 99.6% of the time, resulting in an additional $200,000 contribution to the business in a year. Other achievements as a result of TRADE rapid benchmarking included a reduction in plant downtime of 269 hours per year and an increase in production of 7.97%.

     

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    BPIR Tip of the Month – Award Winner Reports


    Imagine a website that provides a detailed list of major award winners along with the organisation’s  name,  award names , a summary report of the award application details, and  contact details for the organisations involved. The Award Winner Reports offers all of the above-mentioned features, PLUS 100’s of video clips and presentation slides are also available for many of the award entries.

    The Award Winners Report is a great tool that can help you to find potential benchmarking partners, and to learn from the example of top performing organisations.