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Design your Employee's Thinking

Karyn Mathura-Arthur

By Dr. Karyn

Technology, branding, efficient structures, great tools. These are only some of the many things that businesses need to succeed. However, there is one thing that's even more important: human capital!

In other words, people are the true heart of almost every business out there. In spite of that, the power of promoting good chemistry between employees and the company's mindset is often overlooked.

In order to foster better results, employees should feel like they belong to their company, not only because they are paid to work there! For this reason, many businesses go to great lengths to build an inclusive company culture – that is a united professional environment, where employees can think independently, and develop a unique thinking for the benefit of the firm.

Why bother, you may ask? Firms that promote a mindset aligned with that of their customers and employees often yield much better results. This means that companies with great teams will have better chances to succeed and over time, out perform their competitors.

Through fostering an entrepreneurial employee environment on the job, and engaging company culture, a business can improve the value of their teams and the thinking of each person with whom they interact.

One of the best ways to create such a positive outcome is to embrace an approach known as "design thinking." What exactly does that mean? Design thinking is described as a way to give employees a structure when approaching certain challenges. In fact, design thinking could be considered as a non-linear process, which is iterative in nature, yet very flexible and diverse allowing for agility in a company.

Design thinking has deeper roots in the industrial age, but has been recently gaining global momentum. It is often explained in different stages: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and implement.

This structure is actually useful because it allows people to gain a better understanding of the problem at the first stage. By gaining an empathic understanding of what's going on, it will be much easier to think faster and work out a solution, accounting for many possible scenarios. From empathizing with the issue of gathering information about it, and finally working towards a fix, anything goes!

These five steps allow practitioners of design thinking to consider various solutions to problems, issues, and challenges they might face. However, without the implementation or testing phase, it becomes just another brain storming session – something that must be avoided.

Many organizations credit their success in educating their employees on the design thinking approach. A prime example? Think of Google. This gigantic global firm has gone to great lengths to build a remarkable company culture, as well as giving their employees the tools to relate to one another and think analytically. As a result, the company has been able to consistently stay on top of the market, thinking outside the box, as well as creating a faster workflow. Why faster? Because employees who adopt design thinking are going to be able to fix issues on their own most of the time, rather than working through all of a company’s hierarchy for help or support.

In conclusion, it is easy to see why design thinking is becoming increasingly popular and sought after throughout the world. This approach suits businesses of all scales. Whether you are working with a small mom and pop shop, or a big organization, design thinking will work for you.

Some people and business insiders go as far as stating that design thinking has the power of improving the world because it enables people to find new solutions and use their ingenuity to improve their work frame and the productivity of the business as a whole.

Remember the saying, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” I encourage you to go out and embrace a design thinking mindset today!

Dr. Karyn Mathura-Arthur is an agile implementation leader with experience in Operational Excellence, Continuous Process Improvement, Business Transformation, Process Engineering and Organizational Change Management across multiple industries (banking, insurance, healthcare, telecom, government, retail, etc.). For comments and suggestions, email

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