Two of the important concepts Operational Excellence team members introduce frequently when starting a new initiative are Design Thinking and Continuous Improvement. I’ve referenced these concepts individually a number of times in the past but like a lot of the work we do, sometimes they work best when they work together.
Design thinking is a human-centered approach to problem-solving and innovation that integrates the needs of people, the possibilities of technology and the requirements of business success. The continuous improvement approach chooses to continually enhance an initiative’s solution based on actual feedback and user experience.
By integrating design thinking into continuous improvement, we center the end user and others involved with a process – such as students, employees, patients, and search candidates – and consider their needs, experiences, and challenges when designing our solution. Then, we continue to improve based on what works and doesn’t work and the feedback we receive. This emphasizes empathy and centers the people most engaged with the process. If you have been involved with an OE project, you have likely helped us to employ this combination of approaches by sharing your experiences during a listening tour, testing a tool or giving feedback during a pilot, or reconvening with a design team to update a solution.
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