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John Ascroft: Design thinking builds with customers in mind

Jade in the news, Energy industry - November 18, 2016

In his latest Energy News column, our CIO, John Ascroft backed the importance of design thinking when coming up with, and developing new ideas. Starting with design thinking workshops brings an understanding of the people you’re building for to the table. As John explains, “Quality customer experiences, digital or not, require a broad understanding of the people they serve, which can only come from real insights into human behaviour.”

J0013_150820 (1).jpgJohn revealed the inner workings of our design thinking workshops and outlined some of the key elements. “Design thinking workshops are valuable, and it’s important to get the formula right. Involving the right mix of people, creative “right brain” and analytical “left brain” thinkers, and then asking them the right questions, leads to software that delights customers and users and solves real problems,” says John.

He also stressed the importance of finding the correct problem to solve and how to find that problem,“before the problem-solving starts, you need to look for the right problem to solve. Starting with an open question like, “what information do energy customers care about?” is a better starting point than, “how do we make energy information interesting to customers?” Because everyone now sees the world through the lens of the customer, more people are able to generate possible solutions that fit real user problems."

And once you’ve found the right question to solve a second round of design thinking starts with user experience (UX) experts who look at what you’re building and make it work best for the customer. “UX experts work with groups of customers to map out real life. How do you deal with your power company? When? What does it feel like? Engaging with the people you’re designing for reveals a lot about the way they think, their motives, and their behaviours.” 

For those with a subscription to Energy News, you can read Thinking design: building for customers.

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