During my time at Online Department the change agent working for Topicus approached us with the question if we could help them with a company wide change program he has set up. They would like to expand their service offering by switching from product oriented to value oriented, using Design Thinking as a base.
Topicus is a software building company of the highest quality. Focused on banking activity and healthcare platforms they deliver IT with a passion. As the market is evolving so are they. To help them we created multiple training programs focused on creating, improving and stimulating the human centred mindset. Our unique offering included more than just basic training. Doing thorough intakes with DISC tooling and offering coaching & guidance during and after the programs allowed us to create a unique learning experience. Tailored specifically to those who joined in on the program.
Below a short summary of the 1,5+ years that I’ve been part of designing & creating this program, that is still ongoing. I’ve designed, created, executed and coached during this period. I’ve taken out a couple of highlights, but have many more stories to share. Feel free to contact me if you want to know more.
Together with the change agent we devised a strategy on how to introduce the new education program into the organisation. Based on the fact that it’s been tried before by others but never had any succes, we knew we were in for a tough cookie. The general consensus was that they were tired of these attempts failing. Knowing that we started by asking around in the organisation for names of who they thought would have the most succes with the new program. We named those people ‘Champions’ to create a feeling of special. Something we’ve been using on until this day, noticing that it helped spur others into motion and activate others.
We capped our maximum trainee’s per group at 10 to increase scarcity. Every employee that applied was taken in consideration to join the program and every entry was scheduled for an intake interview + DISC test to gain a better understanding of who they were, what they wanted to learn and why they were willing to join. Combined with the results of the DISC test this allowed us to create harmonious group allowing us to design an optimised learning environment.
The program consisted of six trainings of about 6 hours each with weekly intervals. Six hours is a bit short, so we designed our program to touch the most essential parts of Design Thinking and offering extra coaching for more deep dive moments. Using the first half of the day for theory and the second half for practice, we focused heavily on a ‘Learning by Doing’ foundation.
During the training days we went through the entire Design Thinking process, one step per day. The first day was all about understanding what Design Thinking exactly is and how it differs from other processes. This helped created a better understanding of possible challenges ahead and how we could more easily integrate it into the day by day flow. From this starting point we created a fictional assignment to work on for the rest of the program.
After working through the 4 Design Thinking steps (Research, Insights, Ideation & Concepting) we used the sixth training day to circle back to the start. Designing new way of workings with Design Thinking incorporated that would work for their personal context. Most of the times this would involve spending half a day on getting familiar with Design Systems.
Following a training to learn something new is one thing. Actually putting your new skills & tools to use is something entirely different. That’s why we offer individual coaching for all our trainee’s. After experiencing 6 days where we touched a lot of subjects every one of them was enthusiastic about something and wanted to drive that change. During coaching sessions we helped them overcome hurdles (for example stakeholder management) and supported them with our own experience & knowledge. This helped them to quickly achieve results and improve the products they are currently working on.