This blog is about Design Thinking and how to apply this to unlock digital transformation using Salesforce. Design Thinking is not new, in fact, it has been around for years. Yet more and more organizations talk about Design Thinking and start using its principals. Our partner Salesforce has done so too in their own sales engagements through their Ignite and Spark practices. Here’s how I got involved in Design Thinking.

The first book I read before starting Nextview back in 2012 was ‘This is Service Design Thinking’, written by several service designers and design thinkers. Although we were using some of its principals already,  for our customers back then, the experience with Nextview wasn’t much different than any other Salesforce Consulting Partner. Design Thinking is all about a radical user focus and enhancing the experience users or customers have.  Back in 2012, our way of Design Thinking was simply asking questions to our customers about their customers, thereby assuming they would know. As human beings, we think we can be empathic, think we know what our customers and users need when engaging with us or whilst doing their job. In reality, we are not so good at this! Our brain is wired to focus on processes and functionality which drives us away from the actual customer or user experience. When we use Design Thinking tools such as  customer or user journeys and include the end users in this process, we get a much better insight in the “people side” of a process and don’t have to assume anything!

Years ago, I was dreaming about having the possibility of taking customers on a journey in an inspirational and creative space and show them the value that Design Thinking brings. Until then, we used to do this in a regular office space that offered very little to no inspiration, let alone stimulate creativity. Together with the We Accelerate People Group, we started to realise that dream that led to our Design Thinking Center in Amsterdam. What is great about this place is that is very hard to articulate the added value it brings in terms of inspiration and stimulating creativity…. and then again, that is sort of the point….. you’ll have to experience it!

Today, we run many sessions with customers to let them describe their process and what they need in the light of Salesforce implementations. If the process involves our customers’ customers, we make sure we get them to the Design Thinking Center. Rule #1 in Design Thinking…. don’t assume anything…. talk to your customer or user.

Nextview embracing Design Thinking

At Nextview, we drink our own champagne! We don’t assume anything and even let our strategy be written by the 3 biggest stakeholders we have: our customers, our employees and our partner Salesforce. We have yearly feedback sessions with these stakeholder groups and every single initiative we take, can be directly related to feedback from these sessions. It is too costly to get our strategy wrong, so let’s not assume anything ourselves….. It’s all about the radical user/customer/stakeholder focus!

Examples of the power of Design Thinking Methodology

At a big Financial Services firm in the Netherlands, they were facing poor user adoption of Salesforce. By letting the users describe what their day to day journey is in their job, we found out that the way Salesforce had been configured mainly served to facilitate a process but did not add any value to the salesreps. Through their user journey we immediately found an area of opportunity to quickly help them in their job. By combining our findings with the power of Salesforce SalesCloud, we were able to turn the adoption round within a single month.

Another recent example: At a big consumer products organization we defined a customer journey for different buyer persona’s. By doing qualitative research with in-depth interviews analyzing customer behaviour, we were able to sketch a real life journey of this persona and their interaction with our customer. By looking at their mood in several phases in their journey we were able to identify two main areas of opportunity to improve their experience. We spent a full day of ideation and actually built a solution in Salesforce where we were able to show how we could innovate in this area and totally change the customer engagement.

Interested in learning even more? We’re offering a comprehensive and hands-on Salesforce Administration & Design Thinking Essentials course, that ensures your success with your existing Salesforce implementation. This course is uniquely designed to include Design Thinking methodology that will help the participant develop a problem-solving mindset. Find out more about our courses below. Also read more about our customer Royal Haskoning and learn how they apply Design Thinking in combination with Salesforce.