Ice ice baby. Enterprise Design Thinking is cool…

Ice Cubes

A recent Capstone visit to the IBM Garage confirmed that “this is not my father’s IBM”.  The conservative days of white shirts, ties, thick glasses, and pocket protectors, have given way to a more youthful startup vibe; jeans, t-shirts, energy, and diversity.  While IBM speaks of the Garage as a methodology, they are also physical Garage locations around the world where you can arrange a visit like we did for an Enterprise Design Thinking Workshop. 

The goal of the Enterprise Design Thinking workshop is to identify a use case and target users, define business hypothesis, and create the framework for a minimum viable product (MVP).  Capstone has long subscribed to the concept of design thinking, a user-centric, creative approach to problem solving.  One that aims to solve user problems not business problems (there’s a difference folks), and where value is proved out through incremental, agile delivery, where everything is treated as a prototype.  Fail fast and learn fast.  Develop enough to prove the usefulness to your end-user, the value to your business, and the ability to scale, but have the flexibility to change direction if results don’t prove out how you anticipated, prior to investing more time, energy, and expense.

Design Thinking is an iterative, user-centric approach to problem solving that traditionally has five phases: Empathize, Design, Ideate, Protype, and test.  IBM has taken that concept a step further with their version and methodology called Enterprise Design Thinking.  One that aims to help create a cultural movement where empowered teams and stakeholders all embrace transformation.  Where organizations achieve business outcomes through rapid innovation.

Since we think this is pretty cool, and in an attempt to be hip (probably a failed one) here are three directives inspired by the iconic Vanilla Ice that will help you start to transform your business, products, or services with Enterprise Design Thinking:

STOP leading with solutions or developing technical solutions aimed to solve business problems. Be “solution agnostic”. Don’t focus on an idea and its structural parts.  Focus on how to help someone achieve a certain task and how it makes that person think and feel.  It’s about the user-experience, user outcomes, and helping real people address their real needs.

COLLABORATE with an empowered team.  Work with a diverse team with a cross-section of stakeholders to ensure internal alignment, foster creativity, and provide various viewpoints that might otherwise not be considered or factor in to your deliverable.  Co-Create, Co-Execute, Co-Operate.

LISTEN to your customer or end user.  Get to know their motivations, needs, and frustrations.  Empathy is key.  Walk a mile in their shoes and understand that at the end of the day you need to delight them.  Whatever service, product, or change you make in your organization should have them at the heart.  If you truly understand your customer, and develop solutions to help make their experience better, it’s a true win for everybody.

If you’d like more information on Enterprise Design Thinking or would like to adopt this methodology in your next endeavor, please reach out to us at, or schedule a visit to the IBM Garage (Click Here) and see for yourself.