Find out what people need, and adjust your idea to meet that need: that’s senior consultant Milou Mertens’ guiding motto. Because your product, service or process needs to be relevant for the user. She recently applied that vision in an assignment for a major company in the health care sector.

Valuable solutions

‘What’s the best thing about my profession? Thinking from the client’s perspective. I’m part of the Innovation, Strategy & Design team at frog, which is part of Capgemini Invent. My specialization is ‘venture design’. That means I help clients with the development of new business models and propositions. We also study whether the propositions are feasible and if they’re valid, or economically realistic. But what’s probably most interesting to me, is whether a proposition is desirable: is the solution valuable for the people who will have to use it?’
‘I learned that customer-oriented perspective during my studies. I have a Bachelor’s in Industrial Design, and a Master’s in Strategic Product Design. One of the things I learned was to focus on people’s needs and desires – even their latent desires; people might not know about all of the possibilities. The important thing is that the organization shouldn’t base ideas on what’s technically possible, but how you can use technology to offer people a solution to their problem.’

Interesting assignment

‘I first applied that mindset at Capgemini within the Digital Banking team. My Master’s project dealt with the sector and the importance of human-centered design in the blockchain. I’ve always been interested in innovation. The financial world might look a bit boring from the outside, but a lot of banks are actually leading the way in terms of technology. They’re real pioneers.’
‘Over the past four months, I’ve been working on a project in the health care sector. It’s definitely a completely different sector, but I think it’s healthy to try something new after a while. It’s a way to expand your knowledge, and the specific project really appealed to me. My colleagues and I supervised a major client’s design organization in the transition to working Agile. That involved helping form the multi-disciplinary dedicated agile teams to operate more structurally and to collaborate better to achieve their goals.’

Gradual process

‘The project was already underway when I joined the team. It was started by specialists in the field at Capgemini – real Agile transformation heroes who know exactly how to implement such a transition. I joined the team to use what I learned in my studies to build a bridge between Agile and design. Agile was developed from a software perspective, but designers work a lot differently from ICT workers. They’re much more spontaneous. The Agile template doesn’t necessarily fit how they work.’
‘That’s why we developed the MVO process, where MVO stands for Minimum Viable Organization. What it comes down to, is that we have the organization work towards a new organizational model in tiny steps. The teams and programs met with the client’s employees to see how Agile working fits in their day-to-day practice, and how we could develop the organization together. For example, we started working Agile from the beginning of the development and implementation, rather than just slapping a plan on the table and implementing it.’

Supplemental perspectives

‘What did I add to the project? I hope and believe that I contributed a focus on the people who will have to work Agile within the client’s organization. In other words: the designers. I worked together with some absolute Agile transformation experts, which gave me plenty of room to focus on understanding those employees. What did they think was important? What did they think was relevant? Then my colleagues and I looked for ways to offer a solution with Agile; they from an Agile perspective, and me from the employees’ perspective. So we complemented each other very well.’
‘And of course, the cooperation with the client was important too. Because they’re the people who have to complete the transformation. We mainly guided them through the process, provided the right tools and triggers, and gave it a kick-start. Now it’s the client’s responsibility to complete the journey. It’s a special moment. The designers embraced Agile and can use it in their work. When I see how far they’ve come, I feel really proud.’
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