New technologies offer countless opportunities to solve social problems and create value for organizations. “You can only design something valuable if you understand what the user actually needs”, says senior consultant Pervin Celik.
“One of the methods we use in strategic design is ‘design thinking’. That helps us to understand the person we are designing a solution for. In one recent assignment, for example, we conducted in-depth research into the psychological challenges of people with problematic debts caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In design thinking, you take a mental walk around the problem. You try to find out how the problem arose, what other problems people have experienced, and what they need. Once you know that, you can come up with a solution that can help a lot more people with the same problem.”

Past the pioneering phase

“I’ve been part of Capgemini Invent, Capgemini’s management consultancy branch, for two years now. At Invent, we combine strategy, technology, data science and design to help organizations formulate a new vision of the future. The Customer Transformation Team has always put the customer first, but using design to justify strategic choices is a relatively new perspective. When I completed the Strategic Design programme at Delft University of Technology, it was still rarely used in consultancy. In retrospect, my first few months at Capgemini Invent were really a pioneering phase. I’ve had to prove the value of strategic design through assignments in the financial and public domains. Now that Capgemini Invent has acquired the creative consultancy frog, our projects will place even more emphasis on design. I look forward to taking that opportunity to make my mark.”

Helping small- and medium-sized enterprises grow

“My last project was for the innovation branch of a major Dutch bank. They were looking for innovative ways to solve problems; both for the bank and for its clients. For example, by investing in startups or starting a company themselves (venture capital). The corporate venture I worked for came up with a solution for entrepreneurs who want to grow and need capital to do it.”
“Together with 16 entrepreneurs from small- and medium-sized Dutch companies we developed a digital working capital solution for small and medium enterprises to help them grow I did that together with two corporate venture builders and an innovation coach. We used a variety of design methods and tools to involve the end users from 16 SMEs in the entire process. That enabled us to make sure that the solution actually addresses the user’s needs, is technically feasible, and is useful for the entire branch.”

Constantly learning by doing

“That innovation branch at the major Dutch bank is a fascinating environment to work in; dynamic, competitive and above all innovative. It’s great to come up with an idea and then to use it to set up a company, then to scale up the idea to have as much impact as possible. In our team, I was responsible for guiding the design process. During the first phase of the project, we conducted interviews to identify the entire customer journey, which gave us good insight into the problem that needed solving. Once we defined the problem, we could start looking for a suitable solution. To do that, we created a variety of prototypes and tested them at 10 Dutch SMEs.”

An open data portal to inform EU citizens

“That assignment is finished now, so what’s my next step? No idea. But design principles that put the user first can be applied to anything, whether in the commerical or the public domains. For example, at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, I contributed to the European Union’s Europe Data Portal Project. We drew up matrices to inform various types of European citizens about COVID-19, so that they could find their way through the overload of real and fake news.”
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