TLDR: Define the bigger picture. Work iteratively before committing to a larger effort. Establish a process that fits the team so they can complete quality work efficiently.
uccess in business can look like many things—an enduring brand, an acquisition, taking a business from inception to IPO. For me, success happens earlier, as soon as we start to see the intangible become tangible, and when we’ve proven that the outcome of our (often extreme) effort wasn’t wasted. Success is built daily by making good decisions with what we have.
Success in business can look like many things—an enduring brand, an acquisition, taking a business from inception to IPO. For me, success happens earlier, as soon as we start to see the intangible become tangible, and when we’ve proven that the outcome of our (often extreme) effort wasn’t wasted. Success is built daily by making good decisions with what we have.
What often stands between a business’s ability to succeed isn’t a lack of resources, but a lack of realized value. Cash isn’t the only resource fueling a business—time, money, energy and people make it run. So when business leaders understand the value of all of these resources, and commit to processes that use them well, they put themselves in the best position to succeed.
Lean methodology and Design Thinking provide two approaches to drive business operations and minimize the time and energy spent implementing new ideas. Combined, they provide a holistic framework for prioritizing valuable work with less wasted effort.
Lean methodology teaches us to build, test and learn quickly with few resources. Design Thinking teaches us how to test, so we learn what people want us to build. One brings rigid practicality, the other, warmth and conviction in what we create.
Both of these approaches revolve around protecting business resources, but with a different focal point. In a Lean practice, short-term goals are kept front and center, with the preservation of time and money at its core. Design Thinking focuses on the long-term vision of the people a business serves—those who will ultimately invest in the company because their needs are being met on their terms.
Separately, these approaches can leave out either valuable nuances or important efficiencies. Lean practices can veer towards oversimplification and a limited sensitivity to customers’ needs, leaving little room for uniqueness, thoughtful details or human emotion. Design Thinking can tempt practitioners to be too idealistic, elevating human experience beyond what a business would be willing to invest in the short-term.
By balancing and blending these two approaches together, businesses benefit from the contrasting perspectives they bring. While their focal points differ, these frameworks help reduce waste by assessing work up front instead of relying solely on intuition. They both show the value of working iteratively before committing to a larger effort. They encourage us to confront assumptions, look outside of our own imagination and make tangible what started as a spark of inspiration.
Developing right-sized processes takes time. But once they’re established, the overall quality of new content and products, and the efficiencies gained are exponential. The time, energy, money and people who drive the company are most valuable when they have a process that matches their strengths.
The right process isn’t one that has worked for other businesses, but one that leads to a natural rhythm and predictable outcomes for your team. ⚑