Turning Your Culture Into a Design Culture


Design is really easy to understand when you are building customer-centric service or products. Heck, it makes total sense to begin with the consumer point of view and to use the wide range of style thinking techniques to identify, validate, value and focus on consumers’ essential requirements. We got Personas, Journey Maps, Storyboards, Prototypes, Mockups, Canvases and such to help us intimately comprehend our clients, their environments and what it is they are attempting to accomplish. We take them through the helped with “Diverge to Converge” procedure to make sure that we have a holistic view of their requirements.

But I have even something larger in mind for Design Thinking. Rather of just utilizing design to build customer-centric products and services, how about using style to produce a customer-centric frame of mind to allow a company’s digital change? And how do we incorporate design into the everyday procedures of the organization to support that customer-centric digital improvement?

One of the difficulties with digital change is ensuring that everyone in the company comprehends how their function and jobs tie directly to the organization’s digital transformation. My associate John Morley and I are on a mission– to take advantage of style believing to alter a company’s culture in support of its digital transformation.

And what’s more essential to a company’s operations than conferences, an activity that many organizations do poorly and everybody hates.

Want To Change The Culture?  Let’s Start with Meetings!

Let’s admit it, a lot of conferences draw. They are uninteresting, loosely structured and generally a wild-goose chase for all the individuals except the organizer. We invite the incorrect folks, forget the best folks, do not correctly prepare the guests for the meeting and usually leave with an inadequately understood set of action products. Yea, conferences suck.

Check out these conference factoids from the website” The Curse of the One-Hour Meeting”:

“Every day in the U.S., there’s an average of 11 million conferences occurring. The average workplace staff member invests over 5 hours weekly being in conferences and over four hours preparing for them. That’s more than a whole working day dedicated to meetings. Supervisors fare even worse, logging approximately 12 to 14 hours a week in conferences. Sources inform us it’s just becoming worse, with conference frequency increasing year over year.”

Here are some sample prices estimate about meetings from a variety of sources consisting of the articles “The 16 types of meeting that get work done” “Where The Action Is” by J. Elise Keith:

  • “People don’t take meetings seriously.  They arrive late, they leave early and they spend most of their time doodling.”
  • “People wander off topic! Participants spend more time digressing than discussing.”
  • “Nothing happens once the meeting ends. People don’t convert decisions into action.”
  • “People don’t tell the truth! There’s plenty of conversation but not much candor.”
  • “Meetings are always missing important information – so they postpone critical decisions.”
  • “Meetings never get better. People just make the same mistakes again and again.”
  • “Make a decision! Move faster!  Analysis Paralysis!”
  • “Our meetings are like something out of the ‘The Office’” (that’s actually my quote)

So if you desire to alter a business’s culture and enhance the chances of an effective digital change journey, let’s begin by applying Design Thinking to the most fundamental of business activities– meetings.

Introducing the Meeting Development Canvas

John Morley and I collaborated to see how we could utilize the Stratgyzer.com Business Model canvasconcept to make conferences more effective and efficient; to make sure that each meeting individual understands how the conference ties back to the company’s essential initiatives (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Meeting Development Canvas

Let’s review each of the panels on the Meeting Development Canvas:

  1. Purpose of Meeting: There should be one primary purpose for each meeting that satisfies and aligns the objectives of the Stakeholders. The meeting can seek to satisfy multiple objectives that support that one Purpose. The meeting should nothave more than one Purpose.
  2. Stakeholder Requirements: A meeting can have multiple stakeholders. The meeting Purpose should aim to enable the Stakeholder objectives  It is essential to understand:
    1. The ‘jobs’ they are trying to do (their objectives)
    2. The challenges they face in doing them
    3. The benefits accrued by overcoming the challenges.
  3. How To Enable Stakeholders: How will this meeting enable the Stakeholders’ objectives (at a high level)?
  4. Work Phase & Relationship: Describe what phase of the relationship you are at with the stakeholders – Beginning, Mid-way, Nearing Conclusion – with respect to the purpose of the meeting. This means that there may be an orchestrated series of meetings necessary for the successful execution of meeting purpose and the gathering of stakeholder requirements.
  5. Decisions & Outcomes: What specific decisions and desired outcomes do we need to achieve from this Meeting in order to satisfy the Stakeholder Objectives (outlined in “Stakeholder Requirements”) and deliver on the Purpose of the meeting?
  6. Our Ask: What are the specific “Asks” of the stakeholders by the meeting organizer?
  7. Key Activities: What Key Activities will we need to undertake to deliver the decisions and the desired meeting outcomes?  These Activities may arise from the ‘Ask’ of Stakeholders in the meeting.
  8. Key Resources: What Resources (existing & additional) are going to be required to support the Activities outlined in panel #7?
  9. Partners: With whom will we partner (Internal and/or External) in order to fulfill the key activities or supply Resources that deliver on the Stakeholders’ objectives?
  10. Action Items: What are the specific Action Items arising from this meeting? They should satisfy:
    1. The stakeholders’ requirements
    2. Support the meeting purpose
  11. Alignment to Corporate Objectives: Specifically, how does the meeting Purpose and Outcomes satisfy the Organization’s strategic initiatives? 

The last point may be the most essential panel in the Meeting Development Canvas. If there is not a clear linkage in between the company and the conference’s strategic efforts, then why are you having a meeting, or more notably, how can you tweak the meeting to more closely align with the company’s strategic efforts?

Also, a vital part of the Meeting Development Canvas is just how much work needs to be done prior to the conference, specifically essential meetings where there specify Asks. This indicates that the organizer most likely requirements to talk to interact to the individuals the meeting purpose and objectives, and capture beforehand the participants’ requirements. Half the battle is won before the meeting even starts!


The McKinsey short article titled “The Business Value of Design” supplies various factoids to support their proposal that organizations that embrace design are more effective and effective (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Organizations that Embrace Deliver Better Financial and Shareholder Value

While the Meeting Development Canvas is not most likely used for all meetings, it ought to certainly be used for any meetings where there are particular asks of the various individuals, and specifically if there may be dispute between the requirements of the different stakeholders.

Conflicts within companies are not a bad thing; it is probably to happen in organizations where employee have a high degree of ownership for their work. The Meeting Development Canvas isn’t created to gloss over these disputes, however is created to supply an online forum and process for the resolution of those conflicts.

Now, isn’t that a great method to begin aligning the culture and altering of the company? Yea child, that’s the real power of style!

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