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Excerpts from the talk ‘HUMAN CENTRED DESIGN AS AN L&OD IMPERATIVE, delivered by Shanti Sharma, Country Learning Lead, ANZ, at Learning League 4 (26th July 2019)

The financial industry is being redefined as we speak. Innovation in the financial technology has already begun to disrupt the Banking industry, as there is a drastic change in how financial institutions are serving and helping consumers achieve their goals. Digitization shift has revealed that most banking systems are still obsolete and industry exposed to unexpected competition, smaller financial technology companies are tearing down the traditional models by using digital technology for a better customer experience.

That said, the traditional Banking institutions are also making a tectonic shift by adapting to more Human Centred approach to address their day-to-day
problems and cutting down their operational costs. We had Shanti Sharma Country Learning Lead at ANZ talking on how a very traditional Banking institution like ANZ have understood the need for a shift to Design Thinking to bring a change in the organisation.

Tell us about how a traditional Banking institution like ANZ decided to adopt Human Centred Design for their day-to-day operation? It was probably in relation to the organisations need for a digital transformation strategy and becoming agile and nimble, to respond to changing customer demands; that the leadership team was keen to explore how other competitor banks and technology companies were doing in the digital space, at an Enterprise level. It was then they appreciated the concept of Human Centred
Design/Design Thinking.

Shanti mentions they were quite lucky to have the India leadership
teams’ complete backing in order to implement new methods like design thinking in the organisation. How was this vision of adopting Design Thinking extended within the Bank? It was not easy as the bank was already going through a digital transformation phase and teams were already working on various concepts such as Six Sigma, Lean, Kanban, and Systems Thinking to optimise internal processes & projects.

“First we had to bring the awareness around Design Thinking and how it related to all the other methods that were being used in the company then. The leadership themselves invested 2 days in understand the concept and how it might apply to ANZ. They truly partnered with us, the learning team to shape up an intervention that tied all the concepts in a seamless manner together. The idea and concept was floated with the employees through leader connects plasma screens teasers on design thinking, sessions/ town halls, quizzes etc. to familiarise employees with Design Thinking.”

How did you manage to get the employees actively participate in a new
program like Design Thinking? We faced challenges initially to get this concept familiarised among the employees. One of the things that we did was to make it a highly recommended program for both Operations and Technology teams under the Strategic Learning Priorities umbrella. Secondly, the organisation had already adopted Agile and there are so many parallels to design thinking. We had to show it to the people that they were already practicing Design Thinking but under different names or tools, for e.g., in Agile its User stories and in Design Thinking  its empathy research.

What is the USP of Design Thinking over Agile and other existing
methodologies? Design Thinking’s power is finding the right problem to solve; it helps us to focus on where to start in identifying the right problem. Design thinking is more of mindset shift. It is advisable to start with Human Centred Design process. After you have identified the right problem to solve, finding solutions is easy and process like Agile, Lean or Kanban etc. helps you get there.

How do companies that are more operations focused adopt to
Design Thinking? It’s the same problem faced by any organisation that are getting into Human Centred Design, be it a start up, design driven company or any traditional organisations. Every process or project in any organisation is driven by people.It’s the people that are running these processes or task. Hence, developing skills of empathy within the team and team leaders helps them to observe the way their day-to-day task are done. And these observations, by practicing empathy, will definitely help them come up with an innovative idea to run things differently for a better tomorrow.
Any new or exciting projects at ANZ run by Design Thinking?

We decided to partner with UBQT Design Thinking School for a workshop on
Design thinking. It was during the workshop, the leadership team was very keen to address the current transport scheduling and routing issues.

Saarthi”, an internal cab routing and scheduling app for ANZ employees was born out of the workshop. A Chat bot for addressing HR related queries was another idea that has seen action in the last year.

Any advice for new Design leaders and peers who are venturing into Design

The most important point to keep in mind is to have your leadership teams support, always have their backing to initiate any design related projects. Second, build a strong pipeline of projects for employees who have undergone training to practice what they have learnt.

Lastly, go for easy and quick wins to gain confidence of the employees and
Project Managers.


Anirban Bhattacharya

Anirban Bhattacharya

Now Hiring! Founder at ubqt Design Thinking School. Founder at The Painted Sky.

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