Evans Incorporated

Design Thinking and Change Management

Evans Incorporated is celebrating 25 years of human-centered solutions. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate Evans’ design thinking approach to its Change Management practice.

Lauren Thomas and Alicia Serrato

The term “design thinking” describes a creative approach to problem solving that places human beings as end-users at the heart of the process. This human-centered approach is grounded in the belief that the people who face those problems are the ones who hold the key to their answer. In a nutshell, design thinking involves understanding the user being served, and aims to arrive at practical and innovative solutions that are rooted in people’s actual needs. These principles hit close to home for Evans, and we apply design thinking to drive impactful human-centered change (Figure 1).

Step 1. Empathize: Learn about the change challenge from the end-user’s perspective.

Step 2. Understand: Look for patterns and insights that help you understand the potential barriers and enablers of the change.

Step 3. Ideate: Generate creative solutions that resonate with users, and find out what “wows.”

Step 4. Develop: Turn the best ideas into options that you can test in the “real-world’ and improve through iterative refinement.

Step 5. Parcel: Package the solutions(s) into an integrated and holistic suite that supports users through difference stage of the change.

First, we seek to gain a deep and broad understanding of the current situation to gain insights into the challenge of change from the end-user’s perspective. Then, we define creative solutions that resonate with users and that can be applied in the real world. After all, ideas without application are just that, ideas. To turn them into workable solutions, we refine ideas using an iterative approach based on user-experience. This helps us to generate practical recommendations that really do support users in adopting a change.

The final part of the puzzle is working out how to “package” different elements of the solution. Different users have different needs in terms of support they need to make a change, and these needs likely vary through different phases of an organizational change.

Evans’ experience has shown that this design thinking approach helps to identify issues that may have been missed by more conventional change management approaches. Since this approach also puts the end users at the heart of the process, risks associated with the change are better managed and mitigated than with conventional change management approaches.

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