KS&R Blogs



Welcome to the 2nd post in my blog series! Last week I discussed how KS&R's agile culture allows us to meet our client's ever-changing needs. Here's one example that our clients value for its refreshingly customer-centric approach.


"What is design thinking?"

I asked a friend from graduate school this question several months ago. Her response has stayed with me: "It's all about collaboration -- getting your client and their customers together to brainstorm and develop new ideas. And, even more importantly, giving these business professionals a structured way to ponder and apply what they are learning."

She's right. Real time "to ponder" is limited. It can be particularly difficult to absorb any insights when you are constantly pulled in different directions. I know that first-hand from my time at BellSouth and FedEx.

Design thinking may be a better way.

Additional research led me to an expanded vocabulary -- a new way of structuring ideation and taking those ideas to market. While experts will tout different words and processes, the essentials of design thinking are the same -- you are taking the time to understand who your customers are, defining the problems that need to be solved, brainstorming different ways to solve those problems, building prototypes and then testing them.

Our approach is very collaborative, where we facilitate our clients working side-by-side with their customers to understand experiences, pain points and delighters -- and then brainstorming improvements. This immersion is essential for building empathy. Ideas generated are stronger because they come directly from customers with direct guidance from key business experts.

We then work together in workshops to bring the ideas to life in a meaningful, tangible way -- and then take the proposed solution back to customers to capture their reactions (how's the experience, what do they like, how does it makes them feel, etc.).

In some cases these steps take place over a few days -- as a design sprint. For others it can be a longer process (typically not more than a few months). The approach is intended to be agile yet structured, with each step a building block to the next. The ending point is fully evaluated prototypes -- prioritized with the feedback needed to build business cases and make decisions about how to move forward.

Our clients find design thinking a refreshingly customer-centric approach for innovation and new product development.

Are you getting what you need out of your innovation platform and new product development processes?   Maybe it's time to ponder a new approach.

Continue reading the next blog in my series where I go into more detail about an innovative approach that allows you to catch your customers’ in-the-moment reactions as they enter a specified location -- geo-fencing.

Miss the first blog? Don't worry -- it will only take a couple of minutes to catch up! Read it here.

Jay Scott

Jay Scott

Jay answers the tough questions. He believes better information leads to better understanding, and his clients come back because they trust him to get it right. He is an innovator, looking for new ways to expand the research toolbox, whether by technology or methodology. With a broad understanding of qualitative, quantitative and design techniques, Jay is passionate about identifying business opportunities, creating new products and services, and bringing them to market. This dates back nearly 30 years when he led research that extended the product mix for key CPG brands. The lessons learned are now applied more frequently in B2B situations, including answering tough questions in e-commerce, global transportation, supply chain and logistics. Jay holds a Master's of Marketing Research (MMR) from the University of Georgia. When not at work, you can often find Jay watching his daughter's soccer games or sneaking out of town to catch the Atlanta Braves.