Stephen Hawking is thought to have once said that “intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”
If he is to be believed, then nowadays, companies are required to be more intelligent than ever before. Consumers are becoming ever more demanding and the new technologies that are rapidly becoming part of daily life are enabling them to be ruthless in their purchasing choices. Brand loyalty is no longer a given and the ability to adapt to this new landscape – to use technology to build a stronger customer experience – is becoming essential to business success.
However an organisation tries to implement digital technology, from making their in-store experience more helpful to making their post-purchase interactions more intuitive, those that fail to embrace this change will fall behind.
The simple truth though, is that many organisations are struggling with where to start. The wide range of different technologies on offer can be daunting and there’s no set way to implement a digital change. There are, however, two concepts which have gained particular traction in recent years:
1. Agile Delivery
Commonly used by technology companies and in software development projects, to take an agile approach is to create and deliver solutions as quickly as possible. It’s not all about speed though. An agile strategy is also an interactive one, that sees a solution evolve even as it is being developed.
The key advantage of employing this concept is that it allows a great deal of flexibility. The fact that a project can change and adapt as it develops allows any potential problems to be dealt with immediately. As a result, there’s very little chance of reaching the end of a year-long project and realising in hindsight that something should have been done differently mid-way through the development stage.
2. Human-Centred Design
Also known as ‘design thinking’, human-centred design focuses heavily on innovation. It offers a creative approach to problem solving and, as its name might suggest, employs processes that rely on people from different backgrounds and experiences to work collaboratively, in order to create and develop new ideas.
Human-centred design ultimately focuses on the end user, encouraging organisations to learn about their audience and create solutions that are valuable to them on a human level.
What are squads?
Squads, or multidisciplinary teams, are an elegant way of bringing these two approaches together – one that focuses on efficiency and technology, and another that focuses on people – to create a framework that enjoys the best of both worlds. It’s a methodology that brings together people with different skills and specialisms to create a unique team and devise a tailored solution.
For example, a squad responsible creating a new digital product, such as a smartphone app, might consist of people with development, research, UX design and business experience, in order to make it technologically feasible but also useful. A data intelligence squad, however, would consist of a team with design, technology and data science skills, in order to extract the best insights from big data while also finding effective ways of visualising it.
The key factor in any squad is that it has the ability to change based on the evolving needs of the business. As a result, the solutions that are generated benefit from the flexibility of agile design and the innovation of human-centred design.
When are squads used?
Squads usually emulate start-up environments within a large, established company. Part of the reason that start-ups are so innovative and are disrupting many industries is that they have a unique working process – it’s this process that squads help to recreate.
Often, start-ups come together with a small number of staff. They don’t always have dedicated designers, data analysts or developers, and so members work in a range of areas with a shared sense of responsibility for helping the company grow. Squads employ a similar concept, using this hands-on approach to generate innovation.
At Stefanini, we don’t have a set of ‘ready-made’ squads that businesses can pick and choose from. Indeed, some projects don’t even require one. Squads are about understanding the context of a challenge and putting together a multidisciplinary team with the skills required to create a tailored solution. This is why the concept is so powerful; squads are entirely adaptable to an individual organisation and its unique challenges.
There are many different organisations that use some kind of squad methodology, but at Stefanini, we are different in the sense that we are able to back up our creative suggestions with a strong technological solution. We use experts in a range of fields to continually improve a process that never ends.
When used correctly, squads have the potential to generate ideas that will completely transform an organisation’s customer journey, and they are a vital part of our processes here at Stefanini. Designed specifically to combat the most unique challenges, there is no better way of determining how best to embrace a digital change.
Find out how squads could help your organisation here.