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The Context Of Design Thinking And Its Application In Employee Skill Training

Design thinking is a crucial pillar in today’s problem-solving imperatives. In fact, it is being pursued as a unit course in various institutions across the globe, thus underlying its importance in aiding objective human thinking. It’s not a specific property for designers. Far from it, it has emerged as an innovative solution-seeking tool for all great inventors and innovators.
 
By description, it is a design methodology used for tackling complex problems that are virtually unknown or ill-defined, through a careful evaluation of the human needs involved, understandably restructuring the problem, by brainstorming to create many solutions, and by adopting a direct approach in testing and prototyping. It helps us come up with creative ways to solve nagging problems that stem from us and especially in the workplace setting.
 
The ‘overwhelmed/overburdened employee’ is a common term in HR offices across many organizations in the world. Employees are faced with a huge challenge in regards to coping with fast-paced technological and office changes in the working environment. This had led to a massive stagnation in productivity, prompting HR heads to look for new ways to reduce their employees’ stress and workload.
 
While evaluating many options, this model of thinking has posed as a helpful tool for HR managers when dealing with their vexed employees. IT training, in particular, has helped shape the productive realms of many companies out there.
 
Let’s explore how this thinking domain can be used to plan employee skill training:
 
Empathize
If you want to show concern for your employees, first empathize with their situation. Seek to understand the needs of the employees deeply, what they lack, what they need, and the challenges that they are likely facing. This will act as the basis of plotting the problem and working on the next phase of solving it.
 
You can collect data in this phase through empathy maps and journey maps. In the latter, you endeavor to steadily track the day-to-day activities and tasks of employees. This is achieved through observations or structured interviews. In turn, it aids in elevating the thinking process.
 
Through empathy maps, you ponder on collected findings and synthesize them keenly. Here, you seek to establish how an employee is thinking, their feelings, and insights into the probable root cause of the problem.
 
Define the Problem
After a comprehensive analysis of the collected data; the problem definition phase should follow. The idea here is to locate the underlying root of the problem concisely. HR should seek to utilize an analysis framework to help address problems affecting the holistic being of all employees. Therefore, each issue would require a list of underlying causes: lack of motivation, lack of knowledge/understanding, or just lack of skill.
 
Once the root cause(s) are clearly defined, a clear problem statement should be drawn up alongside performance goals that are firmly based on actual drivers. 
 
Think Solely About Employee-Based Solutions (iterative learning)
Conventionally, customers are at the heart of every organization’s dealings. They inspire and drive the company’s objectives because they are crucial in profit making. However, employees have greatly suffered while working ‘behind the scenes.’ Such situations have led to employees feeling discontent and work under immense pressure, which inevitably leads to underperformance. To avoid this, the experimental learning concept can be utilized by HR offices to engage employees more by creating solutions that directly suit the situations they encounter daily.
 
Here, trainers are removed as the center of focus. An iterative ‘reflection’ cycle is established to tap continuous employee feedback in a bid to sharpen their skills. This method helps employees adapt to new technology through a well established IT consulting network. In the long run, employees don’t forget how they handled a particular problem, and this effectively raises a firm’s productivity.
 
Support Employee Tasks with Simple Technology (Ideate)
The simplest way to support employee-working experience is by not sidelining them unprepared with changing technology processes. As an HR Manager, fully engage your employees when transitioning to new tech by making use of effective training or consulting services. Specific training needs can be assessed and addressed within the organization or with a third party industry expert. 
 
According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends Report, design thinking was isolated as crucial in crafting the employee experience. 79% of those interviewed identified it as imperative. However, almost a similar percentage agreed that a lot of compliance programs and training are still based on outdated modes of meetings and processes.
 
The report also recommended the need to put necessary consideration on employees through proper IT training for far colossal efficiency. One way to make this work is by drawing a connected roadmap of skills and information needed at certain work intervals. Shedding off overwhelming and irrelevant amounts of data for new employees is vital in retaining their concentration and output. What’s more, a customizable app can help employees undertake appropriate tasks at the specified time, thus resulting in higher revenue for the long term.
 
Implementing an Intuitive Tech Learning Approach (Ideate)
The basis of this argument is that not every employee is the same. All of them are differently gifted and shouldn’t be forced to use one inflexible technology or system that doesn’t cater to their individual needs in a buzzing work environment. This mode of critical thinking brings to life personas such that fictive employees representing a defined group of external employees are drawn up. In this set-up, the personas should be able to learn and work efficiently within their own small environment while quickly utilizing their own skill set and the required information to make things work.
 
An HR manager can replicate this working scenario through the use of role-plays. This can be achieved by conducting short-term soft skills training sessions to sharpen their ability to handle similar situations. In the case of new technology, video-replays on how to use it in a one-on-one customer scenario can help relieve the pressure and spur the employee to be more productive.
 
Prototype and Testing
Here, the HR Manager should run a couple of tests to ensure whether the desired model of skill training is working. One way to get started is by crafting a simple prototype of the technology required, probably as a single module to establish its viability.
 
The new technology should be vigorously tested during prototyping to pinpoint any leaks, disjoints, or performance issues. Structured walkthroughs can be implemented to help employees navigate the solution through proper IT training sessions.
 
What’s more, HR should conduct sessions to get the employees’ views, emotions, or feelings regarding the new solution. In case of any cause for concern, the prototype should be improved until it meets the intermediate needs of its users.
 
Iterations are also a common occurrence in this phase. Refinements and alterations are curved out to make sure that the final thing suits every employee in some understandable capacity.
 
Wrapping Up
Design thinking is crucial in any organizational setting in making sure that employees sync properly with the technology in place. This will go a long way in improving their productivity.

The name placard in your cube might not say anything about sales, but the truth is that everyone, employed as such or not, is a salesperson at some point every single day. In the traditional sense, this could mean something like pitching your company’s solutions to a client. In the less-traditional sense, it could mean convincing your child to eat their vegetables. Yet for those two drastically different examples and everything in between, there is a constant for successful sellers: unveiling the “Why.”

Spending time and energy making prospects understand why you do what you do instead of exactly what it is you do or how you do it is not a new concept. But I’m a firm believer that proven concepts, no matter how old and frequently referenced they are, can’t be repeated enough. This idea has recently and fervently been popularized by marketer, author, and thinker extraordinaire Simon Sinek via his 2009 book, Start With Why. You can learn about him here on Wikipedia or here on his site. To begin, let me suggest that you watch Sinek’s TED talk on Starting With Why here on YouTube before reading any further. I’ll let him take care of the bulk of explaining the basics, and then will offer some ideas of my own to back this up in the real world and explore the best ways to start thinking this way and apply it to your business.

First, a little on me. After all, if I were to practice what Sinek preaches, it would follow that I explain why it is I’m writing this piece so that you, the reader, not only have a good reason to pay attention but also understand what drives me on a deeper level. So, who am I? I’m an entrepreneur in the music space. I do freelance work in the realms of copywriting, business development, and marketing for artists and industry / music-tech folks, but my main project is doing all of the above for a project I’ve been on the team for since day one called Presskit.to. In short, Presskit.to builds digital portfolios that artists of all kinds can use to represent themselves professionally when pitching their projects to gatekeepers like label reps, casting directors, managers, the press, etc. This core technology is also applicable to larger entertainment industry businesses and fine arts education institutions in enterprise formats, and solves a variety of the problems they’re facing.

Not interesting? I don’t blame you for thinking so, if you did. That’s because I just gave you a bland overview of what we do, instead of why we do it. What if, instead, I told you that myself and everyone I work with is an artist of some sort and believes that the most important thing you can do in life is create; that our technology exists to make creators’ careers more easily sustainable. Or, another approach, that we think the world is a better place when artists can make more art, and that because our technology was built to help artists win more business, we’re trying our best to do our part. Only you can be the judge, but I think that sort of pitch is more compelling. It touches on the emotions responsible for decision making that Sinek outlines in his Ted Talk, rather than the practical language-based reasons like pricing, technicalities, how everything works to accomplish given goals, etc. These things are on the outside of the golden circle Sinek shows us for a reason – they only really matter if you’ve aligned your beliefs with a client’s first. Otherwise these kind of tidbits are gobbledygook, and mind-numbingly boring gobbledygook at that.

There are many excellent opportunities for IT professionals to present themselves to corporate entities for future consulting positions. You can find yourself in your next consulting engagement if you are willing to combine your IT skill-set, a good amount of corporate research and a bit of old fashioned moxie. Contrary to popular practice for applying for jobs through placement agencies and recruiters, it’s possible to meet with hiring managers, representing your firm, you, directly.

Although recruiters may not take a fee directly from you, the fact that they charge a fee for their services to a company after your placement may keep them from being able to place you. On the other hand, corporations searching for individuals with advanced knowledge of IT functions cannot rely on the friends and family of current employees to find superior consults in all fields.

What are some other options? First take the time to research corporations you would like to consult with. Look for the ones that most likely are complementary to your area of expertise because of the goods they produce or the services they provide to the public. Or you may opt to choose a company that is geographically close to where you live for the convenience of a short daily commute.  

Another way to find your next consulting job is to actively scan the news and see what corporations are making waves within their individual marketplaces. This is a good indicator of possible expansion and the need to hire on a contractual basis. Another good indicator of a need for IT professionals is a mention of a company relocation or expansion. Growth or renovation of office environments is often accompanied by a modernization of IT systems. Current IT team members may not be relocating or might not be familiar with systems other than the ones they already service.

Do as much research as possible about each corporation from their own websites and other sources dedicated to their particular field of endeavor. This gives you the edge in being able to speak about the IT systems they already have in place or your ideas for adapting their line of work or new product with the use of an IT system advancement. Their websites will often have a list of their corporate management. Make sure you address your cover-letter and resume to not only the Director of Human Resources, but to all executives in charge of their IT departments. Be specific in your abilities and the fact that you can be flexible with hiring arrangements.

Attend job fairs that have an emphasis on the more technical fields. When possible, also circulate your resume both digitally and in paper format to smaller and mid-sized companies. These corporations may not be able to maintain their own full-time IT group for fiscal reasons and your consulting prowess may be able to “save the day” for them in an emergency. You can become part of a corporate team on your own; all it takes is additional work on your part. However after your consultant job placement, you will be pleased that your efforts have succeeded so well.

 

When businesses are trying to expand and require professionals to lead teams, terminology may get in the way of who performs what roles. When it comes to information technology (IT), new and vital professionals may seem hard to differentiate between one another. However, there are key differences between specific professionals needed with IT departments. Here are the responsibilities that differentiate between an IT manager and an IT project manager.

IT Managers

IT managers are the leaders of the entire IT infrastructure a business has to function properly. The IT manager must lead the entire IT department to regulate and maintain the IT network for the business. As a manager, this IT professional corresponds with other departments in the business about how the IT department is implementing the goals the business is aiming toward. In addition, the manager must be fiscally responsible and answer to executives and financial officers in the business the reasons behind certain costs and investments. Because of the dual computer technology and business acumen this profession requires, many IT managers have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) related to information technology.

IT Project Managers

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the hartmann software group advantage
A successful career as a software developer or other IT professional requires a solid understanding of software development processes, design patterns, enterprise application architectures, web services, security, networking and much more. The progression from novice to expert can be a daunting endeavor; this is especially true when traversing the learning curve without expert guidance. A common experience is that too much time and money is wasted on a career plan or application due to misinformation.

The Hartmann Software Group understands these issues and addresses them and others during any training engagement. Although no IT educational institution can guarantee career or application development success, HSG can get you closer to your goals at a far faster rate than self paced learning and, arguably, than the competition. Here are the reasons why we are so successful at teaching:

  • Learn from the experts.
    1. We have provided software development and other IT related training to many major corporations in Canada since 2002.
    2. Our educators have years of consulting and training experience; moreover, we require each trainer to have cross-discipline expertise i.e. be Java and .NET experts so that you get a broad understanding of how industry wide experts work and think.
  • Discover tips and tricks about Security programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized Security experts
  • Get up to speed with vital Security programming tools
  • Save on travel expenses by learning right from your desk or home office. Enroll in an online instructor led class. Nearly all of our classes are offered in this way.
  • Prepare to hit the ground running for a new job or a new position
  • See the big picture and have the instructor fill in the gaps
  • We teach with sophisticated learning tools and provide excellent supporting course material
  • Books and course material are provided in advance
  • Get a book of your choice from the HSG Store as a gift from us when you register for a class
  • Gain a lot of practical skills in a short amount of time
  • We teach what we know…software
  • We care…
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