The adoption of design thinking and lean startup in an agile organisation

A case study of a global financial institution

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Background: GFI was a global financial institution. An innovation methodology, DTLSA, was created for GFI through the integration of Design Thinking, Lean Startup, and Agile/Scrum software development. Signs of a low-level adoption for DTLSA were witnessed internally, despite ongoing promotion efforts.

Objective: This project aimed at improving the DTLSA adoption at GFI through empirical research and design intervention (directions). First, an investigation was needed to validate the potentially low-level adoption of DTLSA and to analyse different aspects of the DTLSA adoption status quo. Then, barriers and enablers for DTLSA adoption were sought out in pursuit of a better understanding of DTLSA adoption. Furthermore, the contextual information gathered in empirical research was used to inspire the design process for potential improvement concept directions.

Research methods: A mix of different research methods were used to achieve a holistic understanding of the topic: literature and existing knowledge study, group session, interview, and survey.

Research results: The low level of DTLSA adoption was confirmed, despite the positive aspects of DTLSA adoption such as sufficient understanding, and high motivation at GFI. A variety of barriers and enablers were found, the majority of which were related to 2 significant factors: team autonomy, and team engagement. 3 growth stages for DTLSA adoption were identified regarding the different levels of these 2 factors. Team autonomy at risk caused by multiple barriers was considered the most pressing issue that led to the low level of adoption.

Design: The design problem was defined as empowering the ambassador figures who emerged in teams during the DTLSA adoption. A storyboard of a possible current situation and an imaginative narrative of an ideal situation was created. 3 concept directions were proposed.