The innovation catalysts
Authors: R. L. Martin
Publication Year: 2011
Journal: Harvard Business Review
A few years ago the software development company Intuit realized that it needed a new approach to galvanizing customers. The company's Net Promoter Score was faltering, and customer recommendations of new products were especially disappointing. Intuit decided to hold a two-day offsite for the company's top 300 managers with a focus on the role of design in innovation. One of the days was dedicated to a program called Design for Delight. The centerpiece of the day was a PowerPoint presentation by Scott Cook, who realized midway through that he was no Steve Jobs: The managers listened dutifully, but there was little energy in the room. By contrast, an exercise that followed, in which the participants worked through a design challenge by creating prototypes, getting feedback, iterating, and refining, had them mesmerized. The eventual result was an organized program in which a team of nine design thinking coaches-"innovation catalysts"- from across Intuit were made available to help any work group create prototypes, run experiments, and learn from customers. The process includes a "painstorm" (to determine the customer's greatest pain point), a "sol-jam" (to generate and then winnow possible solutions), and a "code-jam" (to write code "good enough" to take to customers within two weeks). Design for Delight has enabled employees throughout Intuit to move from satisfying customers to delighting them.