There are many articles that talk about the process of design thinking in abstract form, with an emphasis on techniques and assumptions, without dealing with the practical considerations of what it means to do design thinking in practice. This case study illustrates how we at ysura have applied Design Thinking to extend sales force reach by enabling them to easily implement a consistent, compliant multichannel strategy using our best-in-class Consent Management System and our intuitively supported personalized email experience. By designing the project along the five phases of the design thinking process, we can understand how this often chaotic process affects real life.
The first step was to understand the problem in all its facets, taking into account the different actors involved and their interaction. We are not salespeople, marketing managers or compliance specialists, so it was necessary for us to review our assumptions.
Once the challenges had been identified, we defined our problem as: "Enable sales reps and back-office staff to deliver the core messages of their products through relevant and customizable content delivered via email in a compliant and user-friendly manner".
After this analysis, we formulated our problem in "How could we" questions. "How could we do that" questions are a way to formulate ideas based on a problem. The aim of these questions is to provoke meaningful and relevant ideas.
We have created dozens of these questions to manage our ideas and prototyping process. Some of the questions were: "How can we ensure that an HCP does not receive repetitive content", "How can we enforce content compliance while maintaining sales force flexibility" and "How can we reduce the amount of email configuration while ensuring personalization".
In order to solve the content compliance problem, we decided to prototype a content block switch concept for the different sections of an email, allowing sales staff to control which approved content is eventually sent to the selected HCP. We have made this customizable for each recipient so that the message can be customized individually. In addition, we have added editable sections to templates that allow the sales representative to personalize the message to some recipients. This idea ultimately surpassed others, such as emails compiled from a list of text blocks, notifications to users of which text blocks are compliant, and the introduction of severity levels of compliance following.
We decided to develop prototypes for testing these different ideas and test them internally and with end users and project sponsors on a weekly basis. This allowed us to fix some of the problems we had to make users understand which messages were relevant and who might be interested in different content depending on their personal situation. The input and feedback from different user groups on our work was invaluable as they gave us an overview of how the tool could be integrated into their normal workflow.
Since the design thinking process is not linear, it may be necessary to jump forward or backward to achieve the desired results, depending on the stage of the project.
After the first release of our tool, we returned to the Definition of our Problem section to look for possible improvements and areas where we thought the results might be much better. This allowed us to further automate parts of the process, such as automatically turning content blocks on and off depending on the history of the content sent.
Design Thinking can be a powerful tool in practice and lead to success especially when many different interest groups in a company are affected by the problem. Many problems that appear one-dimensional at first glance, such as sending e-mails to customers, are often only really solved when the general situation and the personal context are taken into account. This is where design thinking unfolds its full benefits and achieves sustainable results.