Using Design-Thinking and co-creation to reshape culture

I am fascinated about the idea of using the principles of human centered and Co-creative methodologies of design-thinking. I like the idea that the real subject matters experts of any organization’s culture are not hired consultants but rather the employees themselves. How have you fostered employee ownership and creation of healthy culture using design-thinking?


Awesome question Steven!

At Culture Amp we are often experimenting with using design thinking in people and culture initiatives.

One of the more compelling examples of how we used elements of design thinking internally was when we began to look at uncovering a fourth company value.

We started with asking a question to the full organisation - “What is one thing about how we get things done at Culture Amp (not already captured in our values) that you would fight to keep?”

We gathered lots of inspiration from those responses and other research. Then we did workshops with volunteers across countries and functions to generate lots of ideas and make those ideas tangible with examples. We narrowed to the best fit with the leadership team making the call and then experimented with it for a while before fully embedding.

In the end we landed on adding a new company value to our existing three values and it fits so well! Involving employees, going broad with ideation and then narrowing and testing before embedding helped us get to something that feels right and has positively impacted our organisation culture as we grow.

Chloe Hamman wrote a nice summary of this process here if you are interested to learn more.


Funnily enough I used a scaled down type of design-thinking process to build an action plan in response to our engagement survey results once. We took the 5 big areas where we scored low and invited a random selection of 100 employees to participate in workshops/focus groups to help us with action planning. Before the sessions, the participants were sent a secret mission to observe how these issues were playing out on the floor so we could uncover real examples. They then brought these examples to a workshop where we co-created practical solutions.

@Steven_Chaparro Hey Steven! I work with a lot of HR and L&D professionals who are curious about using Design Thinking to co-create the employee experience. When I worked at Whole Foods Market, back in the day, we did lots of co-creation and in our fast-paced world of work, co-creation is a must for innovation as well as diversity and inclusion work if our organizations are going to keep pace with the time. I also get excited about using design thinking to help drive the alignment of the employee experience with the customer experience. If you ever want to chat and geek out together about design thinking or learn more about how we teach HR teams and employees to use Design Thinking to co-create, please reach out!

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Not necessarily an experience but an amazing resource of practical initiatives are shared by the amazing IDEO here - you can take any of these and apply them to any issue to follow the HCD approach.

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At my company, we worked with the founder of Equity Meets Design to engage our team members in a refresh of our operating model. This is design thinking with an equity lens. Have a look, hope it helps: