July 17

Episode 038 – Agile Procurement – Design Thinking

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This is part 2 of our mini series on agile procurement methods at work. Today, we cover Design Thinking

Episode Highlights

Today we are going to cover Design Thinking


    1. In a nutshell is a product development approach which is strongly focused on customers.
    2. How can we translate this to procurement?
    3. Our demand owners are our customers, if you want
    4. And their demands and the projects we make out of that are the products we deal with
    5. Before we do a one on one translation into procurement let's have a look of the elements of the design thinking approach
    6. Design thinking consists of six phases
    7. The first phase is the UNDERSTAND phase
      • in this phase you try to get the frame in which the product might take place
      • for procurement this might be a kickoff interview
      • in the understand phase you ask WHAT and HOW questions
      • In this phase you speak of stating the Design Challenge
    8. The second phase is the OBSERVE phase
      • in this phase our assumptions and things we have discovered in the UNDERSTAND phase undergo a reality check
      • only reality can confirm our assumptions
      • we widen our scope to neighboring problems or variations of our assumptions
    9. The third phase is the DEFINE phase, also called DEFINE POINT OF VIEW
      • in this phase, we describe our point of view, with our hardened and eventually adjusted assumptions
      • in DEFINE we also come up with something like a user story, which we already have covered yesterday
        • but this time we use a slightly extended approach.
        • User Stories in Design Thinking go like:
          • Name of the user / persona (who?):
          • needs (what is needed):
          • in order to (his or her need):
          • because (insight / finding):
    10. The fourth phase is the IDEATE phase
      • in this phase, product ideas emerge.
      • You use a lot of creative approaches like brainstormings in this phase
      • You also jointly agree on some paths that you will follow to find a solution
    11. The fifth phase is called PROTOTYPE
      • in this phase you build prototypes to build your solutions
      • this happens quickly and without any risk because we are working in an agile and very rough approach - so not much money is wasted, if things go wrong
    12. The sixth and last phase is TEST:
      • this is the phase in which you test your prototype
      • does it fulfill the needs of the user as determined in the first three phases?
      • this takes place after the built of each prototype
    13. Looking at these 6 phases, we can discover two addtional shapes:
      • from UNDERSTAND to OBSERVE, the scope widens, just to narrow towards DEFINE
      • from IDEATE to PROTOTYPE the scope widens again and narrows down towards TEST
      • This is also called the double diamond because of its shape
    14. One important thing to mention is that after each design thinking sprint you have an additional seventh phase, the REFLECT phase.
      • this helps to find out, what worked, and what didn't
    15. So how do we translate all this stuff now into our procurement life?
      Let's quickly go through the six phases
      • UNDERSTAND:
        • what is the demand all about?
        • what is the timeline?
        • do we have a budget or are we just screening the market for solutions?
      • OBSERVE:
        • this is what comes closest to supplier research.
        • this can be a supplier or price research for an existing vendor as well as market research
      • DEFINE:
        • we write down our discoveries
        • what is given?
        • what have we discovered?
        • User Story example:
          • Marketing (who?)
          • Needs a new printing supplier for our brochures in Eastern Europe until end of August (what is needed?)
          • in order to save on shipping costs from our existing US suppliers (the need)
          • because we have an increasing customer base in Poland and the Czech Republic (insight / finding)
        • IDEATE:
          • let's contact 5 suppliers we found through online research and invite them to an ebidding
        • PROTOTYPE:
          • set up the ebidding with our conditions
        • TEST:
          • run a first round (RFP) in the ebidding
        • REFLECT:
          • what was the result?
          • should we change our approach e. g. to in person negotiations?
        • At this point you might already have a good project result or you want to go back to the drawing board
  • Resources


    IDEO creates a next gen shopping cart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M66ZU2PCIcM
    Design Thinking Toolbox: https://www.amazon.com/-/de/dp/1119629195/

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