Why design can help your company in times of crisis

Robbert-Jan van Oeveren

Reading time
5 min read

Aug 05, 2021

Every day it becomes clearer how severely Covid-19 impacts us. At the same time, we have to move on and everyone is trying to find a new rhythm in our changed world. Obviously there’s a big difference in how companies are affected, but what can you do as an organisation? What is your new reality?

The power of design: navigating uncertainty!

In our new reality, we’ll have to redesign our processes and propositions, try out new things, find out what works and what does not, learn from it and improve continuously. We live in uncertain times and no one knows what this new reality will actually look like. But there’s one thing we know for sure. Organisations that are able to figure out what does and what does not work quickly and pivot their business accordingly, will get through this crisis best. 

That’s why we, as a design agency, probably won’t surprise you if we say: Use the power of design! The design process is made to navigate the uncertainty of innovation and to turn developments in the world around us into business opportunities. It helps to explore problems, co-create solutions and validate concepts. It assesses the needs and problems of all users involved and in doing so, uniting employees and customers. 

In order to get through this crisis, we see three important challenges:

      1. Recalibrate strategy
      2. Execute remotely
      3. New ways to organize

1. Recalibrate strategy

In turbulent times like these, the playing field changes. And this new playing field will bring forward winners and losers. Organisations with a deep understanding of their customers’ needs and pains, will have a better understanding of what to do next. But even with the best understanding, it won’t be easy, as there are lots of possible directions to choose from and decisions to be made. 

    • What do possible scenarios look like and what could be your role in them?
    • What (digital) propositions are desirable, feasible and viable?

In order to pivot quickly and react to changes, you’ll need a flexible organisation. In times of uncertainty there are simply no concrete answers. But you can build an organisation that is able to act quickly upon developments in the world around us. An organisation that has an ongoing dialogue with its users, that gathers insights, creates lots of ideas and is able to validate propositios in the blink of an eye. An organisation that does not stop until it gets it working.

Don’t try to keep your head down and wait till the storm blows over, but take the initiative and make a change. Now business is slowing down, grab that opportunity to step out of your daily routines and take action. At Koos, we can help you to set up transformation teams that are able to assess different scenarios, develop new propositions and open the dialogue with potential customers. Be quick, decisive and iterate in order to be successful.

2. Remote execution

With a lot of people working from home, processes will look different. That goes for the internal organisation, but also interaction between teams and with customers. In order to keep the business going, business activities have to change.

  • How can you offer your products and services remotely?
  • How to redesign the system to be more effective and cost efficient?

Fortunately there are lots of ways to keep businesses going, even with everyone working remotely. At Koos, when we run international projects, we often don’t have the opportunity to meet in person. However, this meant we already knew how to run these projects remotely. And for all other situations, we trust our design process: We figure out the needs of the users involved, design the process so it fits all needs and then just try it out to see if it works. 

In the coming months, we expect an economic downturn, which means, we will have to organize things smarter. Resources have always been scarce, but will now be even more so. So, we have to make sure that whatever we come up with, will actually work, before we invest resources in something that won’t. Remote design sprints are ideal for this.

In addition to coming up with and validating of ideas, design can also help to organize services as efficiently as possible. In order to create more efficient services, we need to balance users’ needs with business interests. Contact us and learn how Liander increased efficiency by 40% on the installation of smart meters using design.

3. New ways to organize

When you think about it, an organization is merely a collection of processes, which all work together to deliver a certain output. But if you mix up all these processes and change the normal structures like office, meetings, cultural aspects, etc. from one day to the next, what will happen?

  • How do you ensure that you keep your workforce happy and that everyone remains engaged?
  • How do you maintain your corporate culture when everyone works from home?

In recent years, we have dived further into the internal organization at Koos. If you want to change something, this is where it starts, and not only to get innovation off the ground. In processes around the “employee experience“, we have fine-tuned our service design tools, this time with the employee as the main user. We transformed organizations and redesigned HR processes in order to engage employees.

In a world where a lot of people work from home, we will have to ensure that employees continue to feel part of the organization and work on the right things. By not imposing this from above, but by designing it together, we will be able to make the best of it. In fact, our goal is to design it so well that even after this period people will still work together in a different, smarter way.

Koos is ready to help

This new reality will bring new challenges. Let’s try to make the most of it and keep our gaze forward, focussing on opportunities rather than threats. We are ready to support you, be it for strategy, execution or organization.

As we always say at Koos and certainly now: Trust the design process.

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