How to Incorporate Design Thinking into Process Change Management

Gloriaqiao, JD, MBA
2 min readAug 2, 2020

For an organization going through any significant change, design thinking is key. To push for a change without understanding the why, the how and fundamentally the users’ experience after the change is counter productive. Here is how.

  1. Understand first.

What’s the current process? Have you taken the time to talk to the stakeholders, document their current workflow, understand their pain points and inquire about their wish list? Knowing the path is drastically different from walking the path. If the decision maker has not experienced the as is process first hand before idealizing the change and pushing out new processes, the initiative is guaranteed to frustrate. Understand first. Do not imagine.

2. Empathy is key.

To push out a new process, you must empathize with the users. For a decision maker, a “nice to have” may be a nightmare for execution in the field. Do you live their pain? Do you understand for each added step how much effort it entails in the field and where it could go wrong? After it goes wrong, how much pain they have to suffer through to remediate it? Without empathy, it’s easy to sit in a glass castle and push out imagined best practices, only to fail miserably in the field.

3. Iterate, iterate, iterate. To fully understand and test a new process, don’t have any idea set in stone. Roll out something, test, solicit feedback, and iterate. Don’t let ego be in the way. To iterate is not to admit mistakes, but to acknowledge the unknown and use the process to learn.

4. Keep it simple. If it’s complicated, it’s because you don’t really understand. If you truly understand, there must be a way to do it in a more succinct, clean and elegant way. Challenge the clutter. Don’t give in to overly complicated schemes and more than necessary steps. Remember “KISS”, keep it stupid simple. Just like Einstein said, “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.” If you remember the Apple out of the box experience, you will know what I mean.



Gloriaqiao, JD, MBA

Silicon valley technologist. Writer. Amateur artist. Yogi. World traveller. Mother of two but still a child at heart.