House4IT had their blinkers removed

 

IT company House4IT is making a change in culture which means that the company's technically-skilled employees will also begin working more consciously with customer focus.

In order to carry the change forward, House4IT needed to be challenged on its general work procedures. And they very much were when they were invited to a design consultation at Design School Kolding.

- One of the biggest experiences of the day was the role-playing where we had to act the role of either customer or salesperson. Our technicians acted as salespersons and they went all in! They actually ended up putting on dresses which somehow enabled them to say how they really felt. We definitely found out where the shoe pinches.

Henrik Thune is the CEO of IT company House4ITand the wild dress-up session took place at Design School Kolding in connection with a design consultation. The reason it got that far was that the company really wanted help making a culture change, Henrik Thune explains.

- All of our employees are very good at what they do and highly specialised. They are plain out fantastic at developing products but not so good at structures, says Henrik Thune. So when he heard about the possibility of working with designers, he immediately contacted D2i - Design to innovate at Design School Kolding.

- I had heard about the design consultations through my network and thought to myself that this would be a great opportunity to get a different take on some of the challenges we face. And after my first talk with the designers I had a really good feeling about it so I signed up for a workshop, Henrik Thune says.

From the user perspective
Based on the company's presentation of the issue they were dealing with, the D2i designers organised a consultation that would focus very much on the user perspective. Design Consultant Kim Aagaard Holm explains:

- During the start-up phase it became quite clear that the House4IT staff specialises in a wide range of areas and therefore have very different perceptions of reality. Therefore we needed to a find a way to get them all working in the same direction. You achieve this by defining a common focus - and in this case it was obvious to look at user needs rather than the company's own needs.

Therefore the workshop was organised as one long learning process focused on collecting data about the outside world. Interview sessions, observation sessions and role-playing were all part of the process. And that it provided food for thought was clear from the evaluation forms that were filled out afterwards: - I just want to call up our customers and apologize, one of the employees stated.

Small steps in the right direction
The management is happy with the outcome: - The strategy was to give our employees an aha experience in relation to our customers - and they sure got that. Our blinkers were definitely removed, CEO Henri Thune concludes a few months after the design consultation.

- Before the consultation we did not think to put ourselves in the position of our customers. Things like follow-up phone calls, status updates, etc. that would make the customer happy and be the professional thing to do. Now this is one of our main focus areas. We are taking small steps in the right direction.

The CEO recommends others to sign up for a design consultation. But he wants to stress that the results are not just  handed to you on a silver platter:

- My advice to anyone who engages in a design consultation is to be prepared to take a good hard look inwards. I also got a taste of my own medicine in terms of what I require of my employees. Getting challenged on how we think and talk was a fantastic experience, Henrik Thune ends.