Using Design Thinking To Innovate Business Analysis

Report by

Natasha Saungweme talks-up the relevance of innovation in today’s modern product life cycle, and using design thinking to innovate business analysis.

Natasha Saungweme is a young management consultant at IQ Business with a passion for learning. Her core areas of interest are process and business analysis, as these drive the need for innovation for organisations to move forward.

Natasha works in large organisations on large complex multi-stakeholder projects, providing her with the opportunity to interact at different business levels. She is always ready for new challenges that allow her to grow both personally and in her career.

Congratulations on your recent talk at the Business Analysis Summit Southern Africa, it was well received by many. For those who weren’t fortunate to attend, could you give us a synopsis of what your presentation was about?

Thank you! I truly enjoyed the talk and it gives me so much joy to hear that people enjoyed it, and do hope that it added value to them as much as it did for me. My talk was based on using design thinking as a technique to innovate and how we, as business analysts, can impact more positively on the success of a project by simply bringing in the customer throughout the solution finding journey. Design is not always about the look and feel of products/services, it includes how customers interact with the product/services by assessing how it satisfies the core needs that the customer has.

The topic is clearly an area that you are personally passionate about. Why do you feel this subject is relevant and important for the business analysis profession?

Definitely, I enjoy reading up on design and how it is changing the world around us. More and more organisations are starting to realise that the more they move away from boardroom discussions about what their next move will be, or by moving away from assumptions of what their end users need, they will start to reap the benefits by simply making adjustments to how they move through a project life cycle.

By empathising more with your end users and by understanding their pains and gains, you start to create products that satisfy and solve problems for customers actual needs.

What is great about design thinking is that it can be customised and used in conjunction with other tools and methodologies in organisations, and allows us to build the right product from the beginning.

Having shared your ideas with the business analysis community. What key points would you like people to take-away, reflect and act upon?

Design thinking combines a few elements, such as creative and critical thinking, that allow both information and ideas to be organised, decisions to be made, situations to be improved and knowledge to be gained –

… it focuses on solutions and not the problem. It prompts us to question ourselves on how to better meet the needs of the customer.

There are many examples of big companies that use design thinking in their day-to-day operations, like Apple and Air BnB, and design thinking can and does work for all types of organisations, big and small. Yes, it can be challenging to implement at a more established company where process and systems run amok, but the benefits outweigh the process of cutting through all the red tape.

Gear Up:
Get A Range Of Techniques To Elicit, Analyse, Document And Manage Requirements
(And Grow Your Business Analyst Skills)

Business analysis summit spoiled in terms of the learning and networking opportunities. What was your greatest personal insight taken from the business analysis conference?

My greatest insight over the period that I spent at the conference had to be that we need to get over the title of just being called a business analyst. We need to focus more on what value we are adding given the roles that we fulfil. Are we being thought leaders? Are we actually occupying space in a team because we have the right skill fit for the project or because we just want to satisfy our ego’s. We need to be constantly questioning what value we are adding on a project at all times.

If I’m not mistaken, this was your debut talk sharing with the business analyst community. What words of encouragement do you have for people who may be considering presenting in future?

Yes indeed it was my first time taking part in this conference, both as a speaker and an attendee. The experience was amazing and enlightening, and I found my genius in design and innovation. Throughout the entire journey, leading up to the final presentation, I had to force myself outside of my comfort zone which enabled me to explore topics outside of my usual field of expertise and delve deeper into a subject area that has so much potential to affect the way we view our current skill sets, and how to apply them differently.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I want to encourage everyone to constantly MOVE AND SHIFT outside of their comfort zones. It is such a dangerous place to be in and I do believe that the best ideas come when we ask and challenge the status quo, all in pursuit of better experiences for the customers we serve.

Using Design Thinking To Innovate Business Analysis with Natasha Saungweme

Download Natasha Saungweme‘s slide-deck from BA Summit SA 2016 and find out more about Design Thinking To Innovate Business Analysis. Let @Newbert know how you’re using design thinking to innovate business analysis, on Twitter.

About Joe Newbert

Joe is a consultant, a writer, a speaker and above all a teacher, who spends most of his time at the Business Change Academy helping people to grow their skills, bring meaningful change and see their career soar.

Leave a comment