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January 26, 2016

What's Your Problem?

Posted by Sanjay Purohit (View Profile | View All Posts) at 4:13 AM

Service offering on Design Thinking and design-led initiatives [Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZBRZXcaNp4]

Even as the power of technology has risen exponentially over the years, its transformational impact - in terms of its contribution to solving the biggest problems of our times - has plateaued. Take transportation, which has been at a virtual standstill for more than a generation; in fact, in some cases, travel times have even increased. It's the same story with biotechnology, which, despite incredible advances in gene sequencing, has still not managed to find a permanent cure even for malaria. Part of the problem is practical, one of resources; it's often 'safer' to fund companies solving known problems with incremental solutions, as opposed to tackling the transformational.

But the bigger issue is one of mindset. Technology firms are so caught up in solving the known problems, in execution, and have become so good at it, that they've come to believe that it is perhaps all they need to do. Unfortunately, this is turning us into more and more able doers, who unquestioningly take instructions and follow through. That's denting our ability to be able problem solvers in the truest sense.

With the right approach, and dedicated application, we can turn this around very quickly. Last year, we at Infosys unveiled a new strategy for ourselves and our clients, which recommends renewing existing systems and processes to make them more efficient, while also embracing the creation of new systems, new constructs, undocumented next practices, and therefore creating new value. Finding or reframing the problem and then innovating from that point on is a central element in both. While enterprises must apply fresh solutions to known but reframed problems with the goal of achieving renewal, so far as unknown problems go, businesses first need to discover and articulate these, and then bring in unprecedented solutions. Next-generation technologies will play an enormous role in bringing these solutions to life. The scope of unraveling and resolving new problems is undoubtedly immense and its potential value left to the imagination. Let alone a complex issue like a cure for cancer or AIDS, who can even put a number to what the resolution of the demonization of sugar is worth to confectionery and soft drink companies? It's these types of questions that we who wield technology should be thinking about.

And Design Thinking is what we are relying on to help us do that at Infosys. Design Thinking advocates that the true purpose of enterprises is to find and frame the biggest problems plaguing customers, then imagine the most creative and desirable solution to these, before attempting to realize the idea in practical terms - in an iterative, experimental fashion. It is this approach to problem spotting and fixing that we have rigorously practiced to build our creative confidence, so the solutions we imagine for our clients are as audacious as they are appropriate.

Today, Infosys is the market leader for Design Thinking services execution. But, for us the journey has only just begun. I find myself excited and hopeful thinking of how we might go onwards to help zero in on the problems worth solving, uncover great innovations yet to be discovered, build these in ways unexplored that will help us all improve - as individuals and as a people, and work to move us all forward.

Frankly, I can't think of a better reason to get up and about each day.

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