The Human Centered Design Podcast with Gerry Scullion

"Driving Design Innovation: Building Mindsets, Navigating Challenges, and Assessing Maturity with Munib Karavdic"

John Carter
December 20, 2023
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"Driving Design Innovation: Building Mindsets, Navigating Challenges, and Assessing Maturity with Munib Karavdic"

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In this episode, Gerry interviews Munib Karavdic, a design innovation expert. Munib shares insights into his work at Wave Design, an Australian design innovation company, where the focus is on helping businesses design new programs to address pain points or improve user experiences. He emphasizes the importance of elevating the mindset of people involved in design projects and building capabilities within organizations.

Munib discusses the challenges of intrapreneurship, drawing on Steve Jobs' experience at Apple and Pixar. He highlights the need for entrepreneurs within large organizations to navigate stakeholders, inspire teams, and develop a different set of skills compared to startup entrepreneurs. The conversation delves into the value of encouraging entrepreneurship in all organizations and the necessity of having a strategy in place to align innovation efforts with overall goals.

Later in the episode, Munib introduces "WaveAssess," a tool developed during his time at AMP, aimed at assessing an organization's innovation and design maturity. He discusses the importance of problem framing to achieve alignment and shares a practical trick involving visual designers to facilitate discussions around solutions. The episode provides valuable insights into the challenges and strategies involved in driving design innovation within corporate settings.

Episode Transcript

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[00:00:00] Gerry Scullion: Munib, I'm delighted to have you on the podcast, longtime admirer. And, as we were talking about there before we actually had a coffee in Sydney. It must be close to nine or 10 years, maybe since, we actually sat down for that coffee, but maybe for our listeners, who aren't familiar with your work, maybe start off, tell them a little bit about yourself, where you're from and what you do.

[00:00:24] Munib Karavdic: Well, it was lovely to, be in your program, Gerry. And I must say that, that I really appreciate the, the contribution that you are making to design world, with this, program. And I think it's very good to, to hear many opinions, many experiences, and many views that people can learn, how to make stronger design community in any country, and it's very good actually that you do that globally.

[00:00:53] It's kind of, I really love that. Thanks very much. Yeah. Yeah. That's right. Well done for doing that. I really appreciate it. And I'm pretty sure a lot of people appreciate that. And thank you for inviting me to, to have a chat with you about some experience. It's all good. Wave design. Wave design. So, so yeah, look, I think a wave design is a design innovation company in Australia, which is focusing pretty much actually, helping businesses.

[00:01:27] To, design new programs. And it's not, doesn't necessarily need to be innovation, all the time. So there are some things that, people feel pain points, feel some bad experience, or a product is not functioning well. We're trying to, help them and that's, is our role. And on top of that, we also believe that, you know, to be successful in the companies and especially innovation and design program, we need to elevate mindset of people who are surrounding those projects and in order to do that, you need to build that picture and you need to, include people, involve them in this in some way.

[00:02:12] Train them to do stuff. And we have this approach where we, uh, we, work with subject matter experts that our kind of philosophy is that we need to work with people within the organization, and then, we finish our work, they can continue doing work otherwise. If we don't have a people who will continue the work, most of the projects will end up in some drawers or in the bin and things like that.

[00:02:39] So this is what we, what we actually, focus on. And then we see the outcomes and our clients are saying that. The biggest value that we provide is that we actually give confidence to their people because people, their people are actually talking about design and outcomes, not my people, not our wave design people.

[00:02:59] So, yeah, and, we, this is what we help them building these capabilities as well. So we have a program that we, what we call this learn by doing program where people experience that firsthand, how to deliver small, solutions for the organization and solve some smaller problem within the organization while they learn how to apply Human centered design methods and tools. So yeah, this, kind of mix of everything. Yeah. 

[00:03:32] Gerry Scullion: You've, got a, you've got a great mix. We, as a, as we've already discovered, we could speak for hours and you did warn me in an email saying, oh, I don't think an hour is gonna be enough. 'cause when we, you start talking, it's gonna go on for a little bit.

[00:03:48] I remember. Speaking to you, I'm walking away kind of saying you, you are very wise. That's one thing that came out of my mind. I can hear that again from just speaking to you for the last 40 minutes or so. But the bit that struck me was the, deep interest in within the ecosystems of organization to foster entrepreneurship.

[00:04:12] Okay, that, that came through in the conversations we had almost 10 years ago. And what I'm really interested in is why that is interesting to you as a practitioner. 

[00:04:24] Munib Karavdic: So I think, you know, when you are, kind of entrepreneur, so you will have a. One, it can be one band, or you can have a few people around you making decisions and you are in love with your kind of solutions that you have in mind or your idea that you have in mind, and then you struggle how to scale this.

[00:04:46] And, but on the other side, you have all of these aspects, what startups don't have, like, you know, you have a. environment already set up systems, infrastructure, market awareness. And then the question is how you navigate. And the challenge here is as we progress. With our careers and companies is growing.

[00:05:06] We actually make our internal knowledge stronger and stronger while understanding outside world is getting weaker and weaker. And that's what we call this, kind of what to build gap. And the point here is we, kind of starting forcing things that we believe it's right. And even if we say. look, we, let's, talk to customers.

[00:05:31] We don't need to because our people are our customers. Let's talk to them, but they are not the same. We know. And kind of, I actually found very interesting and challenging navigating that because we have a different characters. We have different behaviors. We have a different leadership styles. And then you need to study people, how they reacting on some things.

[00:05:51] And then when based on that understanding of people, you create some certain. kind of approach that will actually get, win people over and start actually following what you've been doing. And the biggest kind of, the biggest prize for an intrapreneur is that you can see people are driving that without you being there.

[00:06:16] Yeah, that's, a very interesting, you know, then the, actually this term of intrapreneurship was actually strengthened by Steve Jobs. You know, when he was fired from Apple and then he established Pixar studio and he came back to Apple and he admitted it and saying, Hey, I've been kind of constantly an entrepreneur and I didn't adapt to the situation that I was running big company.

[00:06:45] Which is global company. And I still, I was still acting like an entrepreneur. And this is real challenge for people who are kind of scaling up startups. And then he realized that he needs to now navigate stakeholders. He needs to navigate people. He needs to kind of inspire people to follow him. There was much different kind of set of skills and capabilities that people should acquire.

[00:07:09] In order to drive the innovation in large organizations, it's not like, you know, I'm excellent in this and therefore I will drive that in proper way. So, 

[00:07:19] Gerry Scullion: Entrepreneurship, when we, look at it from every organization, do you believe is it something that they should encourage or is it just certain organizations would be better suited to it?

[00:07:34] Munib Karavdic: Absolutely encouraged. Like, you know, and then see, in my view, that's the way for growth. Yeah. So, becoming an entrepreneur. And, even people who are just trying to do stuff is actually very helpful, even if it's mistake, if it's error and things like that. But actually to, to get into entrepreneurship, it's not just good enough that you have some enthusiastic people driving it.

[00:08:02] It needs to be an entire strategy behind it. And then the strategy means how much we are aligned with our overall strategy. And then we don't want actually people to go to reinvent kind of a space shuttle while we are working on some insurance product. So we want actually people to be aligned with our mission where we want to go.

[00:08:23] But at the same time, we need to understand what are the Frameworks that we work together. What are the methods and tools that we use? What is our commitment in terms of funding? How we approve this kind of project? There are a set of activities that we need to have in place before we jump with the Hackathons with, brainstorming sessions and things like that.

[00:08:48] So, and then I walk into organization and people would say, Hey, we have a thousands of ideas. We don't know what to do with them. Of course you don't because you don't have a process and then you don't have a situation when you get an idea of what happened after that. 

[00:09:06] Gerry Scullion: It's like I was speaking to Ofer Yantov, on the podcast, if you haven't listened to that episode, folks, it's available.

[00:09:15] well worth a listen, but he, we spoke about designers or change makers that are in the organizations at the moment and. They, don't feel that they're making their mark. They don't feel like the dial is moving. And they're banging their heads against the wall. And they want to try something. They want to try and encourage, you know, growth, of the, maturity of the organization.

[00:09:45] His advice was, if you don't get the, leadership. Buy in, go somewhere that does value it. Okay, go somewhere that really, makes you feel like you're actually making a difference. But if you can't leave, okay, this is the question I wish I asked over, but if you can't leave those scenarios, okay, because I know some people are tied down, they've got mortgages, they've got situations where maybe there's visas, whatever it is, and they want to try and demonstrate the value.

[00:10:16] They want to try and encourage leadership to take notice. What are the most common blockers that they face, do you see, and how do you get around them? 

[00:10:29] Munib Karavdic: Well, number one is actually kind of mindset, as I mentioned earlier, um, because we train leaders. In some certain way, how to lead the organization. And when you come with some kind of new concept, a new kind of way of thinking for them.

[00:10:48] So it's not new here. Well, when we all kind of designers are familiar with this and then they would walk in and comfortable saying, this is how we rule the world. But actually, when you start talking and then if people are not comfortable, a lot of them would not admit and say, well, I don't understand this.

[00:11:04] They would just push back. Yeah. So, and then the best way to do that is to find the way how you make it closer to those people and then as simple as like, you know, inviting leaders to get into the interviewing process when you go to do the research, for example, and it's kind of. When you structure that in the way, when the leaders go and observe what happened, then they were really shocked what they heard because they usually live in some isolated world and they don't have a lot of interaction with end users.

[00:11:38] And then when they hear this first, kind of hand, they start actually. Moving, but there are a lot of tricks that can do when I was, at AMP, which is for your listener, which is the largest at that time was largest life insurance company and superannuation provider in Australia. So I actually, because my CEO kind of was traveling around the world every six months because meeting shareholders.

[00:12:06] And then what I did actually, whenever I figured out that he's cities that he's going, and I was looking my connections in these cities and then. people who are doing design innovation and, or companies who did it in design innovation and I start connecting them and he was actually capturing, it was meeting with these people and getting some information and he would come back to Australia and he would talk stories what he heard from these people.

[00:12:31] So it's kind of, and you know, when I teach entrepreneurship and I, you know, I, put it as a bell curve, like, you know, and in the organization and the right hand side, you have a, you have a. knowledge kind of experts in design innovation. Then you have a champions who are following those knowledge and experts.

[00:12:51] And then you have a people who are what I called it fence sitters. And they were not sure will they actually go with the kind of champions or they will go. And the last group is naysayers. And then, you know, you have a lot of these naysayers at the beginning. So, and then the job of anybody, a designer, or who mainly had a design, is actually to make sure that first you actually move these fence sitters into the camp of champions.

[00:13:19] And then the naysayers will start actually going and become, kind of fanciers and they will start actually follow. So kind of when we started doing this, I remember we did that. We did the first kind of, kind of ethnographic research about some insurance product, a new product. And then we organized session on insights, what we learned from these sessions.

[00:13:43] And I organized kind of what I call the town hall. Session in the organization. And we had a room of 300 people can sit there and we had a seven or eight people who were presenting. And actually only for first session, only four people turned up. And, then my guys were asking me saying, well, look at this.

[00:14:01] There's many more people than actually, who are presenting the people who are in audience. And it's what we are going to do. I said, you, we present even for people we present. And then when we presented these four people, the next session, we had a. probably 20. To cut long story short, after several iterations, when we weren't actually going around the organization and presenting, we had a, people couldn't fit in the room.

[00:14:25] That's how people become interested in this. And that's what I'm saying. You, have these naysayers converting in some way that they will kind of fancy this when, and then you can get. People, and with you, and then it was kind of the biggest outcome for me would be after the session when people came to me and said, I now understand what actually casting a centric organization means.

[00:14:49] And that's kind of, and that's what you want. 

[00:14:51] Gerry Scullion: Aligning on the definition is one of the things like, what is it we mean by what we're talking about? Because one of the things that I kind of curse are the English language for is design is interpreted into many different things. And. Aligning on the fact that it's not just about making it look good or, you know, having a nice big shiny logo that animates into something that's actually really functional and delivers for both the business and the person using the product or service.

[00:15:23] That's a big thing for an organization to get through. Now, I want to, talk to you a little bit more around because in the research for this. I know you've developed a tool, um, that you did when you were at AMP. And I'd heard about it, I think you mentioned this to me when we had coffee, so it's been around for, I don't know, a while.

[00:15:45] I think you call it Assess, which is a great name for a tool. But tell me how it came about, and tell us a little bit more around how it works and operates, and what value it can bring to an organization. 

[00:16:01] Munib Karavdic: Look, before I start doing it, I have to give a credit to my friends from Luma Institute and especially the guy who was the CEO, Chris Paccioni, who was, he and I really partnered well, even if it was on the other part of the continent in the U.S. in Pittsburgh, I was in Sydney, but we really kind of work well. In kind of bringing this kind of, kind of corporate design in, into kind of very established organization that have a very traditional way of delivering things. So, and then, his team was spending some time, doing some research and we captured some, some, articles from, Sloan Management Review, Harvard Business Review, and some others, some mix of theoretical and managerial articles.

[00:16:48] And then. There are a lot of these cultural assessment of innovation and things like that. And we start actually, they build the first cut and I'll continue building that at AMP. And what we did, because we introduced this kind of training called HCD practitioner program. And we wanted actually people to go through this program.

[00:17:07] And we, kind of managed to train around 1500 people. it was really huge. And then not actually by. The leaders selecting people that we actually had a website where people can nominate themselves to go into this program. And then if they have a approval from leaders, they will come in and we will go through this.

[00:17:25] And then what happened actually when we did is we were trying to assess the leadership. So how people see that and before we started with the training. We asked people to fill in the survey and tell us their own perception of what is design innovation at MP. And we were surprised that we got a very high score for many aspects, which I personally being there knew that it.

[00:17:49] Probably is not realistic, but anyway, so that was the perception. And, what we usually say, perception is our people's perception is our reality. But when people went through the course and program of what we designed for them, and we actually asked them again, six months later to do the same thing.

[00:18:06] Results were much lower. And then when we, investigated with people saying, well, what happened here, they said, well, we actually thought that's the kind of what we have, but when we actually understood what is that, that we needed to have, we've realized that it is not actually up to the, but then we started actually building that across the organization.

[00:18:30] And that was kind of, and then what I did, I was, and then I worked on that more and modified with my team at Wave Design, we further consult literature, and then I was, starting building this entrepreneurship course at university. And for that purposes, we build this, what we call that WaveAssess. And what we do with that kind of program, we just, we don't actually, it's kind of free.

[00:18:56] People can go to our website and take this WaveAssess, kind of, survey, which is very good actually in the way that when you finish the survey, when you go through the process and assess yourself, you will get an email immediately saying, this is what kind of our assessment or system is actually, positioning your, level of, progress in innovation and design in your organization.

[00:19:21] So, which is very cool. But what we do, we usually, when we go and talk to people, we go into, to spend a little time in the in depth interviews of leaders, and then we ask the same leaders to go through this questionnaire. And we look at that from two aspects, like what people told us and what people think through the survey.

[00:19:40] And what, actually to our surprise, we found that very often they are different. And, what we learn from people deeper and then their kind of processing things is different from their assessment. And there is a tendency that people would probably point, paint better picture when they go through the survey, as opposed to when we talk to them in detail.

[00:20:05] And it could be also clarifying some terms. Yeah, we have assessed tool is actually in some ways could be technical and people don't understand that. 

[00:20:14] Gerry Scullion: So let me understand that a little bit more. Is that a case of what the belief systems that the leaders have versus their actual reality of the skills that they have at hand?

[00:20:27] Is, that a defensive measure, do you think? What's causing that, like, where is that disconnect? Is that just a human, condition? 

[00:20:36] Munib Karavdic: It's human nature. It's human nature. And then, people have a tendency to, when you go through self assessment, people have a tendency, to be biased, biased. And this is human nature that we are biased towards ourselves.

[00:20:53] But when you. Talk about these things. And that's the value of going into deeper discussions with the leaders. And then, then they, you can hear a lot of stories and you can hear, especially like, you know, confidential discussions, like, you know, we, because we never actually present this as you can understand, we never present that as individuals views.

[00:21:13] We always look at that in aggregate way. But it was quite interesting, actually, some leaders, when we come with the aggregate views of the insights, then some of you say, I would like to know who said that. No, we can't, because it's not, it's kind of our own kind of interpretation of what we heard.

[00:21:31] But I think it's kind of a very good exercise. And then we call that alignment. And it's kind of. Critically important, because very often, and when I talk about this very often, people left the meeting, thinking we really know who is doing what. And, a week later, we came back to a meeting and we realized that people interpreted, what we concluded in a meeting in different ways.

[00:21:58] And this is where Disconnect started. And then coming back to your question, what is actually, what was my motivation to drive this entrepreneurship? This is exactly that. So you need to, just imagine you have a symphony orchestra. And then if violin is having another tune, and then piano has another tune, nobody will listen.

[00:22:19] So the question is, how do you actually get your organization to act like a symphony orchestra? 

[00:22:25] Gerry Scullion: On that point, I remember, trying an exercise out years ago, and I don't know who told me about it. It's not something that I came up with, but, on that point of, you're running these meetings and what did we agree on?

[00:22:42] You spend five minutes with a post it to write down what did we agree on in a post it, and then you put them up on the wall, and you see that there's a disconnect across the room, and you kind of go, how has this happened? We've all agreed, and we've all agreed on different things. So, Those kind of exercises of visualization of creating an alignment is something that's quite powerful.

[00:23:05] Do you have any understanding about, other things that you can include to help with those alignment pieces? Because that this is, the alignment piece is a huge opportunity for people who are in those situations as I've addressed, that they can't move the dial. You know, journey mapping, visualization, creating boundary objects.

[00:23:26] They're all great. But for the design maturity, I think the alignment is one of the most important places to start. 

[00:23:32] Munib Karavdic: Yeah. So I think there are obviously many approaches how you do that stuff, but I think one of the methods we use is very much about problem framing and, and we apply, we actually go into kind of explaining the context of problem framing, like why do you need to frame the problem?

[00:23:52] And one of the biggest kind of outcome of problem framing is to get aligned because once you get with one problem starter or statement starter means that there is everybody should be on that page. And then, on top of that, we don't insist that we spend hundreds of days going around and the tendency could be in corporate world.

[00:24:18] People will have endless discussion. What's the problem, but we don't actually put on that. And we, what we're saying, let's actually focus on once a statement started and then talk to people who experienced that problem and then see if we are right. That's I can tell you 90 percent of cases. We have, we've talked about 

[00:24:37] Gerry Scullion: the problem.

[00:24:39] I, I used to think in my naivety, it was just like people being obnoxious and kind of going, I'm going to do my own thing. Like, you know, I think it's an unintended situation that people, they assume the right thing. They assume we've all agreed. Okay. We're all nodding. They're all nodding. That's, an acceptance.

[00:24:55] But until we get to that point of saying, okay, this is what we're talking about. This is what we've agreed on, and that's, I know, Adam Lawrence and Marcus Hormes, who I've worked with for years, that whole prototyping thing of getting something in the hands that we've created, co created together and saying, again, this is what we're talking about is very, 

[00:25:16] Munib Karavdic: powerful.

[00:25:17] Yeah. And there is another trick that I use. you know, sometimes you have a tough people and they would say leaders and they would say, well, we, I know what the problem or I have a solution. I don't, I'm not focused on problem. And then what I usually do in this situation, I would say, okay, fine.

[00:25:34] So we can see that we can't go, we can't move on some other stuff. So how about I kind of put my visual design. And then the visual designer will actually visually present what you say that solution is. And if visual designer can actually draw the picture of, your solution, means that we can take this and then we can go and put it some sort of very kind of low fidelity prototype and then go and test it.

[00:26:02] Yeah. And then it was good hook and they say, okay, I got it. And I liked the idea. And then when they start actually interpreting what the solution is and design was saying, where would I go with this one? And I, said, I'm not sure. And then what would I figure out? 

[00:26:16] Gerry Scullion: You're the designer. 

[00:26:18] Munib Karavdic: Yeah. And then, and then people would say, Oh, I got it.

[00:26:22] Now let's go back to drawing books. And then let's actually go to the problem framing. So sometimes, you know, there is a lot of. you know, putting this way, I, when I was actually, put embedding these design innovation function in corporate Australia, I spent a lot of time in the U S learning from people who already done it.

[00:26:41] And I, one of, one of people that they've done it really well, was Procter and Gamble. And I, had a lot of discussions and the time with Claudia Kochka. and that she was, appointed by A. G. Lafley, who was CEO of Procter Gamble at the time, probably 2001, 2002. And her message was, so your role as design lead, leader is actually to make sure that you clear the way.

[00:27:12] And the people understand in the organization, they understand the value of design and then you put designers in and you try to protect them from, because there are a lot of kind of unknown things for designers and for people who are dealing with them. And there's not a kind of intentional tension.

[00:27:28] Yeah, it is tension because like, you know, misunderstanding and that was my, and I actually put myself into, and I was really, kind of, thankful for this guidance she gave me. So these things like, you know, and I, just, my kind of mission was strategically to think, how can I onboard the organization with it?

[00:27:47] And then. Create a channel for designers to walk in. It's not as, it's not like, Oh, that's actually a step. I got a money. I will establish design team and that's it. We're done now. So there's massive work in actually kind of going through the broad organization. And very often you, what I found when I go into companies now, I found that actually that a lot of design teams are just doing design for themselves.

[00:28:14] And then when I ask questions, so how much you have been engaging with the business? They said, but they don't want to talk to us. And it's kind of, it's not the way you want actually first designers that don't like that environment, but the companies are thinking. Well, design is not giving me any benefits, but it is not actually a kind of holistic view how you position design in the organization.

[00:28:37] Gerry Scullion: One of the pieces that I really liked there was the framing piece from leadership. When they get to that point of saying, okay, we're going to establish the function of design. That typically means on a big broad brush here of generalization happening that they're going to install a team of designers into the organization.

[00:28:58] So that's option one. The other one that we're kind of talking about on this podcast and also with what you're doing as well, wave design is kind of developing the culture of entrepreneurship within organizations, which kind of means we don't want to be creating another silo within an organization of more designers and within that, you've got UXers and researchers and service designers. And you get all, all into these kind of compartments and within organization. How do you, explain to executives and leaders that it's option two, that we need to be fostering and not option one of just building a team and having the head of design and making the two pretty pictures, because that kind of reinforces that stereotype of design is here to make things pretty.

[00:29:43] Munib Karavdic: Yeah, it's very good question actually. And 

[00:29:46] Gerry Scullion: very much. Thank you. 

[00:29:48] Munib Karavdic: But this is kind of a vital question. So very soon. Yeah. Yeah. So one of the things, because I've been in, in kind of corporate world for many years, and then I was navigating this kind of function. And then I was sitting in the steering, sorry, in the investment committees, approving business cases.

[00:30:07] And I was actually chairing the investment committee for one of the retail banks, uh, because I was head of strategy and growth strategy and things like that. So what I found actually when we call this, when we actually have a business case. And this is how I explain to leaders. When we have a business case, we approve that.

[00:30:25] And interestingly enough, you will not get in business case in front of investment committee without a certain number that are hitting numbers like no return on investment, 15 percent break, even after one or two years. then you have, all of these kinds of ingredients. It's a tick market share growing in this and all that.

[00:30:44] But what happened actually, we have a lot of unvalidated assumptions and we actually put a lot of faith. Into, these assumptions, believing that we will, they will deliver outcomes. And we actually take leap of faith that people will deliver these outcomes. And we know that things are not working in that way.

[00:31:05] So as soon as you start hitting this kind of implementation, you start actually think, Oh my goodness, we don't know this. We haven't done this and things like that. And then it was, I was, there was a kind of. Nice quote from people are using this quote from Guy Kawasaki and saying, ideas are easy. The implementation is hard.

[00:31:23] And then my view is implementation is hard because we treat ideas easy. We need to spend much more time and energy actually fleshing out these ideas. And this is coming to the concept what we call that leaps of logic. And this is where design comes in place. Leaps of logic means we are creating small leaps, and when we get a kind of, we validate assumptions, we go next leap, we validate assumptions, next leap.

[00:31:47] And we, as we progressing that, we validate the many assumptions to the point where we, after several, prototype testing. Minimum viable product. You get a very high level of confidence that what these assumptions are proven and you walk in very strong and saying, now I can tell you, we know that there is a desirability here.

[00:32:08] There is absolutely by a feasibility and this how much would cost and viability is there as well. So, and this is, yeah. And I love when, I talk about this, I love kind of talking to chief risk officers because chief risk officers are very important kind of aspect in decision making process, because if they, if there is something unknown, people will immediately interpret it always too risky.

[00:32:33] And then as soon as they interpret is too risky, then better kind of kind of push back and then don't do that. So with this one, what we are saying, we are with every day human centered design, we are de risking. Because we, had a much higher confidence what we are going to build. We had a one client, which was, global pharma company, and we helped them to actually create new, events management system.

[00:33:05] We did have a lot of interaction with medical practitioners here in Australia. And then we went through these leaps of logic and then we end up kind of everything there. And then he called me after the investment committee meeting and he said, I never experienced in my career that we approved investment, a business case in 15 minutes because it was so clear.

[00:33:26] Then we had a clear assumptions. All assumptions were tested. We have, a very clear requirements defined based on these tested assumptions, we are going into production. And so, and that's kind of the value of human centered design. When you're unpacking that to the level that, for example, you started problem framing, this is one leap.

[00:33:46] And then you, probably don't agree with this, but then you go in next leap, which is actually going to talk to people who are experiencing that problem. And you go next leap, like, you know, you're creating insights in next leap, you go to talk to ideation. And then. Frame the ideas you go next one test this idea and many, things that you get, much more confident.

[00:34:06] And then usually I've got a question and say, well, it sounds like a long process and it is at the beginning, like, you know, it's not long, but it can be, it can go fast if we have a support from the organization, but every time. You go this, you're actually going shorter and shorter. And for example, one of my KPIs when I was in corporate world was how, what's the timeframe that we come with the prototype and minimum viable product.

[00:34:34] And then we, you see here, for example. When we started, we took us six months to get a minimum viable product. And as we, practice this more, we ended up like having three or four months. And then people have a prototype, like prototypes for everybody. How many prototypes you have? It's not question how many ideas you have.

[00:34:50] The question was how many prototypes you have, how many of them you tested. And you walk in investment committee with the prototype in your hand, even if it's kind of a paper prototype, but people can understand what is that and what you tested and what are the assumptions that you tested. 

[00:35:05] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, it's, the, bit that kind of I'm hanging on a little bit more is this idea, factory piece that organizations tend to gravitate towards.

[00:35:19] When you're speaking, I, get it. I'm totally, I'm on the same page. But when organizations tend to adopt this, they kind of think of it as like, okay, we're going to, the winning idea is going to come out of this. And I'm of the mindset that ideas can slow things down, fix things. Yeah. the service first.

[00:35:38] Fix things, make it functional, make it actual, meet the needs, because if you don't do that, you're adding ideas to the processes. It takes them away, detracts from the actual functionality of the core service. What are your thoughts on this and Is that something that you can actually speak more about?

[00:36:01] Because I know ideas are great, validating them, de risking them, getting them, you know, kind of funded, getting another business model for them to be iterated on and so forth. But what does it look like in terms of making that the core service is functional first? 

[00:36:19] Munib Karavdic: Well, putting it this way, we're jumping too quickly into ideas.

[00:36:24] Okay. So, companies are like, you know, Well, put it this way. So I just continue with the story about investment and leap of faith. So we, and then we head up, we hit the wall. We can't do this stuff. Or even if we do this, it's not working. And we delivered it on time and budget. But we didn't actually move the dial and then what, this is what I call this a nice landing, wrong airport.

[00:36:50] So we, really deliver that. 

[00:36:55] Gerry Scullion: I'm going to Nick that one that's going straight into a deck. 

[00:37:00] Munib Karavdic: So, yeah, well, we are proud of what we delivered, but we actually not moving that. And then what do we do in that situation? We said, Oh, let's actually brainstorm to see how we can resolve that situation. And then we actually brainstorm and potentially be exaggerated problem because we actually, most likely we were focusing on wrong problem.

[00:37:20] And then what, is actually important? To start with, is actually from the problem. It's not a service. Service could be a problem. Product could be a problem. Experience could be a problem. Whatever problem you have, and you feel that is the problem, this is where you start. And then if you want to go in ideation, you need to be very, informed.

[00:37:41] And because, and then people need to be, they need, people need to get a learning from that particular problem. And they need to be inspired. You know, this is kind of, Massive exercise to, if you want to detach people from their current situation and gather ideas. So if you're thinking like, you know, okay, let's have a two hours workshop and hey guys, come here, let's do ideation.

[00:38:04] Do you think that people will be able to actually detach themselves from their current situation? There is no way. What we need to do, and we spend a lot of time warming up people, and you spend a lot of time stimulating, giving examples, and there is a This we call this six path analysis, blue ocean model.

[00:38:22] I really love this six part. Like, you know, look at the, kind of from outside your industry, look at this strategic positioning, look at the history and then all of these things you're going there and start actually getting examples and people start immersing themselves and you're suddenly saying, Hey, this is our problem.

[00:38:40] Let's actually talk about it. And then you suddenly started getting a lot of interesting conclusions and inspiring ideas. So, and that's the kind of people don't understand, like, you know, I just, I would just collect the ideas. It doesn't work like that. You know, this is not actually used, it's just not productive 

[00:38:58] Gerry Scullion: at all.

[00:38:59] I think anyone who's listening to the podcast, you know, will be able to say like, it's awesome to hear you speak about this stuff and the confidence that you have. Around the delivery and the understanding, and I was scrolling through there. I was trying to say, okay, well, how would you describe yourself?

[00:39:21] in the current world and where maybe go back a little bit further? Like, well, what did you study and stuff? Because It's this piece that, a lot of change makers seem to struggle with is the, confidence piece to speak up, to champion the, belief system and the frameworks to help move the dial.

[00:39:42] But when you're speaking, it's with, you know, vigor and it's with confidence and I love it. How did you foster that? I'd have you naturally being a great orator. 

[00:39:54] Munib Karavdic: So look, I think, I was very, I'm a very curious person and I was really, I have, I'm open minded and I have a growth mindset and, constantly thinking about new challenges, and then something new.

[00:40:10] So, and sometimes I'm ahead of my time and sometimes I kind of, kind of, sometimes people look at you and saying, what is guy, this guy is dreaming. I'll give you an anecdote, like, you know, really short one. When I was doing my PhD, I was doing the comments. You and I discussed it earlier. Yeah. And back in 97, we, had a, we have two daughters and at that time they were.

[00:40:35] 10 and eight or something like that. And, even younger. And then I remember my wife got in, in, in, a mailbox saying like, you know, great offer for, Encyclopedia Britannica and you buy these, you know, big books and things like that. And she was coming to me and she said, well, this is in a lifetime, kind of, opportunity to buy these, Encyclopedia Britannica for our, I said, why do you need it?

[00:41:01] But for our kids that they can start actually growing up with this kind of incompleteness, and I was telling her because I was doing e comments and in 97, I was telling her. Our kids will not actually read, anything from Britannica and Scoop It Up Britannica. And she was angry at me. She was like saying, you know, how can you do that?

[00:41:18] We need to have that. And I said, they will never do it because they will go through online environment, they will learn from that. And this is what happened. And then five or six years later, when they actually going through that and they went through the process, she was, she admitted, and she said, really, I really, admit.

[00:41:34] That you were right, but it was five or six years ago. And at that time she didn't understand the positioning that I was trying to say. But the point I want to make is that I've been always in this kind of innovation world and in thinking, how can we. I kind of make things stronger, but one, one thing I usually, when I designed this intrapreneurship course, and then obviously people are kind of contributing the theory of intrapreneurship and one of the principles that people introduce is you need to be ready.

[00:43:38] that all comes across when you're, speaking, but what advice do you have to people who maybe don't feel that way and want to, increase their chances of success? 

[00:43:48] Munib Karavdic: Yeah. So like, I think. And what this is what we practice with our designers. So, well, designers are great creative people, but sometimes they had a hard time navigating through the organization.

[00:44:02] So, and in my, what we actually practice this, we, work with leadership, framing the problem and very next stage. Is actually go through a stakeholder prioritization and a stakeholder engagement plan. And we spend a lot of time building that kind of tool. and when we walk, we spend some time with leaders in the organization, and then we do some prioritization and we have some certain methods and tools, how we do that.

[00:44:30] But the most important is that how you build an engagement plan. And then when, designers work and they are great in doing that. They have a fantastic, and then you have a, when they have that tool, when they have that kind of guidance, what to do, they are excellent. And if you tell them you need to do this and this, you need to engage this, kind of group of stakeholders, because they need to understand this, they will do it.

[00:44:56] Yeah, and this is when this is very often we jump on kind of over that and then we jump into immediately. Let's do the research. Let's do the insights and things like, but it's extremely important to have that's not to forget that step. And the second thing, I also want to say, and this is again, what we practice.

[00:45:16] It is important that designers provide the context, whatever they do, not assume that people are familiar with it. So even if you say, let's do an ideation, it needs, it requires why we're doing, uh, what's the purpose of that. So, and what we want to achieve with this, how, we actually detach people from the current environment, how we stimulate you.

[00:45:41] And then all of these things they need to say, because if you just go and say, let's do brainstorming. And I will tell you, put in the five groups and we start actually think about your Elon Musk. And then it's that people. No, it doesn't look and this is kind of that what we need to make sure that we provide and then people will start to appreciate it and I can see that firsthand with our designers.

[00:46:03] When they provide the context and explain to people how it works, people are very keen to cooperate. 

[00:46:11] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, Munib, we're coming towards the end of the episode. I just want to ask one last question. What's your hope for the next 15 20 years? For wave and for yourself, okay, like in terms of human centered design, we're about to, I think we're at the start of the crest of a wave that's going to probably envelop the industry in the next 6 to 12 months with AI and a lot more challenges.

[00:46:39] What's your hope and what's your, one wish that we can get better at as a practice. 

[00:46:46] Munib Karavdic: So look, you see, I, our vision is to wave design to be continued to be boutique design, innovation, company, which actually will work very closely in collaboration with the organizations. And we really believe in this kind of notion that we need to help organizations to build internal capabilities while we are delivering outcomes.

[00:47:15] It's kind of very important while we're delivering outcomes, we build the capabilities by involving a lot of people working with us and things like that. That's number one. Number two, I want actually to have a, we, we, do have that in our kind of strategy and vision. We want to have a very capable designers who are really people who will be recognized in kind of in industries, across industries in Australia, we don't have any kind of ambition to go broader than Australia and that we will be very happy to be here and deliver the great outcomes for Australian companies. So, and, the, I want to actually design this and you probably, I'm not sure if you follow up, you can see more and more designers from a design.

[00:48:01] Posting some, stories on LinkedIn and we, I encourage our designers to write case studies. We actually spend a lot of, put a lot of attention in writing case studies. It's not like it's not a commercial material or a marketing material, which is like we want actually to present. What we really feel about it.

[00:48:22] Gerry Scullion: It's a great skill to have to be able to surmise your perspective on the effort to create something and putting it in our 

[00:48:30] Munib Karavdic: portfolio, driven by outcomes and then an impact that we create. And I want actually to see us also more involved in them kind of. Non for profits and helping especially people in disabled communities.

[00:48:43] And we already working with people in health care, community health care and things like that. There are a lot of interesting things with core design and things like that. So, and we don't want to be a massive company. We just want to be company with nice harmony internally with the highly kind of skilled and knowledgeable people working together and having fun and delivering great outcomes and impact for our clients.

[00:49:12] Gerry Scullion: Listen, look, I wrap every episode up with thanking the guests for allowing me to put them on the spot and ask questions and go left and go right and go backwards and go forward. So I appreciate you giving me your time. I know it's dinner time. Your household, you're probably hungry, but thanks for giving me your time and your vulnerability.

[00:49:29] I really, appreciate it. If people want to reach out to you, I'll put a link to your LinkedIn in the show notes. Is there and maybe the website as well for wave? and anything else you want to include in there? Just let me know. We'll throw a link into it. 

[00:49:41] Munib Karavdic: It's all good, and they will, if they're interested, they can find easily.

[00:49:45] So in today's world, it's very easy to find people. Yeah, absolutely. But I also want to say, Gerry, that the way how you approach this is excellent. And I think what, I was talking earlier, it's how you actually, kind of, kind of building awareness about design is exactly what you're doing. And we probably entire design community in Australia and globally should encourage actually people to listen.

[00:50:11] Your program, because what I, what you are doing now, I had to go to US or Europe and actually listen to these stories from people that they would tell me. And I learned from them when I was building things in, in, in my organization. And it's now much better that we have people from all around the world giving different stories and well done for that.

[00:50:31] I really appreciate it. 

[00:50:33] Gerry Scullion: I appreciate that. Stay in touch. 

[00:50:35] Munib Karavdic: No worries. All the best and good luck.

John Carter
Tech Vlogger & YouTuber

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