During the week of November 11th, the d.school hosted an executive education program in conjunction with the Graduate School of Business. The participants of “Customer Focused Innovation” spent the mornings in lectures at the b-school, and the afternoons immersed in design thinking at the d.school.
Nearly forty executives from a diverse group of companies spread across four continents took on the timely challenge of redesigning the gas pump experience for ARCO brand service stations. After a teambuilding warmup competition changing the tires on a NASCAR racer, participants went deep into interviews and observations on site at gas stations—some gaining access to interviewees by washing their windshields as they pumped! For the next two days the executives synthesized all of their notes and observations into a working point of view, brainstormed, prototyped, and showed their ideas to real users in order to iterate their designs. Finally they got to show off their teamwork to high-level representatives from BP, who evaluated the refined prototypes declaring, “It’s really humbling that in four days you can describe what our customers think. We have been working there for 20 years.”
For bigger, better information on the whole shebang, check the stories in it at out Bob Sutton’s Work Matters blog.