Points of View

A Picture of Strategy: Mini But Mighty Design Team “Visualizes” Strategy with DXC Clients

Dec 15, 2017 Barbra McGann

“A picture is worth a thousand words” comes to life with ENVISION at DXC. Within DXC is a small team of less than 20 who operate as ENVISION — a design thinking capability to work with clients to visually shape and address shared questions and pathways to answers. HfS recently met with members of the team to understand how it operates and helps DXC clients and client teams. We found that this team dates back to the days of EDS and was originally created to help internal teams “get on the same page” by working with them to visualize and facilitate a solution. The key word is “visualize.” In our research (link) about the use of design thinking techniques and methods by business and IT services firms, this is the first time we've come across drawing as a key component of the way a service provider facilitates sessions and becomes the unifier for an action plan.


Drawing the question, the solution, and the journey — in real time


Many of us have been in meetings and workshops during which an illustrator captures the key phrases and messages in a stunning visual on a white board. Yet many times these visuals get erased and never referenced again. ENVISION uses the illustration as a way to facilitate design sessions — and it’s a key part of how the participants interact, discuss, and take away a story and a plan that they can use to drive actions going forward. This last point is a key one too, as we often hear that one of the challenges of workshops is that only the people involved really understand and are committed to whatever vision and action is created during that time. In this case, the visual becomes the tool that the participants can use going forward — using their own words, but a shared graphic. 


The visual becomes a prompt for on-going discussions and actions


Sessions take place in a room with floor to ceiling whiteboards. Some of the space already has visuals that help start the conversation around a “focus question” — the key issue of the day — and are based on preparation by the ENVISION team. Issues that have been tackled include challenges around data and analytics at a life sciences company, the future of customer service at an airline, and more effective partnering between DXC and clients. They work in teams of three — a facilitator, an analyst who provides market and industry perspective and research, and an illustrator. As Ed Mattingly, Managing Partner and often strategic facilitator, described it, “we walk the wall many times during the day(s) — it’s the visual story around the problem to solve, the opportunity to go after and how to drive and deliver value we agreed on versus where we are today.” The objective? He says, “the whole idea is to form their story with them and tease out what they have a hard time with or didn’t get to before. The best case scenario is that the client can embrace it and walk the wall at the end of the day so that everyone can tell the story — what it is, what they need to do, what they need from someone not in the room, and the critical success factors, for example.” They go through the key talking points and how to equip themselves “for Monday morning back at the ranch.” 


Bottom line: A picture can be the tool that brings people together to share and execute a strategy


The story of question, issue, or opportunity, proposed solution, and plan are all captured in a visual by the ENVISION team. The visual acts as a prompt so everyone can use their own words to tell the story, but share the core and common thread.

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