“Design thinkers may be in short supply, but they exist inside every organisation. The trick is spotting them, nurturing them, and freeing them to do what they do best”. This quote is from Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organisations and Inspires Innovation, by Tim Brown. For this issue of the Echos newsletter, I had the pleasure of interviewing our Design Thinking Experience student and Senior Consultant at Coras Solutions, Neill Morgan.
RG – Hey Neill, thanks for taking the time to speak to Echos. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
NM – Originally born and raised in South Africa, I am a happy new father of a nine-month-old son named Jack. I live eight minutes’ walk to the beach on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. I am an animal lover and have a dog and a cat. I love reading (Graphic Novels, Philosophy, Politics, Neuroscience, Science, Science Fiction etc.). Basically, I am a massive nerd. I like watching movies at the cinema but don’t go once a week like I used to now that I am a dad. After 10 years, I am still madly in love with my wife. Manners, decency and critical thinking are important to me and not your address, job, politics, bank account or school you attended. I love craft beer, fine wines and delicious food. I have also been practising Krav Maga (Israeli Self Defence System) for many years and am currently training to be an instructor.
RG – What is your work like?
NM – I am a management consultant (but I do have a heart), specialising in strategic sourcing, contract and category management and change implementation. I see my job as helping my clients get the best out of their suppliers either when they buy a product, or have it maintained (or both).
RG – In your opinion, why is innovation important in your field of work?
NM – My clients come to me for solutions that they couldn’t have thought of themselves. If I can’t innovate, I can’t do my job.
RG – When was the first time you heard about Design Thinking?
NM – Three years ago I was introduced to the concept by some other consultants (competitors) who felt that traditional management consulting methods were delivering identical results (i.e. limited value) and believed that design thinking offered a better return on investment.
RG – You have attended the Design Thinking Experience course. How do you think the knowledge you brought back to your company can positively impact your industry?
NM – I now completely agree with the consultants who have embraced design-thinking as a mindset that can offer a deeper return on investment in delivering innovative solutions for our clients. The challenge is to get the clients to see its value; considering it takes longer than the established methodologies. Instead of providing ‘cookie-cutter’ solutions, we can now provide them with solutions that actually meet the client’s underlying needs.
RG – What were your biggest learnings during Echos’ Design Thinking Experience course?
NM – Innovation is perceived value and not technology. Unless a need is being met, it’s not innovation (no matter how creative your idea is).
RG – Did you learn anything new about yourself whilst attending the course?
NM – Yes, I now know it is possible for me not to jump to solutions when trying to solve a complex problem.
RG – Are there any projects that you have already applied either Design Thinking or Service Design methodologies to?
NM – Not yet. Give me time, it’s only been a week.
RG – What pearls of wisdom would you share with someone who is starting their innovation journey through Design Thinking?
NM – Make your mind like a parachute when you are on the journey through design thinking – it will stop you from falling down; but only if it is open.
RG – That’s an amazing analogy! Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience?
NM – Three days of the Design Thinking experience has already changed the way I look at the world. For example, when I see small transgressions (like jay-walking), I now see that as a design problem that can be solved by identifying the needs and creating an innovative solution (and I don’t judge people nearly as much!).
RG – That’s great! To finalise, could you share a quote that inspires you?
NM – “The harder you work, the luckier you get”, Gary Player (South African Golfer).
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