Guest commentator: Annalicia Geeter, Manager, Navigate @navigatecorp

How have you harnessed the creative process to encourage problem solving in your team?

We see far too often organizations who are “customer focused” continue to equate innovative breakthroughs with technology investments and still fall short of their desired outcome. The echoing of the adage “if you build it they will come” or someone will buy it proves to be a leading indicator that a company is just focusing on the wants of their customers and not their needs.

Design Thinking has proven that changing the perspective of being customer-focused (wants-based) towards customer-centric (needs-based), will go a long way in enhancing outcomes and the customer’s experience. However, putting design theory into practice is no easy task. We have learned the purity of design theory is tarnished by the reality of large organizations due to: culture, budget constraints, leadership imperatives, M&A activity, and even depth of understanding. To put it simply, many things can hinder the progress and stickiness of innovation.

So, the question stands, how do you enable and execute breakthrough ideas, without breaking your organization? Our answer and approach are always to start with the following to unlock change in business:

Change Minds:

We believe the way to your customers first is through your employees. Employees are the ones who interact with customers every single day and are ultimately the ones shaping their experience along their journey. Often before reaching the customer, employees are often tackling disparate systems, inconsistent processes, or antiquated governance models – which impact their ability to deliver a great customer experience. Spend more time in the problem space, with your customers and employees. You will learn through empathy and observation that many of your opportunities for innovation was hidden in plain sight.

Change Behaviors:

We have had success introducing new ways of working within companies through collaborative, repeatable, and results-driven programs. It’s critical to empower and engage your employees to be participants in transformative efforts and not just in attendance. Leveraging methods of co-designing and co-development with your employees throughout this process will spark a repeatable, strategic, and scalable way to put empathy into action.

By implementing these new ways to work and investing in people, you will unlock top & bottom-line growth, create new competitive advantages, and most importantly break your organizations old mindset.

To learn more, connect with Annalicia at to discuss how to create lasting impact through transformative employee and customer experiences.

Annalicia is a graduate of the Arts + Business Council’s CreativeXchange leadership and design-thinking training program. Led by Philadelphia’s top creative minds and art-makers, CreativeXchange takes both individuals and teams through the creative process to maximize problem solving, increase engagement at work, and master the art of innovation.

Applications are now open to participate in the 2019 class of CreativeXchange.