Building a Design Thinking Practice

Enabling customer driven innovation 


Industry: Financial Services 
Customer in focus: All firm associates in service of several lines of business
Change topic: Process evolution / Upskilling
Engagement: 3 month engagement with 2 changeUp|GLOBAL partners, incorporating 6 additional coaches for a 3-day workshop
Location: Dublin - with participants from across Europe


A large financial services firm, after having experienced the very positive outcomes resulting from a Design Thinking pilot, made the decision to institutionalize this practice and integrate it into their ways of working across the firm. The challenge:

  • lack of internal resources to plan and execute a rollout
  • lack of internal expertise in the practice and coaching of Design Thinking
  • the need to not interrupt or adversely impact work in progress
  • a natural and predictable resistance to change from a subset of associates


changeUp|GLOBAL's own Re:Solve™ Framework embraces the Design Thinking method and principles, and our changeUp|GLOBAL partners are all expert practitioners and coaches of the successful Stanford University Design Thinking methodology. Each time a client requests Design Thinking training we tailor the course to suit their needs, and base it on the Stanford d. school Design Thinking Bootcamp format. 

In the case of this client, after assessing their needs and current situation, changeUp|GLOBAL:

  • Worked with organizational leaders to identify internal change agents - individuals from various parts of the company representing a cross-section of skills and roles, all of whom with the position and disposition to embrace new ways of working and willing to drive change within their teams and as needed by the firm.
  • Brought together these change agents for an immersive 3-day "Applying Design Thinking" course - a dynamic mix of short instructional lectures and guided, hands-on teamwork where participants 'learn by doing' through working on a real customer problem.
  • Provided individual coaching following the course to bridge the training experience back to day-to-day operations.
  • Defined a roadmap guiding the firm on next steps to institutionalize Design Thinking by engaging these change agents as evangelists and coaches, and crafting a rollout strategy across the company.


  • Design, facilitation and coaching of a 3-day Design Thinking training program
    Preparation of all supporting materials and event logistics - location, facilities, catering, guest speakers, music ... and entertainment (yes these are fun)
    Design Thinking practice materials and guides - tools to support the ongoing rollout
  • Post event coaching and mentoring - providing support and guidance to the new DT evangelists
  • A trained and empowered team of change agents to lead the way
  • A roadmap guiding rollout across the firm

"Loved collaborating with new people, stepping out of my comfort zone, the pace and energy... I wish I had learned about this sooner."

Workshop participant


Education enabling Process Evolution: A group of 30 associates were trained, eager to be catalysts for innovation, ready to advocate for the value of Design Thinking, and prepared with first-hand stories of their own experiences:

  • how they used simple tools and methods to understand true customer needs and behaviors
  • how the customer perspective drove solution design
  • how experimentation served to mitigate risks and control costs
  • how a bias toward action enabled them to deliver meaningful solutions in record time

Organizational Transformation:  A Design Thinking center of excellence was formed and became the centralized service supporting a rollout across the firm.

Culture Shift:  This team of enthusiastic, trained associates acting as evangelists and seeding the Design Thinking practice across the company, enabled a broad cross-section of the firm to experience the benefits and quickly rally to evolve company culture and embrace change.

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