With the rapid acceleration for technology, continuous transformation in the workplace is the new norm. To meet this new world of work and prepare for the future of work, HR teams are shifting focus from resource management to talent management, from recruitment to engagement, from internally focussed to user focussed, from hierarchical structures to empowering individuals.  

Our work is changing … and [HR] can lead the transformation
— Cisco’s senior vice president and chief people officer, Francine Katsoudas.

Cisco are just one organisation realising the power of HR professionals to transform work practices, and they’re using Design Thinking to do it.

With it’s human-centred focus, Design Thinking presents the ideal framework to transform every aspect of human resources.

Here are three examples:

Design Thinking and Change Management

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Today’s workplace is experiencing unprecedented disruption - Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning continue to change job roles while globalisation and changing labour markets alter the marketplace.

Traditionally, when people hear talk of change in their workplace, they become uneasy, often hearing (and fearing) ‘downsize’ or ‘redundancy’.

G2 recently worked with a large manufacturing organisation who faced a bleak future as major disruption rocked the industry they supplied to. In a climate where some of Australia’s large manufacturers were dropping like flies, managers and employees were understandably nervous about their future.

Not only did a Design Thinking transformation program help the organisation identify new revenue streams, create a collaborative (rather than siloed) culture and streamline development cycles. The emphasis on empathy and motivation, means that employees were no longer scared of change but ready and empowered to embrace it.

Addressing change from a human-centred approach equips HR teams to better address employee concerns, reduce uncertainty and increase productivity during transition.

Design Thinking Employee Experiences

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The employee of today is looking for more than compensation. To attract and retain talent, today’s employer needs to create meaningful employee experiences.

With a human-centred approach, HR processes such as recruitment, onboarding, performance evaluation and promotion, can be transformed into empowering experiences that engage employees and meet their genuine needs.   

For example, earlier this year G2 Innovation worked with a large metropolitan council applying Design Thinking across their people strategy, performance appraisals, succession planning, PDR systems, leadership and talent management to identify problems and uncover breakthrough opportunities. We spent a lot time in the discovery and empathy stage, using a mixture of surveys, interviews and observation to genuinely discover pain points and then we used these insights to co-design with the employees their future ways of working.

The result is an invigorated approach to HR focussed on creating value, rather than efficiencies and structures. This has empowered and prepared employees for the future world of work. 

Design Thinking Organisational Culture and Development

Culture can be one of the main barriers to innovation. Discovering cultural inhibitors is vital to creating positive change.

During a large-scale cultural overhaul, with G2 Innovation, a large health organisation uncovered a problem with older staff withholding information, unwilling to teach new staff or adapt to new processes. Using empathy tools, the reasons behind the behaviours of older staff members were identified as fear of being replaced and a desire to be valued. This reframed the focus of the challenge from ‘on attack’ to one of empathy and a desire to create a culture of support.

By identifying the real problem to be solved, the team completely flipped their approach and designed a mentoring project for older employees to share their vast knowledge.   


Design Thinking empowers HR teams to observe behaviour, interact with colleagues and draw conclusions about what people want and need.

As our wants and needs continue to rapidly evolve, these enquiring skills are more and more in demand.

Contact G2 Innovation to learn more (03) 9020 7341.

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