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In The Spotlight - Sustainable Design Thinkers

At Manchester Digital we like to interview our members to find out a bit more about what they do and their work in the Greater Manchester digital and technology sphere. This week we're speaking with Andy Whitty, founder of Sustainable Design Thinkers.

What does your organisation do?

We are the UK based innovation studio that support and facilitate teams in companies and leadership in companies with sustainable real innovation processes for their new or existing products, services and strategies in addition to supporting creative cultures and creative competitiveness through creative design systems, for real growth and innovation, using design thinking and a user-centred approach for substantial business impact. 

Our remote and in-person digital innovation sprints facilitate teams in a one-day problem prioritisation & problem framing sprint and a five-day design sprint providing a structured and clear process for teams to innovate and grow their new or existing products and services in a sustainable way which can be scaled across platforms and teams for long term growth with a user-centred approach. 

We also run remote and in-person a one-day innovation strategy sprint for Creative Cultures and Design Systems, a one-day innovation strategy sprint for Sustainability and the Circular Economy and a one-day innovation strategy sprint for Service Design Blueprinting. 

What do you think is currently the biggest issue facing the digital and tech industry?

Change is all around us and there is high demand from all industry sectors for more digital platforms and technology to deliver products, services and new technology.  

In the drive to adapt or create new products and services, the digital and tech sector must identify the right problem (not what you assume is the problem) in their new or existing service or product to create the right solution in their product or service, approach their development and launch of their products and services with their users at the centre of the design process from day one. 

The main reason many products and services fail after launch when companies have invested a lot of time and money and resources, especially in the last 12 months, is due to not having a clear process for user-centred product and service development and innovation.

Through problem framing sprints to identify the right problem, not the problem you think you have and through design sprints to de-risk your ideas and solutions (and perhaps fail early- it happens and its allowed) to learn and make changes to your new or existing product or service solutions, through iteration cycles and user testing, to learn in your design process before launch to users.   

What is your organisation’s biggest achievement?

Launching in January 2021 at the start of lockdown 3, combining our skills and experience from different industry sectors as a team to support and facilitate teams and support real innovation in companies which is needed now more than ever. 

What would you consider to be your organisation’s biggest challenge? 

Showcasing to companies how remote sprints are just as powerful and have the same impact as in-person sprints in addition to demonstrating the true business value to companies of becoming a design mature company resulting in your company being more creatively competitive in the marketplace. 

What do you think the future looks like for Manchester’s digital and tech sector?

Whilst the current economic landscape may look challenging and with good reason, the demand for new technology, products and services will only increase in this new digital age, and the way we consume and access these new products and services means that despite the challenges ahead, Manchester and the wider regions digital and tech sector can continue to not only grow, but help lead and shape the economic recovery in Manchester, the North West and Nationally over the coming months and years ahead.  

To help support and ensure these opportunities and growth are sustainable, we must continue to build upon the success of Manchester and the wider regions Digital and Technology Sector in developing and unlocking the talent of people (especially our young people who need opportunities and support more than ever before) living in the region to help innovate, shape and lead the recovery, in addition to attracting talent and developing talent from further afield. 

Tell us something we might not know about your company?

The digital platforms and tool kits we use to deliver and facilitate our remote digital innovation sprints with teams and companies capture and foster creativity in the same positive and powerful way as our in-person innovation sprints.

Oh, and our office Beagle, Bill, causes for more industry disruption than we do (mainly in the office trying to steal socks and food!). 

Thank you Andy!

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