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With deep experience in global software engineering, we’ve identified a set of practices shared by successful innovators. The common thread is that, unlike most others in their space, top-performing companies aren’t design- or engineering-first when it comes to solutioning. They’re both, equally.

Successful innovators approach new opportunities by bringing technologists to the table alongside design leadership. We call this approach ”outcome engineering”. It’s a creative process for software engineering problem-solving that marries technological perspective and design thinking methodologies, orienting product development to ensure desired business outcomes.

Here, we present five guidelines to help introduce outcome engineering into communications, media and tech organizations (CMT):

  1. Reframe the entry point of designers and engineers. It’s time to shift away from the mindset that designers and engineers are brought in “when the time is right.” Designers and engineers must work together – from the very first ideation meeting helping to conceive the product, discuss the users and their needs, and explore options. It’s collaborative and led by neither.
  2. Make innovation practical through empathy. User empathy is a deep understanding of users’ motivations, processes and frustrations at every step of their journey. It starts by listening. Many companies report that the top source of successful innovations is customer input, far ahead of competitive intelligence, analyst reports and other sources.
  3. Iterate regularly, with a big impact, through small improvements. Your team needs a clearly defined process to identify new opportunities based on shifting customer demands or new technology availability, prototype and validate ideas quickly, partner with technology partners to speed delivery across projects, and roadmap future innovation opportunities that set your company’s growth foundation.
  4. Set target outcome to validate with prototyping. A prototyping design sprint is a phased framework – empathy, idea, prototype, user testing and learning. The goal is to rapidly test concepts, bypassing internal roadblocks to identify innovations that customers want. Design sprints in outcome engineering ignite a culture of innovation, even in traditionally slow-to-change organizations.
  5. Combine the outcome with rewards through gamification. By gamifying our approach, outcome engineering teams, including trusted partners, have access to incentives to make an impact along the way. Tying in rewards – whether that be external recognition, financial compensation or a forward trajectory on a career path – allows the team to truly understand that every change, big or small, is recognized and made visible.

Tangible business outcomes, regardless of form, are the goal of all product engineering initiatives. It’s time to shift to an evolved, technology-empowered design mindset to make it happen faster and better. To learn more, visit our CMT section of the web.

Mikael Wadlund

Head of Communications, Media & Technology, Cognizant Sweden

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