Advancing design thinking at an established organization

Taking design at Dow Chemical to the next level

CX expert David Whited leading an exercise with the Dow team.

The Challenge

The Dow Chemical Company is a 121 year old organization on a mission to combine chemistry, biology and physics to help people thrive.

Dow recently invested building out Marketplace Centers, a series of design thinking hubs around the world that help frame up problems and design solutions for individual business units. At Marketplace Centers, designers work in cross functional teams to solve business problems.

Dow asked Highland to help take the design thinking skills of their Saudi Arabia Marketplace Center team to a new level. We decided to take this challenge one step further and use the training as an opportunity to examine Dow's own customer journey in the Saudi context.

Our instructors were very friendly and genuine throughout the training. We felt that they cared. They really wanted to convey design thinking knowledge and make sure we got something valuable to take back to the team.
Abdulilah Alqahtani
The Dow Chemical Company

The Process

We decided to use a shortened design sprint to help the Saudi Arabia Marketplace Center team understand their ideal customer journey. This process also gave us the opportunity to identify places where they could innovate, while helping the team sharpen their design thinking skills along the way.

Sketches done by Dow in an exercise lead by Highland.

Google Design Sprint

Over the course of this two-day project, we led the Dow team through the beginning stages of a Google Design Sprint, including:

  • Identifying How Might We's
  • Interviewing subject matter experts
  • Participating in lightning demos
  • Sketching a prototype

This fast-paced process provided a structure for the team to rapidly propose new ideas and evaluate which ones were worth testing.

The Dow team during

Intercultural Competency

Intercultural competency on this project was critical. Members of Dow's Saudi and North American Marketplace Center teams were able to contribute a wide variety of cultural experiences to the experience. Because Google Design Sprints draw upon the expertise of everyone in the room, we were able to raise a wide spectrum of insights, questions, and concerns, helping the team unlock new insights about Dow's customers.

Early prototyping done with the Dow team.

Making It Real

The experience gave the Dow team space to explore together and develop ideas that they could take back to the Marketplace Center in Saudi Arabia.

After just 48 hours together, the Dow team left Chicago with three powerful ideas to test that had the potential to make a major impact on their regional business, along with a strategy for prototyping those ideas.

One of the beauties of design thinking is that it forces you to develop clarity around the problem we’re trying to solve and the goal. Once you have those two things clear, the methodology helps you innovate without a lot of advanced work. New teams can engage in this work without a lot of prep.
David Whited
Director, Customer Experience Practice

Partner with us

Highland Solutions is a customer experience firm focused on CX strategy, custom software development, and CRM implementation. We help innovative leaders thrive in the experience economy by helping them understand their customers and take smart risks.

Suzanne Fichter

Director of New Business Development