February 23, 2021

Making Things Work: Catching Up With Christel Wolthoorn

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We had a chance to catch up with Christel Wolthoorn who is Managing Director at LovedBy Design. How do you bring about great product design within the core of the business rather than as a parallel team? This blog explains how to collaborate within organisations on product design by bringing to the surface potential through behavioural and cultural change.

Who is LovedBy Design?

LovedBy Design is a design agency that helps teams and businesses transform and grow through a learning and doing process. This process allows LovedBy Design to work directly alongside clients to create products and services, they work with the partner that is right for the opportunity ahead.

“It needs people and teams that understand the importance of working in the open, continuous improvement and ongoing user validation. A team curious to ask “why?” and “what’s next?”.” 

Behavioral and Cultural Change

LovedBy Design works directly with clients, they immerse their team with the organisation’s team that they are working with. Christel explained that in order for a business to have internal changes be successful, people need a model to learn and work from, this where real leaders step in.

To achieve this, a leader needs to step up and be the model which people will follow. Instead of being in the background observing, a leader should take charge and lead the organisation and be that model the people need. That is when change in behaviors happen, fears and doubts are put aside and transformation within the organisation is accepted, smoothly and successfully. 

It is a proven fact that people relate better to “authority” or the higher ups when those people put their where their mouth is. It is about creating and being a part of an experience, whether it be consulting, planning, learning, it is all an experience. This is what Chirstel says LovedBy Design is all about.

LovedBy Design looks to insert themselves within the organisation they are working with. The role and action of finding their fit and place in the existing team allows both teams to work side by side cohesively.  


Data Science and Agile (What works, and what doesn't)

Due to its fluidity, agile delivery processes work best in the beginning stages of a transformation. This when the client and the team are unsure of direction and have yet to adapt to changes that have been made, or the process of change in general. Christel explained that agile allows the need for fluidity and flexibility, but at the same time there needs to be stability and that is where data science comes in.

Data science helps to work out some complexities on the human behavioral front. Christel gave a great example: Affordability, there is a huge difference between people saying -I can afford something and actually being able to afford it- Data science helps people make informed decisions, that information gives us real validation in our decisions.

“Our ways of working are grounded in the belief that every change requires an understanding of how you challenge people to think and behave differently. We identify emotional journeys and the opportunities they bring – turning insight into solutions that are loved by users and driven by design.”

Cross Functionality

Cross functional teams work together successfully when they blend. Teams that are blended with our team collectively got through the process and experience together, this includes mistakes and figuring them out together. Everybody wins this way because you are all blending and working towards the same end goal.

When bringing teams together leaders need to explain what is to be expected, the process and technology needed. Even creating buddy systems that comply of people from both teams, this keep cohesion going because you are creating trust in each other on both sides.

Christel explained that LovedBy Design truly thrives on creating new relationships with people and they strive to make those people feel comfortable enough to reach out if they are not. From the most simple question to the biggest concerns and everything in between, it comes down to understanding what the problems are before they even  start working with an organisation.

At the end of our conversation with Christel she left us off with some words of wisdom:

The notion of designing for people and the notion of understanding people is when you can make profound change. Innovation comes from people and you need to create a condition where people can thrive in an organisation. Christel always says you need to be curious and courageous, this past year we were all courageous with everything that has happened globally in the past 10-12 months, now it is time to get curious and grow.