Elements of an Internet of Things Strategy

Elements of an Internet of Things Strategy – Part 3 – Think Outside the Box with Design Thinking

While the first and second parts of this blog series discussed the current status of Internet of Things strategies in the markets and different approaches to transforming business models, I have chosen “Design Thinking” for this post. This method makes you look outside the box to find innovative solutions for your customers. The Internet of Things involves people in many disciplines, and Design Thinking brings them and their expertise together.

Watch the video below to hear the discussion I held with four IoT experts during our IoT Architects Meeting in Heidelberg.

Think Outside of the Box with Design Thinking

Design Thinking – A Brief Overview

Design Thinking is an interdisciplinary method that supports collaborative creativity. It focuses on the user, addressing his pain points and challenges. It also considers creative and analytical aspects because it connects engineering with design theory. Its credo is “Problems can be complicated – solutions are not.” Six steps must be completed during an iterative Design Thinking process:

  1. Understand
  2. Observe
  3. Define a point of view
  4. Find ideas and choose solutions
  5. Make a prototype and test it
  6. Implement it

My Experience with Design Thinking

I have applied the Design Thinking method many times with customers. My aim is to make sure that our discussion takes place outside the box and beyond company borders. This is because I have found that most discussions about innovations within companies are restricted by their internal views.  What has succeeded has been visioning and trying to imagine what could happen in the future. Whether we talk about drone deliveries or self-driving cars, it is crucial to motivate everyone to think outside their comfort zone. How could a competitor attack the company’s market share or future growth? I can remember many eye-opening moments.

Take a Look Outside the Box

“What was the greatest wish of kids in the ‘70s? The answering machine. Today, it’s there: We have Google and we have digital assistants like Siri.”

The point of this example is that we already have all the technology. We just have to find ideas on how to leverage it. This is why it is important to think outside the box. Whatever we can imagine can somehow become reality in the future. And Design Thinking is a great tool for finding those ideas.

The final part of the “Elements of an Internet of Things Strategy” will be about people. In the upcoming blog post we will talk about the drivers of the Internet of Things within organizations.


What about your company?

NTT DATA Business Solutions’ IoT experts developed a brief check of up to 9 steps for you. It helps you to get a quick understanding of your organization’s digital maturity level and of where you are starting from. The short assessment considers your business model, products and services as well as your processes. The abstract you receive afterwards gives you essential input to identify your organization’s strengths, priorities and weak points, and to define your digital vision.

Check your Digital Maturity Level!


Mark Albrecht
Mark Albrecht
Vice President Global Head of Innovation, NTT DATA Business Solutions AG

As Vice President Global Head of Innovation at NTT DATA Business Solutions AG, Mark Albrecht is responsible for the adoption and deployment of the latest SAP Technologies and SAP Leonardo based Innovations into the worldwide organization of NTT DATA Business Solutions and NTT Data. In addition, he is responsible for national and international research & development projects, management of the long-term NTT DATA Business Solutions product and solution portfolio and is also a member of the global NTT Data R&D CTO Committee. Previously Mark Albrecht was an active SAP consult with responsibility for the project management and steering of international SAP projects. He resides in Bielefeld Germany near to NTT DATA Business Solutions AG headquarters, and travels around the world supporting NTT DATA Business Solutions/NTT Data sister companies and customers.

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