The IBM plan to bring design thinking to big business

For going on four years now, IBM has been working to reinvent itself as a design-led business. In 2012, the computing behemoth employed just one designer for every 80 coders. Today, that ratio stands at 1:20. By the end of 2016, the company hopes to narrow it to 1:15. All-told, the company is investing more than $100-million in an effort to become a design-centered corporation.

Charlie Hill, chief technology officer of IBM Design, says the plan is to completely overhaul IBM’s corporate ethos. For years, he says, “our teams had a very engineering-centric culture.” But in 2012, everything changed. “We wanted to shift that culture towards a focus on users’ outcomes,” Hill says.

To that end, IBM today published its very own set of design thinking guidelines — a selection of best design practices the company hopes other big businesses will look to as they seek to remain relevant and profitable in a rapidly evolving corporate landscape.