Digital transformation is discussed often, but achieved rarely. There are many reasons why an organization might struggle to innovate, especially to innovate fast enough to be first to market.

To explore innovation roadblocks, today on the blog we’re interviewing Tom Bals. Tom is a leader in digital innovation and strategy. Drawing from his experience working with world-renowned agencies, Tom approaches innovation through the application of Human Centred Design principles to discover, design and develop digital concepts that deliver value.

Question: Based on your experience in the digital space, what are some of the main roadblocks organizations face when it comes to innovation?


Large organizations are blocked when it comes to innovation because they lack alignment around a shared goal. This is why the evaluation of value versus risk is siloed and becomes sub-optimal. Then, under the weight of internal opinion, innovation is lost.

Data-rich and complex analytics tools might be designed to level this, but they often create a false sense of security on one hand, or organisational inertia on the other.

Q: If alignment is the primary roadblock to innovation, how might an organization achieve alignment throughout in design, technology, and strategy to execute on a digital initiative quickly?


I’ve seen great success in achieving alignment through the early development of a Proof of Concept, or several POCs. This produces an authentic platform for cross functional collaboration in Design, Technology and Strategy towards a common goal.

Taking a lean approach by starting with a POC realizes value early, demonstrates what is possible and generates excitement. It also creates a measurable indicator for feasibility, desirability and viability and accelerates decision making through direct feedback.

Q: Is there space for Design Thinking methodology within a rapid delivery model?


In a rapid delivery model, the delivery of a POC is positioned much earlier in the learning curve than in traditional Design Thinking.

In this case, Discovery and Ideation are in service of the development of a User Experience that can be validated in weeks rather than months. It consists of a selection of: immersion in present research and strategy documentation, stakeholder interviews, competitive and comparative research, technology and infrastructure audits, Business Model Canvas, Persona-to-Journey mapping, solution visualization, and wireframing.

This does not go as deep as doing the Design Research to develop the empathy for the user that is required for the comprehensive end-to-end Customer Experience.

So, yes, there is space for elements of Design Thinking in a rapid delivery model. And the POC itself is elementary to the prioritization and the start of the new digital initiative.

Q: Customers expect outstanding digital solutions. Is it possible to deliver on Customer Experience while still getting to market fast?


Absolutely. In fact, the most outstanding customer experiences often evolve from minimally viable initial implementation that solves a narrow problem.

"Big bang" product launches make for risky business. Excellence in customer experience is achieved iteratively, enabling organizational learning that happens when real customers use their product. The sooner you get to market - perhaps in the form a smaller, limited release - the sooner that learning can begin.


Many organizations aren’t short on talent or ideas, but struggle to get digital products to market in time due to organizational processes and lack of alignment.

A POC can help obtain buy-in for a digital product and realize value rapidly. Rangle Go brings you from the definition of a business challenge or problem to the delivery of a POC for a solution that is a measurable indicator for its feasibility, desirability and viability.

Build on a customer experience foundation, Rangle Go removes risk, drives alignment, and validates new areas of value.