How do you implement HX?

5 minute read

HX starts by identifying and understanding the real challenges and opportunities in front of your organisation, and the value digital transformation is really expected to deliver.

The process puts in an awful lot of work upfront into understanding the real problems. Because HX is a business process, it often looks more widely than just the digital perspectives of systems, UX, and UI. It’s also very powerful for examining the commercial aspects of problems. 

HX has been designed to allow disruption to occur. This is the kind of thinking that destroys monopolies, and opens up fresh new markets and possibilities. Think Netflix, Uber, and Airbnb and you’re in the right place. 

Disruption caused by digital transformation is probably coming to your industry whether you like it or not. Strong historical financial results are not a reason to ignore innovation - they are a reason to invest in it, right now. Deciding to set your market conditions, as much as is possible, instead of reacting to them once it’s too late, is always an urgent priority for strategic leadership. 

In The Next Normal, The Recovery Will be Digital, McKinsey says, “Digital rewards first movers and some super-fast followers. It is first movers and very fast followers that gain a huge advantage over their competitors.”

Innovation and digital transformation don’t often conform to the four quarters of a financial year. HX shows us they deliver the best results when the investment and programmes of work are ongoing. 


The 5-Day Co-Design Sprint

The 5-Day Co-Design Sprint is Apolinar’s HX engine room of digital transformation. 

Co-Design Sprints are intensive, collaborative, multi-day workshops focussed on designing digital products, services, and experiences for all stakeholders, being the people who will ultimately be touched or affected by them. 

Co-Design actively involves those same stakeholders in the design process to make sure the final result meets their needs. Apolinar’s 5-Day Co-Design Sprint uses Design Thinking and HX for problem solving, providing a properly imagined and constructed solution. Originally inspired by the Google Ventures Design Sprint, Apolinar has adapted and perfected this system for use in HX.

The Co-Design Sprint also leverages Design Thinking for problem solving - instead of jumping straight to a solution - and helps organisations achieve greater collaboration and better results, fast.

The 5-Day Co-Design Sprint is a cornerstone of HX philosophy, and delivers results time after time, across all industry sectors, organisations, and projects.


Here’s how it works.

Day 1: Understand

Understand as much as possible about the problem the client is trying to solve, and to share everything known across stakeholder teams.

Day 2: Sketch

Rapidly develop as many different solutions to the problem as possible. Participants work individually to draw detailed solutions on paper. Everyone works separately to ensure maximum detail and depth with minimum groupthink.

Day 3: Decide

Narrow down multiple solutions and decide which ones, or amalgams of several, are going to be prototyped and tested. Either the customer or the organisational stakeholders that most closely represent them are in the room, and they help inform this critical part of the process. 

Day 4: Prototype

Build a realistic looking prototype in a day. Using Apolinar’s own DesignOps process, an interactive and high-fidelity prototype is built in just seven hours.

Day 5: Test

Test the prototype with real users from the target audience. We show the prototype to outside people and stakeholders in one-on-one interviews, observing, recording, and finding patterns in real time. From here, feedback is gathered and improvements are iterated.


The power of teams

As outlined earlier, one of the critical keys to successful digital transformation is a well selected and diverse team. Data and research supports the idea that teams outperform individuals for productivity. 

Is this surprising? Not really. 

The digital field is very broad, involving a wide range of skill sets. Achieving a wide range of different contributors, all bringing different perspectives and expertise, will inevitably help strengthen the thinking around your digital transformation challenge. 

The key to creating value and ensuring productivity lies in building an efficient structure, getting the right balance of perspectives, and establishing robust methods of working. It’s also important to manage expectations, and prioritise tasks cogently. 

Teams work best when sanctioned at board level, and there is real clarity about the outcomes you’re looking to achieve. It’s vital to get people at the frontline involved, not just management, and to bring the people who represent your end-users into the room, as they will be the ultimate end user of your work. 

HX has been specifically designed for teams, and helps promote a productive culture where project velocity can be maximised. 


The importance of revision

In HX, revision is an ongoing process. 

Because markets, audiences, business processes, and people are forever changing, it no longer makes sense to prescribe fixed timelines to ongoing digital challenges. 

Understanding your value chains is critical to successful digital transformation. If you sell insurance on motor vehicles, your value chain is customers who buy insurance premiums, and the digital platforms and experiences that support them. Your people should be working on improving your value chains forever - because that is where the money comes in. 

This idea of continuous improvement, summarised in the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen, is often a big change for most organisations. This is because they think about projects in a linear fashion, as having a beginning and a definite end.


Authored by Jon Beattie

30 November 2021


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The HX Handbook is a clear roadmap to creating better human experiences of technology. We hope that it will help you examine your approach to digital transformation through different lenses.

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