Design Thinking at Shaw Industries

Design Thinking at Shaw Industries

Shaw Industries wins its 9th Learning! 100 Award for Innovation by tapping Design Thinking.

Shaw Industries Group, Inc. creates an environment where every associate belongs and brings their unique background & experience to spark solutions that enable our people & business to grow.   Shaw has identified Catalyze Innovation and Change as a leadership imperative required to achieve its desired business outcomes. Business goals are to double hard surface sales every 3-5 years, double modular carpet tile sales every 5-7 years, maximize profit and maintain share in broadloom carpet, and invest in supporting business to drive new revenue streams and profit.

To maintain a culture of innovation, leaders must inspire curiosity, challenge current thinking, support experimentation and advance ideas to fruition. To achieve these objectives, Shaw’s Talent Management team embraced Design Thinking training.  The training encompassed workshops and journeys to support creative problem solving within the organization.

Design Thinking is a human-centered methodology that can help teams surface unmet customer needs, reduce risk associated with launching new ideas, generate solutions, and helps organizations learn faster. These programs provide a “hands on” approach that focuses on producing changes in human behavior through strategies such as empathetic research, brainstorming, and iterative prototyping

Shaw teams have applied Design Thinking to product design, service and experience design, business design, leadership, and organization change. 

Design Thinking Applied

One of the Design Thinking challenges was to accelerate performance of both individuals and teams and build behaviors that drive innovation into the culture. A team of diverse associates created the new performance experience. The new performance experience improved associate engagement as associates and their leaders now co-create agile goals that are connected to company strategy.

One example of business impact is an upward shift in performance from Shaw’s Distribution center. Distribution experienced rapid growth and consolidation, which resulted in an ineffective shift in leader behavior. Senior leaders were making decisions for front line leaders and empowerment diminished in a fast paced, hectic environment. Front line leaders were not communicating labor needs with each other because the pace had created a “heads down” mindset. A negative business impact from the shift in leadership behavior was a significant increase in overtime; Saturday work, which was costly for the business with a total of 13.5 million square foot of warehouse space, and 1700 truckloads flowing through the network.

The performance goal was to increase the plant’s agility, accuracy, and strategic approach to getting work done more efficiently, and with a higher level of performance from each level of leadership. Decision making authority and empowerment needed to be “reset”. Through the team created a different performance experience by connecting people to the strategy, holding 1:1 conversations, building transparent agile goals, and individual growth and development talks. Within 6 weeks of using this new approach to performance management, the plant had its first Saturday off, and achieved sustainability.

Shaw Industries Group is a 9-time Learning! 100 Award Winner.

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