Ulrich has an intense passion for design thinking and chats to us via a Zoom call for this episode. He is an experience designer at McKinsey and is the founder of Leftfield Lab. He shares his perspective on how creatives need to be more collaborative in working to solve problems, and the need to change corporate mindsets to accept creatives in the strategic decision-making process.

Ulrich talks about how important it is for corporates to become deeply immersed and interested in customer behaviour without a solution bias. We talk about this in relation to the African context and the ways in which it should be used to solve real problems.

Ulrich shares his opinions on the current landscape of corporate South Africa, where design thinking fits in and the pitfalls of how it is currently being approached and implemented. We also talk about how design thinking cannot be a template-based approach, but should rather take into consideration the bigger picture.

We talk about global versus local maturity levels of design thinking, as well as the reasons for this disparity and how we can help local design thinking practices mature.

Ulrich talks us through three design thinking projects where he employed the full process and why this was so hugely successful, as well as the challenges he and the team faced.

Prototyping and rapid testing again come up as a hot topic, important in the spheres of product development.

Ulrich expresses his view on the future of design thinking education, entrepreneurship and leadership in South Africa and what he sees this looking like in the future, based on what he is currently experiencing.

We also talk about the future of work, and how corporates will need to adjust to a new reality in the not so distant future. Today’s high paying jobs may no longer exist in a few years, which stresses the need for businesses to rethink their structures and operations.

If you are unfamiliar with design thinking, listen to episode 1, where we discuss the methods and mindsets of design thinking and clear up some of the terminologies.