Creating an Internal LMS using Design Thinking
Have you ever wondered what 1 idea can do to your organizational growth?
Imagine applying Design Thinking and getting results like Improvement in Productivity, Cost Reductions thereby impacting overall Bottom Line & Improvement in CSAT scores?
Think about the last time you introduced a new product or service internally and were struggling to show the ROI of the implementation. What if I told you that the solution is right in front of you, all you got to do is adjust your lens
DISCLAIMER: The Contents in this document must not be reproduced, in whole or in part, or used or discussed without the prior written permission of Bruhad Buch. Client name & Employee names have been changed based on request from our esteemed client.
On 8th March 2018, Raj & Shruti rushed to their boss Dan with a thank you note and a cake that
said ‘Celebration Time’. Well, it wasn’t his birthday, nor was it his last day in the organization,
so what’s wrong with the team, Dan wondered? On asking them what the matter is, Raj
promptly showcased the monthly metrics and the satisfaction on both their faces suggested
that they had won.
Since the commencement of the activity in September 2017, their success was not just the
result of revolutionary thinking in a very challenging environment, but also came from a deep
commitment to understanding how it will help them learn more and differentiate them from
rest of the Learning teams operating in various industries. This idea was loved not only by the
HR Head but was welcomed by the functional leaders which was a big boost to Dan’s teams’
It was sheer passion and consistency that drove the thought behind this innovation and Dan
now was very sure that he can drive this team to achieve indefinite boundaries
The Need for this Innovation
“Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself”
3rd July 2017, the deadline for sending the dashboards was nearing, and Raj was unable to
submit the final presentation. Dan summoned Raj and gave him a piece of his mind; this being
the 5th time the presentation wasn’t ready on time. Dan did not understand why this happened
every month even though standard templates were ready, trackers were in place and data
flowed in at the regular speed. On persistent questioning, a teary eyed Raj responded, “I quit
Dan. I don’t think I can sustain this way. I work for 10 hours every single day and it has started
to take a toll on my health as well”. Dan asked him to calm down and set up a meeting with the
team to understand the issue in detail.
“Why does it take so much time to enter simple data in a set template?” asked Dan, to which
Raj replied “Dan, we are working on 6 trackers at one go and many a time we have to follow up
on a regular basis for the data to reach us. We try multi-tasking but as soon as we start
working on modules, some data pops up. We tried using priority matrixes and all of that, but it
just doesn’t seem to work”. Shruti nodded in agreement and added “Moreover, we have to
publish multiple dashboards with a variety of unique requirements from each functional
leader, which takes up most of our time”
Dan realized that this was a problem which needed immediate attention and started scouting
for vendors who provide online solutions. After meeting 5 vendors, he sent the quotation to
the management for approval, which was rejected right at the outset. Dan spent close to 4
hours explaining the benefits to the management, but they decided to go against any purchase
as they felt, the cost for the online system was not required at this stage. A dejected Dan came
back to his cabin and was wondering how he could keep the team motivated. At the same time
he wanted to prove to the management that an online system not only will make their lives
easy but will also have additional benefits that they currently are not able to visualize.
Converting Challenges to Opportunities
“Even though the future seems far away, it is beginning now”
Dan called for a brainstorming meeting with the team and they began jotting down the points.
It started with jotting down all the data source points on the drawing board and discussing
how much time each activity takes. They then further broke those tasks down to the sources of
data and the frequency at which data flowed in. Once the sources were identified, they figured
out how much time does each data source takes and how much effort does the team have to
put in following up for that data.
“Aha!!!” exclaimed Dan, “That’s it” and he drew a final database that covered all the data points.
Raj & Shruti added their insights and a process, was laid down to merge all the database
dockets into 1 master docket that could generate more than 30 unique types of analysis. High
Fives were exchanged and they set deadlines for completion of the master docket. It took Raj &
Shruti 5 days to consolidate the entire data in one sheet and by 20th July they were all set to
test the prototype.
It was 5th September and Dan was waiting for the dashboards and to his surprise, Raj was
delayed again. He summoned Raj and asked him now what’s the problem, to which Raj
responded “The excel file became so heavy due to a lot of information that it crashed and we
seem to have lost all recent data, thus we’re compiling all of that again and thus the
dashboards will take time”. Dan was aghast and didn’t know how to react. The team was still
spending a lot of time on data entry and that was unacceptable.
Dan wasn’t able to sleep that night and decided that he will ensure that he finds a solution to
this. Next day, he locked himself up in his cabin, cancelled all appointments and started
searching for trial applications that could help him automate the analytics, when he came
across a tool called PowerBI. PowerBI is a feature rich tool that allowed users to assimilate
multiple data sheets and generate various analytics at the snap of a finger.
He realized that the file is probably heavy because of formulae & charts so he asked Raj to
share the single database without the links and the charts. Dan plugged the data source in
PowerBI and created various charts in a sample template. Another “Aha” moment for Dan; He
showcased this tool to Raj and Shruti and asked them to use it for a couple of months.
It was 5th October 2018, and this time Dan did get his dashboard on time. “Finally”, he thought,
“My team will be heaving a sigh of relief”. Raj & Shruti were extremely happy that they will
now have to spend less time on the dashboards. Dan was a design thinking evangelist, who had
trained himself to think beyond limitations, gave himself another challenge of reducing the
time spent on data management further. Currently, the team reduced time spent on data
management from 16 hours per week to 2.5 hours per week, but Dan wanted them to spend
maximum 1 hour per week on data management.
The Final Product
“Don’t wait for opportunities, create them”
Dan had hired interns for a few projects in September who had created workflows for an LMS,
under his guidance. He decided to speak to his IT Team and create a system that could take
care of majority of the workflows and have the manual intervention for only the necessary
data entry points. A simple system, with a pleasing to eye UI, was created wherein Raj & Shruti
just had to enter the basic details, and the coded algorithms would generate the databases and
further translate them into the desired analytics. Dan gave restricted access to the functional
leaders, who could access the analytics at any given time. Not only was this a success story for
Dan and his team, as they now spent only 45 minutes per week for data management, but also
for the functional leadership as they could get live access to data and not depend on anyone for
“The only limitation to your impact is your imagination and commitment”
Dan, Raj & Shruti achieved the following in the next 6 months:
1) They created 15 unique custom behavioral modules that could be measured objectively,
using proper metrics. The employees’ productivity has improved by 25% after
implementing the tools used during the facilitation of the modules
2) They also created a custom In-basket assessment center that linked to their
organizations succession plans and talent strategies. It also helped the organization
reduce the annual wage bill by 3% (Which is huge in terms of $ value)
3) The Technical Team’s CSAT scores saw an increase by 40% thanks to the Incubation lab
created by this team