Customer-centricity in Designing: Application of Design Thinking Methodology in Creating Educational Solutions at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn
Purpose: The study presents customer-centricity in designing a concept of a graduate program, managing university, and continuous assessment. It shows and evaluates an application of methods and tools of design thinking in creating a modern educational solution that is in line with the main expectations of stakeholders. The analysis concerns customer-centricity as a way to create educational solutions which require adjusting education methods to the future needs of stakeholders. Design/Methodology/Approach: The design process is based on methods and tools of design thinking: qualitative analysis of the users, desktop research, needs analysis of students and employers, trend and change signals analysis. Designing solutions, we used creative teamwork methods, prototyping, testing, and optimizing solutions. Findings: Customer-centricity is treated as a trend reorienting the functioning of a higher education institution and managing education to adapt its offer to students’ needs and generational changes. Practical Implications: Customer-centricity is based on a set of values, principles, and behaviors that create solutions adapted to the needs and expectations of their users. This approach requires analyzing the conditions, behaviors, and needs of its recipients. When it comes to the design process we conducted, customers comprised of students, employers, and academic teachers. The design process itself and the assumptions we embraced were an alternative to commonly employed solutions in which stakeholders do not participate. Originality/Value: A customer-centric hierarchy of goals makes it necessary to monitor students’ experiences, respond to their feedback, and personalize and make the educational path more open. As a result, students become co-creators of their education.