Recap: Q3 Executive Forum – Solutioning Forward via Design Thinking

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”

You don’t need to be a Michael Jordan fan to agree with this statement. Successful enterprises, like sports teams, rely on great people working together towards a common goal. Collaboration is a powerful experience and the principal reason why we hold an Executive Forum twice a year for our esteemed members. It’s an opportunity for them to share, learn, and ideate amongst peers.

The Forum also gives us a chance to share trends, research, and predictions about the talent acquisition space.

Having trouble identifying and breaking through #innovation roadblocks? @TalentTechLabs explains why design thinking could be the solution. Click To Tweet

Unlike past Forums, our recent session was not attached to a bigger event; instead, we scaled down on the ‘bling factor’ and doubled-up on content and synergy. Hosted by our friends at Nasdaq FiDi and held on September 16-17, we learned how to use design thinking as a vehicle for identifying and breaking through roadblocks related to innovation within talent acquisition.

Our guest speaker John Kembel –the leader in this movement– walked us through a five-prong approach: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. Each phase was meant to help participants understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent.


Our participants represented different verticals and industries, but three common pain points surfaced during the experience.

– Vetting technologies is an overwhelming and often fruitless process in which vendors over promise and under deliver, or they focus too much on features and not enough on solving actual business problems.

– It’s difficult to gain or keep budgets to purchase technology. In some cases, the budget is allocated but disappears by the time an assessment of technology is completed.

Technology adoption can be stymied by parallel departments such as procurement or legal, which have their own stringent protocols and procedures.

This Executive Forum wasn’t intended to solve problems in two days; instead, we helped our members leverage a different way of thinking in order to zero in on problems, explore opportunities, and uncover solutions that may not be obvious. It should be noted that while design thinking has many advantages, the biggest drawback is the time commitment. It’s an intensive process and all parties need to be ‘all-in’ and fully engaged just like NBA-winning teams.

Interested in attending the next Executive Forum? Reach out to Rob at to discuss membership or sponsorship options.