Three Ways We Innovate Together

Gayatri Mohan
Gayatri Mohan

October 19, 2023

Innovation Strategy
Innovation Strategy

At Giant Machines, we pride ourselves on our relentless focus on outcomes. We help our clients think of big, blue sky ideas, but we don’t stop there. Importantly, we help turn those ideas into reality through strategic prioritization, rigorous testing, and immediate action. 

How do we do this? We take three common pitfalls and turn them on their head.

  1. The common pitfall: Tackle the entire problem all at once.
    The GM way: Take a holistic, discrete slice of the problem.

We’ve worked with large corporations with deeply entrenched processes, legacy systems, and complex interconnections. They often come to Giant Machines with big, hairy problems that they have either tried to solve themselves, or have brought in other consultants to (unsuccessfully) address.

We take it upon ourselves to break such problems down into discrete, manageable chunks. This doesn’t mean creating siloes or artificial divisions of the problem to explore individually. Rather, it means taking a slice of all the layers of the problem – like a cake. 

While some teams attempt to take on the entire problem at once, Giant Machines advocates a lean product development approach as illustrated on the left.

This approach lets us take a holistic view of the problem, without boiling the ocean. It also lends itself to developing specific and actionable solutions that the client can begin acting on immediately, not just distant strategic plans that may or may not get implemented. 

  1. The common pitfall: Focus on technology.
    The GM way: Focus on technology and the user.

Many organizations focus on technology transformation, but we are persistent in our focus on technology and the user. How is the transformation impacting the people actually using the technology? How is it impacting customers? The business? 

We do this by mapping both user and data journeys together to understand how data, systems, and users actually interact with and impact one another. This helps us identify the most high impact opportunities for intervention – e.g., critical junctures where data quality issues arise or compound, moments where user roles and accountability are unclear, or ill-defined business processes that render brand new technologies and systems useless. 

  1. The common pitfall: Be the expert consultants.
    The GM way: Become embedded partners.

For us, success isn’t just a polished deck at the end of a project. We get into the weeds of the problem together with our client to investigate its root causes, identify its impacts, and co-create solutions that the client can actually implement. 

What does this look like in practice? We set clear expectations at the start of a project about the level of commitment on the client’s end – who needs to be involved, how many hours per week, what role they will play, etc. We prioritize work-in-progress over perfection in order to consistently maintain alignment and buy-in. We remain open to pivoting our approach when we need to – e.g., interviewing different or additional users whose perspectives will strengthen our understanding of the problem and potential impact of recommended solutions; or previewing our recommendations with stakeholders who are already leading important, related initiatives so that we can amplify existing efforts rather than compete with them. 

These are just a few examples of the GM way of innovating together, and we’ve found time and again that they set in motion a powerful flywheel of momentum and success for us and our clients’ organizations.

About the author

Gayatri Mohan
Gayatri Mohan

Lead Design Strategist


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