Design Thinking at Zappos

A hot topic among Business Analysts who have backgrounds in business is the amount of technical knowledge they need. Everyone agrees that it is good for them to have a basic understanding of certain technical subjects. This will help them define solutions that can be delivered and interface with the technical community. But how should they get this technical knowledge? One of the best ways is to follow the Zappos model.

Zappos encourages employees to “study abroad.” No, not fly to France, but to spend a few months in another department. As a result, one may see a fashion buyer “studying abroad” with a computer programmer. The result?

  1. Empathy for the challenges each one faces in their respective jobs; and
  2. New ways to anticipate and solve problems.

If this unlikely pair can learn from each other, a business analyst can certainly do the same, in an informal manner if their company doesn’t have such a formal exchange. And if the BA is attached to the IT unit, he/she has no excuse not to take advantage of the knowledge that is at their fingertips.

By the way, a BA with a technical background can learn from their business co-workers in the same manner.