Here’s a true story about Design thinking that will definitely get you thinking !

By the time Air BnB CEO Brian Chesky returned to work after the holidays, his company had cornered a critical portion of the rental market and started an international expansion. Its executive team was planning the next big move.

Should they campaign to put more homes on the Air BnB platform?

Expand the peer-to-peer rental model to cars and office space?

Chesky wasn’t sure, but he knew how he wanted to talk about it.

Here’s what he did –

It so happened that Chesky had just read the biography of Walt Disney. In it, he found an idea that would change the way Airbnb launched products and would eventually help steer Airbnb’s next move toward its mobile product.

“I realized that Disney as a company was actually at a similar stage where we are now when they created  Snow White,” Chesky says.

The company had success with shorter cartoons, but Walt Disney wanted to create a feature-length film with enough depth that people would care about, not just laugh at the characters. He wanted to tell a complete story.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs began in the mid – 1930s with a storyboard, a technique the animators at Disney had invented a few years earlier. A comic-book-like outline of the story helped all of the film’s collaborators understand the vision as they took on the new format.

Chesky similarly wanted to use storyboarding as a way to understand the Airbnb customer experience as the company planned its next steps.

Airbnb started the project, appropriately code-named “Snow White,” by creating a list of the emotional moments that comprise an Airbnb stay.

Project “Snow White” – became one of the most ground – breaking projects of Air BnB catapulting growth like never before.

Bringing such “Snow White” moments to life is what design thinking is all about.

Design thinking is best known as a creative approach to problem solving that leads to innovative solutions that work better for people. It leads to gathering inspiration, ideas, making ideas tangible and share the “story” to create innovative solutions.

Today, Design Thinking can help HR transform the way they work.  As recruiting trends are changing rapidly, more and more companies have started applying Design Thinking approach to HR.

Using employee taxonomy can help you identify better HR processes and make the entire employee journey more memorable (More on this in the next week.)

Stay tuned to know more on how you can do this.

Choose to sign up for our workshop on Design thinking and HR – slated for September 5th & 6th in Chennai and September 11th & 12th in Mumbai. For more details, write to us at

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