KSMC champions design thinking so clients can improve lives and usher in change
When “fearless problem solving” is one of your core values, you don’t just go for the easy projects or look for shortcuts. And when your clients are some of the biggest names in both the public and private sectors, the challenges you face aren’t just grand on the grandest scale — you’re helping to usher in change and improve lives.
At KSMC (that’s KSM Consulting), technology, data, project management, and management consulting are the four core fields through which the team of 120 professionals enter and impact the world. Being industry agnostic, they work across nearly every type of business you can think of like manufacturing, property management and construction, higher education, local and state governments, nonprofits, healthcare and more. You can view detailed case studies of KSMC clients in all of the aforementioned industries and more on the company’s website.
KSMC111, the new standalone downtown office outside of the company headquarters near 96th and College Ave., reflects the vibe and values you’d expect from a consultancy that champions “design thinking” — a problem-solving methodology that emphasizes practical, creative thought; eschews comfort zones; and leads to the non-obvious, best possible solutions. You can learn more about the new space overlooking Monument Circle and watch a cool rendering-to-real video reveal video here.
“In a sense there’s no good way to pin down our type of client based on how big they are or what they do. I would say the distinction is that the organizations and enterprises we work with all have a strategic mindset and we partner with them to reach that next level by overcoming some of the toughest challenges that they and their industries face,” said Mark Caswell, director of professional services.
Another interesting distinction Mark confirmed is that KSMC most often engages with clients well before the implementation of software or other tools. “The value that our innovation and expert professionals bring to the table is in identifying and solving problems, not in selling any one specific software package — we’re platform agnostic in that way,” he said. Some of the most interesting partnerships with far-reaching impact end up coming from projects where the clients knew they could do better, but they didn’t already have exclusive requirements and instead they allowed the KSMC to facilitate a design thinking workshop to lead the way.
It was four years ago following a major growth spurt at KSMC — the company nearly doubled in size — when design thinking was established both as the way the organization runs and how they do the work they do. It’s also become a community mission to spread the problem-solving philosophy as a way to help others innovate.
To date, KSMC has trained upwards of 2,000 people from fourth-graders to CEOs and other professionals in design thinking, including 40 Hamilton Southeastern High School seniors. Mark explained that the HSE training was like a daylong crash course that culminated in prototyping and presentations that had a real impact on the students.
When designing solutions for people, the people and the outcomes are the point, not the technology that gets them there, which is something the tech industry can sometimes lose sight of in the excitement over the flash of new technology. “When you include people in the equation and consider the lives you’re improving — whether it’s the users or the people they serve — whatever solution you develop is going to resonate on a deeper level,” Mark said. “If you don’t start with people or include them as an essential part of the solution, it’s all too easy to get off track.”
These principles of design thinking, including putting people first, is one of the reasons KSMC has such an affinity for diversification and programs like BraveCamp that teaches girls coding and problem solving. Jess Carter, senior project manager at KSMC and a friend of BraveCamp founder Jenn Kamins, helped to bring the weeklong program to Indianapolis for the first time in July.
“At KSMC, we know how important diversity it,” Jess explains. “We know that with different backgrounds, different viewpoints, and different experiences, we can ultimately serve our clients better. And the same is true with BraveCamp participants. We saw the impact they had on our volunteers. Eyes and minds were opened when they interacted with these girls, their ideas, and their drive.” You can learn more about BraveCamp on the KSMC website or in the IndyStar.
As KSMC continues to grow at a rapid pace (20-50 percent per year), the company is hiring for positions in data science and analytics, project management, software development and engineering, IT and architecture, finance, HR and more. You can learn more about the company and its core values by visiting the KSMC website.