I’m off to New York with Better by Design, for a fresh take on being customer centred – shifting focus to a different type of customer…
The customer of design.
Prevalent models like Lean Startup, Design Thinking, Jobs To Be Done etc. all stress a primary need to understand the end user of the product. In fact, it’s hard to find a contemporary ’best practice’ example of design or product development which doesn’t include ‘getting out of the building’, ‘walking in their shoes’ or having ‘empathy’.
…But there’s little thought given to the customer of user centred design – the business decision-maker considering investing in the often unquantifiable value this approach will bring, and wanting assurance they’re doing the right thing by leading their team down this path.
Who’s walking in their shoes?
Where’s the empathy for them?
Being a coach with Better by Design certainly takes this direction, and joining 25 Kiwi CEOs on a tour of NY businesses offers a great opportunity to take a taste of my own medicine by getting closer to my own customers.
The businesses we’ll visit have all been built on or have adopted a customer centred approach, from mainstays like Ideo & Google, to more ‘recent’ arrivals IBM (who’ve hired hundreds of designers in the last year) and a bunch of more ‘Kiwi sized’ product and service companies.
At each business we’ll get a taste for their approach and hear how they believe they’ve applied it in their business, through staff culture, product attributes or the way they decide ‘what next?’.
Yes, a great set of case studies to learn from, but my interest lies in the response of the curious but yet-to-be-convinced CEO or Product Manager who’s perhaps too close to their product or has lost connection with their customers’ world.
What does a user centred approach look like to them?
I’ll be looking to see what resonates, what scares them, what raises eyebrows, or triggers an inhale through the teeth.
Plenty to learn, and as with all customer insights work, the answers to these questions lie beneath the surface and between the lines. So if you’re in New York in Late October, that’s where you’ll find me.