Tag Archive | customer journey map

Innovation & Design Thinking Start with the Assessment of Now

“Innovation and design thinking are considered as the principal source of differentiation and competitive advantage in the business world today. Thinking like a designer can transform the way you develop products, services, processes, and even strategy” Tim Brown (2008). 

Ironically, I never considered myself an innovative or creative person. Instead, my organized and systematic way of working sometimes seems to be even conflicting with the idea of being innovative. However, I like challenging myself. That’s why I enrolled to the “Service Innovation and Design” program at Laurea University of Applied Sciences, to build my confidence and skills towards being a more innovative person. 

My Service Innovation and Design journey started with the course of “Design Thinking” from Katja Tschimmel in September. Katja herself is a Professor, Researcher and Consultant with the strong focus on creative thinking and design. The 2-days intensive course emphasised the fact that “design thinking (aka. Design doing) is a systematic approach to problem solving.” 

By deep dive into the Figure 1 – Evolution 62(E6) model, we can see it has been divided into 6 phases, which starts with Emergence – identification of an opportunity in the centre. Then under each phase, there are various tools as recommendations or proposals to choose from. However, due the iterative nature of design thinking, tools can be freely selected based on the needs and context. 

Figure 1: Evolution 6Mindshake Design Thinking Model by Katja Tschimmel (2018)

From the well instructed group exercises, we were able to familiarize ourselves with different design thinking tools. Also, from Katja’s concrete consulting case example, we were able hear how design thinking applied into real-life examples and best practices.  

To enhance the design thinking understanding, I further on read the Harvard Business Review article by Tim Brown called Design Thinking (2008). In the article, Tim stressed that for any design projects, Design thinking ultimately goes through 3 stages: 1) Inspiration, 2) ideation, and 3) Implementation.

In more details (Brown, 2008, P88-P89): 
– inspiration is about understanding current circumstances and using the findings to search identify problems or opportunities.
– ideation is about generating, developing and testing ideas that may lead to solutions.
– implementation is about charting a path to market

In the end, Tim highlighted that innovation is the result of hard work, which starts with an idea that based on deep understanding of consumers’ live, then followed by iterative cycles of design thinking practices, such as porotypes, testing and refinement, to innovate and build value (2008, P90).

Similarly, in the book of “Designing for Growth: a design thinking tool kit for managers”, Liedtka and Ogilvie (2011) introduced the design model with 4 basic questions (Figure 2).  The “what is” stage explores current reality. “What if” envisions a new future. “What wows” makes some choices, and “what works” takes us to the marketplace (Liedtka & Ogilvie, 2011, P36). 

Figure 2:Design Process by Liedtka and Ogilvie (2011)

By comparing 3 different design thinking models mentioned above, we can quickly come to the realization that, despite all the differences, all design thinking starts with the current reality and circumstance understanding. You might be wondering, isn’t design thinking is about creating something new for the future, but why starts with now? 

The answer is simply. Because successful innovation always goes back to the basics of “what is the job to be done” and how can we improve it? To answer that question, we need to pay close attention to what is going on today to identify the real problem or opportunity that we want to tackle.

Without an accurate reality assessment, the innovation outcome loses the meaning and values. Also, in most cases, we tend to find innovation clues right lies in the dissatisfaction of the presence. By taking a closer look at users’ frustrations today, we will be able identify opportunities for improvements. Therefore, we can all agree that reality assessment is the foundation of innovation, and starting point of any design thinking process. (Liedtka & Ogilvie, 2011, P38-P39)

So now you might be thinking that “Okay, now I get the point, but how to conduct the reality assessment in practice, and which tools I should be using?” There are many available tools to choose from based on the needs and situation. However, here are a few that I personally find useful to try (Tschimmel, 2018; Liedtka & Ogilvie, 2011). 

Media, Market and Customer Analysis to obtain the understanding of what is happening or emerging currently to produce Trend Matrix. 
Intent Statement to collaboratively define “what do we want to innovate”? 
Stakeholder Map to identify various individuals or groups involved in the project, foresee possibility challenges, and develop strategies to engage them. 
Persona to define who are the users in the project. 
Customer Journey Mapping to provide a visual representation of the touchpoints where users interact with company services or solutions. 
Value Chain Analysis to study an organization’s interaction with partners to produce, market, distribute and support its offering. It is the business-side equivalent of customer journey mapping, to highlight pain points and opportunities when working with partners.
Mind Mapping to extract meaning from vast amount of collected information to look for patterns and identify innovation opportunities.

Have fun with trying different design thinking tools! Enjoy! 


Written by Xiaoying Wang on 22nd September 2019.
Service Innovation and Design student at Laurea University of Applied Sciences

Reference: 

Tschimmel, K. (2018). Evolution 62: An E-handbook for Practial Design Thinking for Innovation. MindShake. 
Brown, T (2008). Design Thinking. Harvard Business Review P85-P95. 
Liedtka, J & Ogilvie, T. (2011). Designing for Growth: a design thinking tool kit for managers. Columbia University Press. 

What is Customer Journey and why others besides sales and marketing people should be interested about it?

What is Customer Journey and why others besides sales and marketing people should be interested about it?

 

Customer Persona

Before starting to formulate customer journey, it is important to define customer personas, to whom these journeys will be created. A while ago, I wrote about what Customer Personas are and why those are useful. Below you can find short definition and through the link complete blog in Finnish.

 

”Customer Persona (Customer-Avatar) is a fictional character, which presents ideal customer of a certain company. Unlike definition of a target segment, which classifies large group of people, customer persona defines one person’s character, values, personal information, challenges and goals. It even goes so far, that this person is given a name and a profile picture, by which an attempt to try to make the person alive is done.”

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/asiakaspersoonat-ja-mit%C3%A4-hy%C3%B6ty%C3%A4-niist%C3%A4-voi-olla-lauri-eskelinen/

 

Customer journey

Challenge during this digital era is, that many do not know when and where the first contact happens. If you do not know where this happens, it is very difficult to provide value to customer on that specific touch point. It can even happen so that customer has already made the purchasing decision even before contact with the company has happened. During this modern age, customers want to search for information about the product or service beforehand and understand what they are buying. For that reason it is important, that companies are acting as trusted advisors who are helping customers to move forward on their journey. Helping works a lot better than pushing also in this case.

 

Customer journey is a journey of all touch points between a company and a customer towards what the customer wants to achieve, and what they are doing to achieve that. It begins from awareness when customer discovers a need, continues by engaging with company and leads to purchasing. These touch point types vary a lot, and are not just contacts with sales, marketing and customer service at the customer interface, there are also many touch points with the systems behind the curtain. Journey does not end at the purchase, instead customer needs to be taken care of also after the transaction. Company has created value propositions before the purchase, but after the purchase company needs to fulfill these promises. Service delivery should be easy and effortless for the customer. Also it is important to understand that for example HR-, logistics- and finance systems affect to how smooth the customer experience is as a whole.

 

One tool called Service Blueprint is helpful in defining customer journey. It can also be used to test new service process prototype. We learned how to use this tool with Katja Tschimmel during the class Design Thinking. With the help of this tool, physical customer journey can be described and below every touch point, customer action is listed. By using this tool, contacts between customer and the company can be reviewed, both direct and contacts happening at the background. Also it is important to list out the required supporting processes and resources like IT. Below you can find a picture about what our group came up with.

20180908_143426

 

What are important aspects of effective customer journey mapping process?

It is very important, that it includes customer-centric point of view, in which a solution is formed through customer requirements with the objective to solve their needs, instead of creating a new product/service without asking customers if they need it. It is also very important to have support from management and focus on customer insight. Support is required from many different levels of organization, because customer interacts with many different parts of the company. Therefore units, which are working behind the curtain must support the process. And if cooperation and data collection are not taken into account in the early phases of the process, there is a big risk that the process ends up into nice visual exercises which nobody utilizes in practice.

 

Every time new product/service is developed, developers should step into customer’s shoes. By using the tools which design thinking provides, discussion can be limited into what needs to happen so that the idea is applicable. You can always make fancy plans, which seem to work on paper, but when a real customers tests the prototype, some very surprising issues can be discovered. Because of this reason, feedback should be requested as early as possible during the process. There is a risk, that when only looking at your own point of view, you might forget some important aspects, which are important to customers, and which the planned product does not fulfill. At this phase it is a lot easier to make modification, it could be late and very expensive to make those changes when the products is finished. So, remember to request feedback as early as possible and Fail Fast!

 

Some tools, which are good for testing new product or service are Desktop Walkthrough or Role Play. During our classes we were allowed to play with Legos J This relates to Desktop Walkthrough –tool, which is used to outline proposed solution in 3D, which makes it easier to define. After we made our first version, we presented that to other group to receive feedback. With the help of this feedback, we made some modifications and combined two different options into one solution. Some pictures below.

 

Why it is important to understand these concepts?

The customer rarely follows the buying process which the company has independently defined. From the perspective of marketing and sales, it is important so that companies can create value adding content to every touch point of the journey and can help customers move forward. Instead that company trying to raise common interest and reach the entire crowd with one same content. Many times this results into creating content, which does not raise any emotions in anyone.

 

After the customer journeys have been formulated, marketing automation can be utilized in order to deliver content, which provides additional value to customers in every touch point and when they are moving forward on their journey. This is one reason why the background systems need to function. It does not give good image, if value creating content has been created, but interested customer cannot open it. For this reason, cooperation inside the company is very important, so that IT-unit understands the process. Then they can make sure that the systems work as required and by doing that, making the customer journey as easy and effortless as possible.

 

#servicedesign #designthinking #customerjourney #contentmarketing #sales #marketing #latenlorut

Customer experience and healthcare

From time to time you hear people understanding service design as something very strategic or too complicated to be applied for a development project. Purpose of this blog post is to show, applying service design can be practical and especially in healthcare sector, highly recommendable. Last week we organized an ideation workshop in a public hospital in Helsinki Finland in order to improve customer experience during the first 24 hours patients check in. Workshop covered 10 departments and over 50 participants representing hospital employees from nurses and physiotherapists to doctors.

Understand the reality and define the problem you´re solving.

Participants started by getting absorbed in the patient´s experiences collected by student observations. What did the patients feel, think, do, see and hear? Shared emotional understanding of the customer´s experience worked as a starting point for the workshop. In the next phase participants filled an emotional customer experience map, that is a process for discovering, how your customers feel as they experience the service through service touch points. With the help of the emotional customer journey, participants identified the pain points of the service. By identifying the pain points, participants were able to understand the reality and define the problem participants continued to work with.

workshop3

From ideation to potential solutions

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Are you a Designer?

I am a designer!

How many of you consider yourself as a designer? This was one of the first questions we were asked in our service design workshop at Lahti University of Applied Sciences on October 9th 2012.

Probably you can guess the answer, roughly half of the participants raised their hands. Then it was time to wake people a bit. We were asked to draw twenty different pictures, and for every picture there was 5 seconds time for drawing. After the exercise Bas Leurs, one of our teachers from Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences announced: Now you all are designers! Yes, he is correct, everyone is a designer.

Why and when do we design?

One student expressed well the reason for design: “We must design because we are not perfect”. Continue reading