Can We Design For Meaningful Experiences And Customer Delight?

As we cannot offer certainty, we offer alternatives that might create surprises, reward interactions, and engage different behaviors. This also means that we design not just the interaction, but also an ecosystem that in the perfect sense incorporates relationship, product/service/brand, and experiences — and if we are lucky, we generate meaning.

I believe in...a different...Innovation Lab

The "Present Needs" and the "Future Value" can have different interpretations for organizations and labs. In this post I willhighlight four functions that in my understanding are critical to connect the present and the future.  Those are: a reduced backlog, exponential efficiency, a new crisis management processand the search for the breakthrough in the "future focus".

An introduction to...Future Value Generation

Now available for pre-order:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E25ZXFK/   Innovation, foresight and strategy have to be about sense-making. No longer should they stand alone, but generate benefits through integration. Finding synergies is the key to creating an agile organization that balances the present with the future, and external changes with the internal value offering.  When we innovate, we transform, tackle problems of the past, find solutions for today’s challenges, and design new opportunities.

Now available for pre-order: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E25ZXFK/

Innovation, foresight and strategy have to be about sense-making. No longer should they stand alone, but generate benefits through integration. Finding synergies is the key to creating an agile organization that balances the present with the future, and external changes with the internal value offering.

When we innovate, we transform, tackle problems of the past, find solutions for today’s challenges, and design new opportunities.

Yet any solution whatsoever will be implemented in the future, in a reality different from ours. That is why we need to understand what this new future will look like, what will be important to people, what technologies are possible, and if the solution we design in the present will still generate value when implemented. We need to use foresight and transform the understanding of the ongoing shifts into present insights. Integrating insights and foresight: innovation and foresight.

I can assure that your Strategic Capabilities will be different, as well. Some we can adjust, others we need to create. Knowing what will change and how to adapt your business abilities means to connect the present with the future: strategy and foresight.

Finally, with constant change, we must react swiftly, be prepared, and have access to alternatives—options that allow us to manage crises in the present, explore new opportunities, and implement the changes necessary in our Strategic Capabilities to generate future value. We need an integration of strategy, innovation and foresight.

This integration of innovation, foresight and strategy generates synergies and defines the Building Blocks and the overall logic of the Future Value Framework. This integration brings with it certain benefits:

New business logics

Human-centered organization

Higher level of preparedness for external surprises

Strategic Capabilities aligned with future goals

Organizational flexibility and faster decision making

Crisis management with fewer negative future implications

Continuous process of innovation

 

A brief summary of the 7 Building Blocks

Present Value Proposition: For whom and when do we generate value? What value flows? The Present Value Proposition describes which value is exchanged. The flow must be sustainable for all parts involved. It is where the Value Generator (organization) and the Value Perceiver (people) meet. This connection defined the “why” of existence and how the organization adds extra value for clients.

Portfolio of Changes: What are the relevant Attractors and Drivers? Do we prioritize opportunities or risks? The Portfolio is a choice of Driving Forces (faster changes) and Attractors (slower accumulating changes) relevant to the organizational context. It establishes a strategic focus for practical implementation. Integrated with the other Building Blocks, it increases awareness of shifts and facilitates agile decision making. The Portfolio improves strategic alignment between the present and the future.

Futures Context: What drives future societies? What do people value? The Futures Context describes techno-human future logic. “People of the Future” play a central part in this setting. Their preferences define how the organization can offer and be relevant in the new context. The interplay of the individual, society and technology allows the identification of new opportunities and risks.

Vision: What is the reason we will exist? What is our purpose? Vision is an energetic commitment, balanced with what is possible for the organization. It integrates the desires, purpose, the present/future Strategic Capability and sense-making to internal and external stakeholders. The vision mobilizes and sets a workable strategic north.

Future Value Proposition: Why will people choose us in the future?What value will we add? The Future Value Proposition describes what value the organization adds to people, and the possible exchange of value. We identify new opportunities, and determine what business logics and Strategic Capabilities are necessary to generate future value.

Value Polices: What new Strategic Capabilities do we need to generate future value? What is our strategy of change? Value Policies lay a course of action and define an approach for agile decision making. Policies define the change necessary to create new value. They connect the future with the present, and external changes with the internal organizational context. Each Value Policy allows a controlled implementation of short-term tactics aligned to the set strategic north, adjusting the Strategic Capabilities.

Options Portfolio: What options do we have/need to implement the change? How can we generate new options? The Options Portfolio is a combination of alternatives aligned to the organizational boundaries. Pre-validated against the Value Policies, it offers a buffer of choices to be accessed when needed. The Portfolio facilitates decision making when a fast response is necessary, and increases alignment with the Vision and Future Value Proposition. It integrates a process of innovation aligned with strategy.

 

Thank you for reading my post.  Are you interested in generating new future VALUE? If yes, please check out my book: Future Value Generation.

Here are the other recent posts I wrote:

I believe in Innovation Labs!

Please stop! Millennials will not save your organization – at least not alone

Polymaths, management and the future

Does your Vision Statement Really generate Value?

Please stop! Millennials will not save your organization – at least not alone

Let me share a story. In the last month, I had the pleasure to talk with a leading executive from an international financial institution in Brazil. He proudly shared, more than 65% of their employees are generation Y (Millennials) and argues that this will make their organization even more innovative.  I asked him if his clients share them same percentage of Millennials. The answer was no.  Organization sometimes gets too excited by the changes and media hypes/stories. Some consultancies enter the game and proclaim that we need to innovate 10 millennial and allow them to question anything.   Diversity in age is one perspective  and defending it would not only demotivate (internal clients) but is blindsided, blocking new value opportunities for our (external clients). There might exist organization where the workforce and their clients are just Millennials, yet this reality is an exception. Most organizations have a more diverse generation mix as clients and users. This applies to traditional segmentation criteria as to experiences. Experiences transcend traditional definitions of customers and users and this means that the insight come from many inputs.   Super simplification and “hyping” are neither useful nor economically productive for organizations in the long run.  Neither only Millennials, nor just an  open-office culture  or applying collaboration in any process will “save your organization”. This thinking may create a short-term marketing and media response, but it does not define organizations that work, innovation, design or the future success. Where collaboration is interesting for idea, insight generation, asset and resource sharing, not too productive for strategic execution. An open-office culture is adequate for some types of personalities. Others more silent thinkers and doers prefer the balance of private and open, based on their tasks, live moments and business activity cycle. And Millennials might be seem innovative and searching for their purpose, but this does not mean that they can more easily understand and innovate for other parts of society.  Clearly, organizations need to connect to Millennials, but they have to the same with the other 65-80% of society.  It is the balance that matters not the hype.  Look at the  aging part of society . People above 65+ grow faster in societies in comparison to any other generation. Many countries should embrace a strong re-integration of elderly people in economic activities to survive. Immigration can help to balance the missing younger worker force in many countries, yet we already perceive social tensions and irrational emotions peaking. So ask yourself. Where is your talent screening for older people or immigrants/refuges? Why do we think innovation is mainly driven by Millennials, young and Interns? And why is the  Silicon Valley mentality  spreading that you shall not be older than 30 something to succeed as a start-up?  There exist for each of these believe logical arguments. Yet they present only one side of reality.  When we want to generate value for society, we shall see society and our stakeholders as a more diverse whole; a mix of different people.       Thank you for reading my post. Please spread the word and your point of view in the comments.   Here are some other recent posts I have written:     shout-out @ all DESIGNERS | One design, a human design     If you deliver average experiences - rethink your strategy      Polymaths, management and the future      Does your Vision Statement Really generate Value?      The Moment Economy – A new reality of consumption (Part 1)   (Part 2)  (Part 3)     Are you interested in generating new future value? Please find a macro summary of the Framework, on  my Slideshare.     Image courtesy by  Len Matthews  (Flickr CC)

Let me share a story. In the last month, I had the pleasure to talk with a leading executive from an international financial institution in Brazil. He proudly shared, more than 65% of their employees are generation Y (Millennials) and argues that this will make their organization even more innovative.

I asked him if his clients share them same percentage of Millennials. The answer was no.

Organization sometimes gets too excited by the changes and media hypes/stories. Some consultancies enter the game and proclaim that we need to innovate 10 millennial and allow them to question anything.

Diversity in age is one perspective and defending it would not only demotivate (internal clients) but is blindsided, blocking new value opportunities for our (external clients). There might exist organization where the workforce and their clients are just Millennials, yet this reality is an exception. Most organizations have a more diverse generation mix as clients and users. This applies to traditional segmentation criteria as to experiences. Experiences transcend traditional definitions of customers and users and this means that the insight come from many inputs.

Super simplification and “hyping” are neither useful nor economically productive for organizations in the long run. Neither only Millennials, nor just an open-office culture or applying collaboration in any process will “save your organization”. This thinking may create a short-term marketing and media response, but it does not define organizations that work, innovation, design or the future success. Where collaboration is interesting for idea, insight generation, asset and resource sharing, not too productive for strategic execution. An open-office culture is adequate for some types of personalities. Others more silent thinkers and doers prefer the balance of private and open, based on their tasks, live moments and business activity cycle. And Millennials might be seem innovative and searching for their purpose, but this does not mean that they can more easily understand and innovate for other parts of society.

Clearly, organizations need to connect to Millennials, but they have to the same with the other 65-80% of society.

It is the balance that matters not the hype.

Look at the aging part of society. People above 65+ grow faster in societies in comparison to any other generation. Many countries should embrace a strong re-integration of elderly people in economic activities to survive. Immigration can help to balance the missing younger worker force in many countries, yet we already perceive social tensions and irrational emotions peaking. So ask yourself. Where is your talent screening for older people or immigrants/refuges? Why do we think innovation is mainly driven by Millennials, young and Interns? And why is the Silicon Valley mentality spreading that you shall not be older than 30 something to succeed as a start-up?

There exist for each of these believe logical arguments. Yet they present only one side of reality.

When we want to generate value for society, we shall see society and our stakeholders as a more diverse whole; a mix of different people.

 

Thank you for reading my post. Please spread the word and your point of view in the comments. Here are some other recent posts I have written:

shout-out @ all DESIGNERS | One design, a human design

If you deliver average experiences - rethink your strategy

Polymaths, management and the future

Does your Vision Statement Really generate Value?

The Moment Economy – A new reality of consumption (Part 1) (Part 2)(Part 3)

Are you interested in generating new future value? Please find a macro summary of the Framework, on my Slideshare.

Image courtesy by Len Matthews
(Flickr CC)

New competencies for an uncertain world

We live in an age of competencies. Not a job description, not anymore the mechanization of elementary task defines us. Progressing technology allows each time more to be human again, avoiding the simplified reduction of behavior, installed during the rise of the early machines. New challenges will raise not just about organizations and their business logic. Each individual has to adapt to futures realities that are increasingly technological progressive and human centered.

I call out to increase our competences to:

  • lead with agility balanced with purpose
  • integrate information and define meaningful questions
  • adapt and create constantly options
  • experiment in an environment that knows its limits

 

Those four characteristics relate to VUCA, an acronym for a reality in dramatic change. It stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Those four words describe an environment with decisions in uncertainty where constant challenges drive organizations actions. And we know this challenges already too well today.

Nathan Bennett and James Lemoine presented in their HBR 2014 article four counter-actions to balance VUCA. Those are agility, information, adaptation and experimentation and blending them with the Future Value Generation is very insightful. (Please visit my Slidedeck to explore further, how VUCA integrates with the Future Value Framework: http://bit.ly/1Ig1d8A).

 

Each uncertainty is an opportunity.

 

Agility is a key response to volatility. We should act faster; compensate our existing organizational parts with new solutions that are lighter and faster, blended. Startups express such a freedom so is the new rising gig/stint economy. Yet we need to balance velocity with much stronger bonds (purpose) than pure mobilization towards a "vision". Emotion driven inspiration is not enough. We have to boost our purpose as strategic asset as well as fundamental bond with internal/external stakeholders. Purpose has the power to balance velocity and uncertainty.

We reduce uncertainty by incorporating new levels of information. Big data and Design (in its variation) come into play. Both allow us to understand the reality from different perspectives. The concepts provide a base for a new decision-making, humanized and more holistic. Yet it is not enough to have access to information. We need to reduce our biases and to step back and define new meaningful questions. In a reality where the intangible and tangible blend into shorter and shorter “interactions” of consumption each decision has to generate positive value.

Adaptation helps to transform complexity into opportunity. We need to let go, learn new topics and generate new solutions each time faster. To respond to the changes and exploit opportunities as they come we have to have many options accessible. We shall be prepared and constantly create. This is where innovation comes into play. Not as problem solving initiative but as a continuous process to generate options aligned to key strategic orientations. By doing so, we increase the strategic buffer allowing fast tactical decisions aligned to our future value position.

Experimentation is key to manage ambiguity. To do so, we need to create a profound awareness of the strategic competencies and limits of the organization and its individuals. We should reduce unnecessary risk exposure of people/organization in a balancing act allowing leaders to lead and innovation to flourish.

Agility, new source of information, adaption and experimentation are critical pillars for the new value generation. Yet before defining what competency to pursue, organizations need to understand their originality, limits and velocity of change.

 

Thank you for reading my post. Please spread the word and your point of view in the comments. Here are the other recent posts I have written: