I was going to continue on with my digest series about the design research conference from this year, but instead, I think I’m just going to point you to the New Idiom, the newsletter from the Institute of Design, now running on TypePad. On this week’s issue, there is a description of most of the speakers who were at the conference this year.
I was particularly interested in the Steve Karten presentation about Mode-mapping, and the Steve Knox presentation about word of mouth marketing at P&G Tremor.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is David Kelley from IDEO’s “Fail Faster, Succeed Sooner”. I’m a nerd, so I even have the quote hung up near my desk to remind me to just make something or do something. Trying it, instead of postulating about it. A friend just sent me a link to a WSJ article about managing innovation.
In it, a strategist from IDEO talks about the essential aspects of an innovative culture in an organization.
The first one is really awareness and attitudes. The second one is ways of thinking. The third one is processes and tools, and the fourth one is managing risk.
The biggest problem I perceive in completing a project is a lack of understanding on how to pilot a potential solution. This sounds weird, but I think it makes a lot of sense for companies to set projects up so that they can fail relatively easily.
A metaphor I liken this to is non-profits. Every year, tons of nonprofit organizations
get started to support very worthy causes. There are a finite number of causes to go around, but lots of people with large hearts (and sometimes unfulfilled egos?) who want to help. Rather than finding an organization that is supporting their particular cause of interest, people will start yet-another-non-profit (YANP).
The problem with these, of course, is that it is difficult to reach any economies of scale or efficiency. And these organizations don’t really consider other groups to be “competitors”. They trudge forward in purgatorial oblivion– preventing their organizations from perishing and being born again, fresh.
In much the same way, groups within an organization can tend to hold on to projects far too long for political reasons or otherwise. Project pilots ought to be structured artfully and cleverly like scaffolding, that can fall if necessary, revealing a structure to develop big platform wins.
This requires more than a “stage-gate” methodology or approach. It requires a team to think deeply about what success and failure means for an initiative.
Well, it’s over, and I’m beat.
Now, I have a ton to catch up with that I’ve slightly neglected over the course of the weekend, but the conference was well worth it.
I’ll do a few posts here and there about some interesting points that the speakers have made:
Darrel Rhea: CEO/Principal, Cheskin. Talked about growth models: M&A, Operational/Profit-focused, and Organic. Organic growth models are rewarded disproportionately high by Wall St. Innovation through structured means contributes sizably to organic growth more than any other means.
Inquiry requires a deep and nuanced understanding of users. In companies such as coca-cola, the inquiry might need to be as broad a demographic as “all water drinkers in the world”.
He also talked about a spectrum of user needs and motivations from economic to meaningful, which he describes further in his book, Making Meaning. “Meaning is a framework for what matters most”
Finally, he had a slide with his continuum of design and structured inquiry, and saw its evolution in the marketplace, from Practice to Management, and finally, to Leadership.
This “trick your customer” affair would make Seth Godin vomit.
As reported by Consumerist a while back, a “secret” intranet-only kiosk was placed in the Best Buy stores in order to deceive customers who tried to check product prices.
Here’s the typical use: buyer would be sitting at home on the internet, check a product on Best Buy’s site, and perhaps decide to come into the store to see it in person before making a purchase. The price in the store, they’d find, was a little higher than the price online. The customer talks to a Best Buy service rep, and is pointed to a kiosk to check the price “online”. The kiosk shows results that look just like the Best Buy website, but are not the online prices, they are the store prices or higher. And the service rep deliberately lies and tells the customer “The price must have increased since you left home”.
OK. Not only is this tactic rude and contemptible, but it’s just plain boneheaded. We’re living in a world when $300 web enabled phones and a plethora of web apps abound to let people know the truth.
Seemingly, this could go a couple of ways. Now that Best Buy has been vilified by the press (and by me, I suppose), it creates an opportunity for them to be the “good guys” moving forward. Best Buy could be the purveyor of all tangible electronic goods– People who are kinesthetic and need to feel and experience things before purchasing them might flock to Best Buy if they promised the same prices as online, or had transparent pricing. Maybe their customer service agents would have to prove that they are adding value to the customer, and if the customer felt like they were treated well AND wanted the product at that minute, they would buy it from the store. Otherwise, they’d go to the store and place the order online from the store. A win for both retailer and consumer: Best Buy keeps less stock in the store, and consumers get exactly what they want when they want it.
So, you’re the person in charge of all BB retail operations. What would you do? If your answer is: “Add a Disclaimer to the Secret Website“, you’re way off..
This week promises to be a hectic one. Apart from our distinguished prof, Chuck Owens being in New Zealand while our systems class races forward to complete “function structures,” make sure that our “defining statements” are right, and we’re on track to come up with a plan to reform health care. Okay, if you don’t understand this ID structured planning jargon, I apologize.
But, this is easy to understand. This week brings the much awaited Design Research Conference (formerly About, With & For) to Chicago. The venue this year is the Museum of Contemporary Art, the same place that the Strategy Conference was held in the spring.
The speakers lineup is stellar this year, I can hardly wait for the end of the week!
If you’re in Chicago, you have no excuse not to attend, to meet other innovation planning professionals and listen to these luminaries speak: