Businesses are re-discovering the customer! After years of inward focussed, efficiency driven business doing, where the bottom line was a result of a business’ savviness, rather than of customers’ engagement, the focus now is shifting. With companies like Apple and Nike thriving on the dedication of their devoted and happy-spending customers, others want to follow suit. The question remains how to grow a customer base as loyal and motivated as the one of Apple: loyalty is not enough, customers also need to spent and motivate others to do the same! …
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How can we prove that an investment in design correlates, or even causes, an increase in stock value? Marty Neumeier recently tweeted: „It seems to me that design investment is a leading indicator of higher profit margins and stock prices. Need to prove!“
Organizations are not that different from us, human beings: both are organisms that – as long as they are nourished properly – can survive for a substantial amount of time. Likewise, if you want to make them more attractive, you dress them up; if you want to put them in a competition, you make sure they are lean and fit; and if you want them to be happy, you make sure that they have a purpose.
As there was something important to discus, my colleague took me „to catch some fresh air“: for me it was just fresh air, for him the same, but compounded with the heavy fume of a filterless Gauloises.
Soon after we had reached the terrace, the smoke started to penetrate in small cloudlets from his nose and mouth: the clear predictor of an imminent eruption!
Amongst mankind’s great achievements you will find great inventions like the wheel, the boat or the water closet. Not hard to imagine where civilization would be without these… Most of these inventions are by now taken for granted: we don’t even bother to imagine how the world would be without them.
What a surprise! Just when he was ready to pay the customer took a final glance at the bill and noticed that the prices changed: not the 21 euro for the main dish, but 32,50; not the 9,50 for the dessert, but 15,80… Upon inquiring why the difference, he got a straight answer back – „the kitchen crew needed more time than planned and that’s why the the costs have increased!“
As expected it came up right away: a call for strickt separation of what is regarded as life (privat), and what is regarded as work (vocational). As a reaction to my request to the audience – to reflect their level of customer centricity between ‚zero‘ and ‚full‘ on a graph – somebody wanted to know if she had to reflect her opinion, or the one of her employer: because that would be quite a difference!
Did you never wonder why we have our eyes right next to each other and not, for example, one above the other, or one at the front and one at the back? The parallel arrangement obviously is evolution’s favorite. This genetically preferred eye-array has therefore influenced our behavior and the way we look at things: predominantly with a strong focus. That’s why we laugh at „Johnny Head-in-the-Air“, when he runs into a sign post or misses a turn, and regret the cow that doesn’t seem to notice the butcher right in front of her. We forced to take close notice of what is around us, and those who didn’t were eaten by predators and hence eliminated from our gene pool.
Our world is a system that contains many sub-systems: the oceans, the forests, the climate – all are complex, fragile and well calibrated organisms with a system character. If one of the parts is not running well, the others will suffer as well: one weak spot will influences the overall performance. Systems can repair themselves, once they are not running well – unless the weak spot is getting larger than the self-curing ability of the parts involved. Then the whole system can collapse: system failures are the most wicked problems around us.
Design came a long way: whereas in the beginning it had a focus on ‘shaping’ artifacts, objects and communication means, it eventually turned to products, thereafter software, services and nowadays to complete experiences. To conclude this process of dissolving into the immaterial, design now turns to the thinking! Design Thinking is design’s new top-notch discipline. The ‘designing’ happens solely inside the brain and therefore it’s solutions are (mainly) thoughts. Means that design is now also accessible to those who are all thumbs – provided that the brain involved can support the required thinking…