Have you ever been given a physical tool to help you complete a task when what you really needed was information or support?
Imagine the junk drawer. Do you really need to purchase a fancy divider to organize your junk? Or to download an app to track which junk is where? Or would you benefit more from Marie Kondo or a life / clutter coach?
It’s easy to design a product or service that meets user needs – but through the tunnel vision and format that fits the background and expertise of the designer. Yet we all want to be the best stewards of the end user. Using a systems design and management approach will help you and your company drive meaningful and successful experiences into the lives of customers and end users, devoid of any one discipline’s expertise.
Successful solutions are “Desirable, Viable, and Feasible”. Since you are likely reading this because you believe in human-centered design – let’s agree that the process begins with the user - the inspiration for design and the enabler to the viability of the business. With this in mind, the following is an overview of 10 steps in a systems design and management process that will enable you to design the most meaningful solutions for the people who will use them and successful solutions for your company.
1. Holistic design team
With an approved project in place, identify a creative team that together represents the whole system including experts in the design of physical products, digital products, services and business models. The whole team should be involved in each step, with the expert taking the heavier role at the appropriate time to keep expertise front and center, yet a consistently balanced and holistic view.
2. Find the opportunity
With this diverse team, identify prioritized user needs and / or pain points and which are most important. Map out the market forces to understand how you are competing in the industry as a business. With that all in mind, confirm or reframe your problem or opportunity statement so you know you will be chasing the right problems and opportunities.
3. Map the experience
Explore how you might address desirability by mapping the current user experience. Then transition to imagining various ideal future state experiences to highlight and structure promising new approaches. These should be macro view experiences, not super detailed. These experience approaches should address user needs as absent of format (physical, digital, service) as possible.
4. Business models
If the project allows for considering new business models, explore business models that inspire new ways to address both the needs of users and alternate approaches to be a winning force in the marketplace. This will ensure you are thinking big early and provide the context in which potential product or service solutions may live. If a new business model is not an option, then the existing business model will serve as the structure for product and service solutions to come.
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