¿Que ocurre cuando juntas a cuatro amigos enamorados por el B2B? Pues que surgen conversaciones muy interesantes. Si encima el reto es compartir experiencias relacionadas con la #internacionalizacion , surge la magia.
Recojo algunas de las ideas de esa sesión, donde aprendí muchísimo con vosotros:
LA INTERNACIONALIZACIÓN Y EL B2B:
El B2B es “sexy” con casos de uso atómicos, aunque tenga peor prensa o sea más desconocido que el B2C.
Todo es global, la internacionalización no es una opción sino un hecho: clientes, proveedores, mercado de talento, procesos, herramientas, tecnología,… todo funciona a escala internacional.
El CLIENTE EN EL CENTRO:
La importancia de poner al cliente en el centro desde la propia conceptualización del producto con R&D. Que la fábrica vaya a visitar a los clientes con Ventas y observe el producto siendo utilizado en la realidad.
La sensibilidad local de Marketing y Ventas es fundamental, son actividades que no se pueden hacer desde un centro de excelencia a kilómetros de distancia del cliente.
Tener en cuenta a las fuerzas comerciales locales desde el diseño del producto en fases tempranas, porque son las que conocen al cliente.
En B2B típicamente conocemos la identidad de nuestro comprador más allá de un “buyer persona” genérico, y eso es una ventaja a la hora de formular la propuesta de valor.
Las startups como ejemplo de empresas nativas globales: su mercado es el mundo, porque buscan no geografías sino oportunidades para sus casos de uso y masa crítica, y tienen la opción de desembarcar sin un complejo despliegue de recursos y entrar y salir de ciertos países con cierta agilidad.
La mentalidad española en entornos complejos de gran incertidumbre funciona muy bien.
LA COMPONENTE LOCAL:
El caso de uso en B2B es típicamente bastante más local que en el mundo B2C, porque los procesos industriales y empresariales tienen una componente local muy importante.
El proceso de compra varía según geografías: en algunos países es muy lineal (un embudo de conversión), en otros más iterativo (una rueda).
La ventaja en Europa de entender la diversidad. Llevamos décadas teniendo en cuenta cómo es trabajar en mercados con marcos regulatorios diferentes, idiomas distintos, usos y costumbres diversos.
Los procesos de compras en B2B se ven afectados por los hábitos de compra en B2C, porque nos hemos acostumbrado como usuarios al “best-in-class” del mundo Retail y buscamos esos niveles de servicio en B2B.
La Venta se sustenta sobre muchos otros procesos en el back: compras de materias primas, manufacturing, supply chain,… y las roturas de las cadenas de suministros en el pasado reciente así lo demuestran. Cada vez el proceso de venta es más tecnológico y depende de muchos actores para poder ejecutarse.
Oportunidad de transformación digital en operaciones, la gestión de la información y el apoyo de los procesos operativos a través de herramientas de inteligencia artificial.
La importancia de la medición, que el producto o servicio en operación genere datos y tengamos claro el modelo de explotación de ese dato.
Orquestar código con soluciones low-code y no-code.
Innovación abierta y colaboración con start-ups.
Skin in the game.
Las grandes gestas empresariales han ocurrido en épocas complicadas económicamente.
La empresa ambidiestra: exploración y explotación.
Incentivos generan comportamientos.
Matriz Real-Win-Worth: “Is it Real, can we Win, is it Worth?”.
«I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew). Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who. I send them over land and sea, I send them East and West; But after they have worked for me, I give them all a rest.»
Whenever we are working in an Innovative initiative ⚡️, we normally have more questions than answers.
Some large German companies place such a high value on powerful questions that they actually employ a ‘Direktor Grundsatzfragen’ – a Director of Fundamental Questions.
Everyone has #cognitive biases. It is impossible to scape from them as they are anchored deeply in our brain operating system. But getting to know them, helps you navigating and trying to avoid them as much as possible.
When working in #Innovation ⭐️ , there are some which are specially painfull:
👉 Confirmation bias: the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values.
👉 Availability bias: the human tendency to think that examples of things that come readily to mind are more representative than is actually the case.
👉 Anchoring: the tendency to rely too heavily, or “anchor”, on one trait or piece of information when making decisions (usually the first piece of information acquired on that subject).
When working in Innovation, a common question you frequently ask yourself is what trends will stay and which ones will slowly fade away. That way you can assess whether investing in something is worth or you should think on the next big thing.
This question also applies for example to you personal investing decision: should I buy a flat in that city so I can expect renting fees to raise as it becomes more popular? should I buy Bitcoins as more people will be willing to buy them next year?
A mental model that I like very much that I discovered when reading “Antifragile” from Nassim Thaleb is “The Lindy Effect”. According to that model, the way to better predict if some trend will stay is looking for how long it has been around. For example, if “Let it be” from The Beatles has been a great success for many generations, chances are high that it will continue to stay with us for many more years to come, while the latest hit from Dua Lipa could eventually be lost in our memory the very next year.
That doesn’t mean that new things are never successful. The truth is that progress replaces technologies from the past as new more effective and efficient solutions are put in place. Think for example about Hyperloop (the ultra-high-speed ground transportation system for passenger and cargo proposed as a concept by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX). Chances are high that it will sooner than later become a winner way of transportation, but if you think about the fundamental concept behind it is that it is a train. Not a regular train but a very sophisticated one, but fundamentally it is a train. And trains have been around us since Richard Trevithick invented it in Cornwall in 1804.
I would love to read your thoughts on how you manage your “crystal ball” when traying to identify emerging trends. Do you believe in the “Lindy Effect”?
Human mind is amazing. Our cognitive skills are out of this world, but we have an issue. Whenever we try to assess a challenge or an opportunity, quite frequently we get in love with our initial thought about it and “anchor” ourselves to this initial idea that came to our mind when we started discussing the topic.
Edward de Bono, the father of “lateral thinking”, created a framework to systematically analyze opportunities and challenges with a structured process to ensure that we take into consideration every perspective. It was called “Six Thinking Hats”.
The premise of the method is to challenge our way of thinking sequentially, to bring into conscious thought every aspect of the topic under discussion.
Blue hat – The “big picture”
White hat – Information and hard facts
Red hat – The feelings and emotions
Black hat – The negative perspective
Yellow hat – The positive perspective
Green hat – The world of the new ideas
The key to a successful Six Thinking Hats session is focusing the discussion on a particular mental mode (symbolized by the color of the hat) at any time. The order when using the different hats depends on the nature of the discussion. A quite effective one could be the one that would lead to exploring the challenge, developing several potential solutions and agreeing on a decision.
Blue (understand the topic) –> Red (capture feeling and emotions) –> Green (explore potential solutions) –> White (discuss hard facts and assumptions) –> Yellow (capture pros) –> Black (capture cons).
The beauty of this method is that because everyone is focused on a mental mood at any one time, the group tends to be more collaborative.
Have you tried this technique when discussing a new opportunity or challenge? What was your experience? I have been practicing it during the summer break with great success and I’m planning to do it more frequently in the months to come. By the way, if you have kids it works fantastic with them.
Those are the two feelings that I have when thinking about the last four years in Iberia Airlines that I’m now closing.
It is curious how life makes “connecting the dots” easy in retrospective and how difficult it is to do it when looking to the future.
How I fell in love with airlines…
It was June 1991 and a twelve years old Alberto was flying for the very first time ever in a huge American Airlines 767 from Madrid to Dallas. I was alone, on my way to an exchange with a family to improve my very limited English language at that time. The feeling of flying was amazing, and I was writing down every single detail of my customer journey in a notebook: noticing how the flaps were moving, the noise of the engines, all the menu and inflight entertainment details. If I only had known that 30 years later I would be responsible for designing that journey for Iberia 😉
The route map that the captain gave me when arriving to Dallas as they noticed that I was paying so much attention to everything happening in the aircraft:
My notebook full of comments about what I was experiencing up in the air:
Fast forward to Iberia…
Back in 2018 I decided to transition from a wonderful role at 3M creating value by delivering new innovative products in B2B industries in West Europe, and embrace a new venture project at Iberia Airlines. I had a conversation with Gabriel Perdiguero and Nacho Tovar where they told me how Iberia was managing a sound transition and becoming a fully digitally connected airline. That really blew my mind and I can never be grateful enough for it.
I had no experience in the airlines industry apart from flying more than 25% of my work life time, but it was very obvious for me that the mission was going to be a step-change in terms of participating in a very ambitious transformational B2C initiative in one of the most complex business that I have ever experienced.
We had to build an Innovation powerhouse, embracing the vast amount of knowledge and expertise that the very talented Iberia employees had, and helping the organization prepare for a new world in which Digital was the new enabler to deliver high customized valuable experiences to our customers.
Managing the Incremental Innovation and Service Design practice, followed by managing Digital Customer Experience afterwards, gave me the opportunity to interact with more than 300 professionals, learning so much from every one of them.
Somehow, I was closing the loop that I had started 30 years before, and the little boy travelling alone to the US, was now a “forty-something” professional doing his best to prepare Iberia for a digital future.
And then, disruption came…
At the beginning, it was just some news from China and Italy. We thought we would be suffering a couple of months and then everything would be back to normal and we could recover our roadmap ahead. We were soooooo wrong !!!
These last 2 years dealing with the pandemic have been among the most challenging professional years that I have ever experienced. “Transformation” was not only a strategic desire but a necessity. Changing the services, adapting them to the new reality, making them work under very severe operational restrictions, discovering the new pains that our customers had,… I can’t really think of a period of time where the whole World was so much upside-down, and airlines were absolutely disrupted.
The good news was that we had progressed so much in terms of preparedness. All the internal digitalization that we had just went through made easier for us to adapt to the new ways of working, and we could leverage on some key digital assets to better serve our customers.
We had also built a high performing team, combining the talent that existed before and some new people that brought new ways of doing business and a solid customer-centric vision.
So all together, I think these last 2 years have been very stressful, strange and uncertain, but I also think that were the ones that have produced a bigger learning both personally and professionally not only to myself but to all of us. We are now stronger, and wiser, and we are better prepared.
Cross-check complete, and prepare for departure:
And now that the most sever part of the crisis is over and after these amazing 4 years at Iberia, I believe the cycle has come to an end. I have enjoyed participating in building the Transformation unit from the ground, creating a talented team of Service Designers, handing-over to my team most of what I know about change management and preparing for the future.
The whole industry has bottomed and it is now time for recovery and growth, and I’m totally convinced that in 2022 and 2023 we will see outstanding digitalization initiatives in Iberia, managed by my former team and the new talent that they will for sure incorporate. They have the skills, they have the attitude and they have a great roadmap ahead.
I’m now moving to a new industry, where I’ll bring everything that I know, and where digital change management is also so much needed. Servant leadership is a key element of my personal and professional toolkit, and I’m looking forward to helping again an organization full of talent, in a pivotal situation like the one Iberia was back in 2018.
Every time I’ll see a “bird” with a red and yellow tail above my head it will bring me memories of the outstanding experience with Iberia and the joy I had working there. And it will remind me the marvelous friends that I made, and how we dreamt together about transforming the industry.
Hace unos días un buen amigo me preguntó si tenía algún libro interesante sobre “Behavioral Economics”.
“¿Solo uno?” le pregunté. “Tengo muchos, es un asunto que me fascina”.
Acudí a la estantería, y aproveché para ordenar todas las baldas con libros que he utilizado en mi vida profesional. Encontré alguna joyita que ya no recordaba, y rescaté algún otro que tenía pendiente de leer.
Charlie Munger, Bill Gates, Elon Musk y muchos otros referentes en el mundo de la empresa hablan de que el mejor tiempo invertido para desarrollar su visión del mundo, es el tiempo dedicado a la lectura. No puedo estar más de acuerdo y, junto con la escritura, es una de las actividades que más me han ayudado siempre en el desarrollo del pensamiento estratégico.
He intentado en varias ocasiones pasarme al formato digital, pero por algún motivo en los libros técnicos y de ensayo, sigo necesitando de ese ritual de pasar las páginas de papel, marcarlas, avanzar y volver atrás para relacionar varias ideas,…
Además, visualizar la estantería con los libros más o menos categorizados, me ayuda de alguna manera a ordenar mi pensamiento. Puedo valorar si en la última época mi lectura ha estado descompensada, o qué asuntos me han ocupado la cabeza con mayor frecuencia en el pasado reciente.
Hubo además una temporada en la que me agobiaba tener libros sin leer, hasta que este post de “The New York Times “ me llevó a la lectura de “Why You Should Surround Yourself With More Books Than You’ll Ever Have Time to Read”, donde se explica la fascinación de Nassim Thaleb por lo que él llama “Antibibliotecas”. Thaleb pone el ejemplo de Umberto Ecco, poseedor de una biblioteca de más de 30.000 tomos, de inalcanzable lectura en el tiempo material que tiene una vida humana. El valor de esa colección no reside tanto en los libros leídos como en la ingente cantidad de conocimiento potencial de la que Ecco podía hacer uso en un momento dado, en su “potencialidad”.
Y es que los libros que pueblan nuestras estanterías hablan directamente de quiénes somos, de cuáles son nuestros intereses y motivaciones. Es como un retrato robot en el que a través de nuestros referentes de lectura, expresamos cuál es nuestra visión del mundo.
Volviendo a mi pequeña biblioteca y con mi mente de ingeniero, traté con más o menos fortuna de clasificar los libros de acuerdo a temáticas. La verdad es que me resultó algo complejo. ¿Cuál es la diferencia entre Diseño de Productos, Diseño de Servicios, Marketing, Economía, Gestión de personas, Psicología, Sociología,…?
Al final, con alguna dificultad, traté de establecer varias temáticas, de la que voy a realizar una pequeña explicación de la importancia de los 3 títulos por categoría que más me han ayudado:
Behavioral Economics / Toma de decisiones / Teoría del Comportamiento:
“Thinking fast & slow” de Daniel Kahneman: se ha convertido en mainstream absoluto, pero creo que ha cumplido la misión de acercar el Behavioral Economics a un público muy amplio.
“Micromotives and Macrobehavior” de Schelling: me encanta por lo bien que explica cómo fenómenos relativamente pequeños, escalan y tienen impacto absolutamente descomunal cuando se los estudia a nivel agregado.
“Blink. The power of thinking without thinking” de Gladwell: creo que fue el primero de sus libros que cayó en mis manos, y me parece asombrosa su capacidad narrativa para explicar los sesgos cognitivos que operan en nuestro subconsciente.
Economía / Mercados:
“A random walk down Wall Street” de Burton Malkiel: me lo aconsejó un amigo cuanto empecé a coquetear con el mercado bursátil, y me encantó su forma de explicar las inversiones pasivas.
“Contabilidad y finanzas para no financieros” de Oriol Amat: gracias a él dejé de sufrir en el MBA en clases de Contabilidad y aprendí a disfrutar desgranando los balances 😉.
“The world is flat” de Thomas Friedman: me puso sobre la pista sobre lo que con posterioridad acabaría denominándose el fenómeno de la “globalización”.
“The tipping point” de Gladwell: explica de forma muy amena cómo algunos fenómenos entran en fase de aceleración y efecto de “bola de nieve” tras alcanzar una cierta masa crítica.
“Creativity” de Ed Catmull: cuenta con detalle cómo Pixar Animation Studios gestionaba el proceso creativo, y es fundamental para aquellos que creen que la inspiración les debe de pillar trabajando.
“The innovator’s dilemma” de Clayton Christensen: fue el primero en el que vi explicada la diferencia entre los procesos de innovación incrementales y la innovación disruptiva.
“This is service design doing” de Stickdorn, Hormess, Lawrence y Schneider: una de las mejores guías con un marcado enfoque práctico para aquellos que se dedican al diseño de servicios.
“Universal principles of design” de William Lichwell: una lectura deliciosa para comprender aquellos principios fundamentales en el diseño y la usabilidad, de aplicación inmediata en procesos de creación de objetos ó servicios.
“Designpedia” de Juan Gasca y Rafa Zaragozá: una guía con herramientas ampliamente utilizadas en investigación y prototipado de nuevos productos y servicios, en la que participé con algún ejemplo de mi paso por 3M.
“Gamestorming” de Gray, Brown y Macanufo: me gusta mucho su enfoque eminentemente lúdico a la generación de ideas en entornos empresariales, con numerosas actividades propuestas en función de objetivos muy específicos.
“Visual meetings” de David Sibbet: fue la primera vez que escuché de la facilitación gráfica y la toma de notas visuales aplicada a documentar sesiones de trabajo o conferencias.
“LEGO Serious Play facilitation guide”: un pequeño manual que conseguí tras haber asistido, completamente asombrado, a una sesión de diseño estratégico de marcas a través de la metodología de LEGO.
“El arte de presentar” de Gonzalo Álvarez Marañón: una guía práctica con multitud de consejos a la hora de preparar, documentar y ejecutar una presentación.
“Resonate” de Nancy Duarte: un libro indispensable para entender cómo funcionan las estructuras narrativas de mayor impacto en la comunicación de negocios.
“La comunicación no verbal” de Flora Davis: un clásico de los años 70 que explica con detalle cómo ser capaces de extraer información de las iteraciones personales a través del lenguaje no verbal.
“The dip” de Seth Godin: un ensayo de uno de los escritores que más admiro en el mundo del Marketing sobre cómo saber si merece la pena seguir adelante con una iniciativa de negocio o es mejor re-enfocar los esfuerzos.
“The corporate personality” de Wally Olins: un manual clásico elaborado por una de las personalidades más relevantes en el mundo del Branding sobre cómo diseñar y ejecutar iniciativas de marca corporativa.
“Positioning” de Al Ries y Jack Trout: un volumen dedicado a la práctica del posicionamiento de una marca en la mente del consumidor, un concepto tremendamente sencillo y al mismo tiempo tan complejo de ejecutar.
“The inner game of tennis” de Timothy Gallwey: antes de que la fiebre del “coaching” se extendiera en el mundo empresarial, este libro reflexionaba sobre lo que lleva a los atletas de primer nivel a alcanzar un grado de preparación mental que les permita gestas sobrehumanas.
“Good strategy, bad strategy” de Rumelt: quizá el mejor ensayo que he conocido sobre Estrategia Corporativa y cómo establecer un plan de acción para ejecutarla. Para aquellos que confunden establecer objetivos con definir estrategias.
“Managing for the future” de Peter Drucker: soy un verdadero apasionado de la obra del pensador austríaco, pero me gusta especialmente este libro que resulta plenamente actual a pesar de ser ya un clásico, porque resume muy bien cómo desarrollar una cultura de pensamiento estratégico que permita prepararse para entornos de alta incertidumbre.
Decía Ralph Waldo Emerson que “en muchas ocasiones la lectura de un libro ha hecho la fortuna de un hombre, decidiendo el curso de su vida”. Revisitar mi pequeña y humilde biblioteca empresarial a raíz de la pregunta de mi amigo, ha sido un verdadero placer. Más de 150 volúmenes que representan las disciplinas a las que me he dedicado y los principios de gestión en los que creo.
¿Qué otros libros recomendarías incorporar a la mesilla de noche de aquel que se dedica al diseño de productos y servicios?… espero con mucho interés los comentarios.
“Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses, especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”
Leonardo Da Vinci
I was convinced that I would become an Architect since I was little. I loved how they created beautiful structures with a strong purpose out of nothing, just from the ground.
But my father was an architect and he advised me that in Spain, the construction bubble would eventually explode and working as an architect wouldn’t be great anymore. So I studied Industrial Engineering, joining the club of the “frustrated architects”. 😉
But, hey, hold on !!! I soon discovered that as an Engineer, I could work as a Business Consultant, which is a mixture of a Doctor and an Architect, diagnosing where the issues in a company came from and how to build processes, organizations and tools that eventually could make things get better for those corporations.
Just talking about Architecture, I remember my father saying that the most complicated work when building is designing effective joints. No matter how well designed your construction is, if you are not able to plan successful joints between different elements of the building, soon water would penetrate, or cracking on the surface would happen.
And the same principle applies to many other areas in life:
Athletes often get their joints injured (e.g. knee, elbow, wrist, ankle).
Oxidation always happens first on the welding area of two metal sections.
Transmission bands were among the first severe damages in old cars.
Water always becomes turbulent when two streams join (e.g. two rivers).
Infections penetrate through open wounds.
Same as in life, any business is also affected by the laws of physics. Areas where two colliding forces join, are always the weakest:
Strategy execution often fails when middle management is not skilled, knowledgeable or empowered to transmit the vision from C-level to the workforce.
In mergers and acquisitions, when two different business cultures collide, chances are high that the new corporation won’t end up beautifully.
Silos and divisions between different business units are normally driving overall corporate failure.
Integrations and interfaces are the weakest elements in any IT systems project.
In these circumstances, I’ve always seen Innovators as “architects building bridges and removing borders”. They connect the dots, they make people from different disciplines work together, they hack siloed cultures, they break barriers, they bring together knowledge from different areas, they connect with the external ecosystem, they remove friction here and there.
Most of the worldwide challenges ahead are also a matter of how to manage potentially painful transitions, how to remove borders and build effective joins or elegant bridges. COVID has accelerated many paradigmatic changes, but underlying issue of how to solve transitions is still there:
Energetic Transition is about how to make affordable and plausible the renewable sources while avoiding a sharp decline in traditional energies that could damage economies and leave them without time to adapt to the new normal.
Autonomous vehicles biggest challenge is how to make standard cars and unmanned automobiles coexist while the transition happens.
Hybrid workplaces and new ways of working success will very much depend on how effective connection and collaboration between colleagues is wired.
Successful companies will be those that will manage change by embracing ecosystems (customers, suppliers, distributors, competitors, government agencies,…), building bridges between different geographies, teams and cultures.
The innovators will be the new “Chief Architect Officers”, but instead of using bricks and mortar, they will use knowledge and talent.
“Alberto, what do you think about the current war for talent?” a good friend asked to me.
Wow, that’s a big topic and I’m afraid although I have hired, trained and coached many talented teams in my life, I would only have a partial view on it. So, what I proposed him instead, was that I would approach his question from within my area of expertise:
1. I would start a series describing the skills and mindset needed for several roles where I have expertise on. The first post was about becoming a “Marketing Hero”. Today I’ll be touching on what’s needed to be a great “Service Designer”, and soon I’ll be reflecting on how to become an excellent “Product Manager”.
2. I would then try to close the loop by describing how a team of Marketers, Service Designers and Product Managers would address the global talent issue if they were responsible for it.
So, let’s talk today about “Service Design”:
Service Design sits within the fundamental architecture of a company
Service Design is not a function, a role or a department. It is ultimately a collective team sport where small decisions taken by many stakeholders within a company result in an experience for customers interacting with that corporation.
Eventually, in any organization, you will see there is a “Customer Experience” unit, or a “Service Design” team. Although they will play a fundamental role in shaping how a product or service is delivered to customers, the real experience that they will enjoy or suffer will very much depend on a wider stakeholders footprint. From the training that front line agents interacting with customers had, to how the payment process was wired or how human resources hired employees, all those activities will have a fundamental influence on the service the customer experiences.
So, what is exactly Service Design?
A service is something that your company provides to a customer to deliver value. It very often includes a core product/service which is the fundamental element of the value proposition, but has many “satellite value drivers” as great usability, streamlined payment options, excellent delivery, outstanding customer care support, fabulous onboarding, …
A first challenge that companies face when crafting a new service proposal is that they need to reflect on a few topics:
· Who are the customers (customer base)?
· What are the core needs from those customers (pains/gains)?
· How those customers would like to engage with my service (channels)?
On top of that, services are made of things that customers experiment themselves, but they are also supported by a huge amount of processes that are just below the tip of the iceberg.
In this circumstances, Service Designers are the professionals at the cornerstone of service definition, from the pure customer experience perspective as well as how the company craft such a value proposition and deliver it to the customer in an efficient and effective way.
Service Design is responsible for the overall end-to-end experience that customers have over time, where bites of value are delivered along their journey.
You never start with an empty white sheet
Unless you are launching a company from scratch, chances are high that Service Design practice must be adaptative, playing with the existing assets and processes that the company already has.
Whenever we start thinking about how to deliver as product or service, several decisions have been made already in the company, from the organizational chart, to budget allocation or strategic initiatives definition or the culture style. All of them have a massive influence in which services can be delivered, how they are offered, and the value customers can get out of them.
Although this is quite frustrating for inexperience service designers, having some kind of restrictions very often is a nudge to creativity and great service designers embrace them as an advantage.
What are the building blocks of a Service?
There are five elements that define a service:
1. The “Core” Service: this is what we as a company offer, the technical characteristics of our service, the price and commercial conditions, the range,… In my view, it has three fundamental elements that a great Service Designer should address:
· Value proposition: how our service relates to addressing the pains that the customer has or the uplift in the gains that the customer can get by using our service. (e.g. in an airline it would be for example the flight schedule or the seat comfort).
· Quality / Reliability: how solid our service performs, how strong our reputation is, why customers should work with us. (e.g. in an airline, the punctuality).
· Customization: how customers can embrace our service, plugging it within an existing routine, customize it to make the most out of it. (e.g. in an airline, the flexibility to change the flight).
2. The “Delivery”: this is about how our service arrives to the customer, and very often has a more relevant impact than the core service itself.
· Speed: how effective we are delivering the service where and when the customer needs it. (e.g. in an airline, how streamlined the checkin at the airport is).
· Usability / Accessibility: how easy it is for customers to interact with our company and get access to our services (e.g. in an airline, how easy it is to book a flight in the website).
· Friendliness: how we let customers feel when exposed to our services (e.g. in an airline, how responsive customer-facing staff is).
3. The “Processes”: services do not happen “out of the blue”. There is a massive work to be done around creating an operative model that supports the value delivery.
· Technology: which technological tools we use to operate the service (e.g. in an airline, the booking management tool).
· Governance: how different departments interact along the customer journey (e.g. in an airline, how Handling suppliers and Ground operations work together).
· Data: how customer information is shared among different business units to support a consistent experience (e.g. in an airline, the Customer Relationship Management CRM tool).
4. The “Support”: no matter how strong the service design is, disruption will happen sooner than later. Internally generated disruptions are normally easier to control and manage (e.g. internal systems degradation), but there are hundreds of potential external phenomena that can impact how our service operates (e.g. weather, regulatory changes…).
· Channels: which channels are we offering to our customers for attending them when in a disruption (e.g. in an airline, call centers, chatbots, online formularies, agents at the airport…).
· Response time: how fast we are reacting to the disruption and offering an alternative to our customers (e.g. in an airline, accommodating customers in an alternative flight).
· Empowerment: how easy can customers adapt the service to the new environmental conditions (e.g. in an airline, self-management tools to choose alternatives).
5. The “Ecosystem”: a company never operates in isolation. Competition and collaboration are the bread and butter of business, and that is great because it requires Service Designers to never stop innovating and envisioning what’s next.
· Competitors: not only the most obvious ones delivering similar services but also alternative ones competing for the same “share of wallet” (e.g. in an airline, other carriers or high-speed train providers).
· Partners: other corporations delivering services in adjacent territories from the customer point of view that could help us to craft superior services by merging complimentary value propositions (e.g. in an airline, hotel accommodation providers).
· Suppliers: other companies providing services that we can integrate within our core service definition (e.g. in an airline, inflight entertainment suppliers).
What tools do Service Designers use?
There are hundreds of tools that Service Designers can use, and I believe the most talented ones are great choosing from the whole toolkit, those tools that are more effective for the purpose. Although the service design process is iterative, there are some fundamental steps that are great to follow. The tools used for each step are slightly different, but ultimately oriented to designing the right things and designing things right:
· Researching: card sorting (organize content in a way that suits users’ mental models), empathy map (share key assumptions around user attitudes and behaviors), journey map (describe how the user interact with the service, throughout its touchpoints), personas (narrate the different types of users, based on clusters of behaviors and needs), stakeholders maps (identify the role of each stakeholder, and relation dynamics).
· Ideation: experience principles (identify a set of guiding principles to inspire the design of a specific service experience), brainstorming (first diverge and generate as many idea as you can, then converge around solid concepts), evaluation matrix (prioritize ideas based on the most relevant success criteria for the project).
· Prototyping: user scenarios (explain the envisioned experience by narrating a relevant story of use), user stories (detail the features that need to be developed in the form of user interactions), rough prototyping (quickly mock-up ideas using simple assets and materials, already available on the spot).
· Implementation: business model canvas (plan and understand in advance the business model and constraints of the service you are designing), value proposition canvas (describe the value offered by the service in simple words), service blueprint (map out the entire process of service delivery, above and below the line of visibility), service roadmap (plan the service execution over time, from a minimum set of functionalities to delivering the full experience), success metrics (define a set of KPI to measure the project outcomes and service success).
So what skillset is needed to become an outstanding Service Designer?
Well, we have covered what Service Design is, the building blocks of Service and the toolkit that designers should master. But what makes a great designer, orchestrating all of it together?
They need the capabilities to navigate the organization, diagnose the parts that are blocking a service meeting user needs, and collaboratively craft a strategy alongside domain experts on how to improve this and execute it fully.
Depending on their role within the organization (individual contributors, team leaders), the balance between different skills may vary. I would say although individuals could be spiky, teams should be well-rounded.
I will divide the skillset in four different clusters:
· Cognitive skills: The ability to leverage user feedback in all its forms (from casual conversations to formal research) to understand how customers engage with the service, make better decisions and drive meaningful outcomes to the business. Define an overall vision of the service that connects to the strategy of the company and deliver a clear roadmap of highly prioritized features that deliver against that vision.
( System thinker / Process orientation / Research pro / Financial literacy / User Centered Design / UX Fundamentals / UI Fundamentals / Problem Solving / Experimentation / Strategic vision / Bias free )
· Social skills: The ability to connect with customer needs, empathizing with their pains and gains and translating them into actionable and high impact service features. Proactively identify stakeholders and work with them building services that deliver meaningful business outcomes. Manage and mentor direct reports with the goal of enabling them to continuously improve against service design competencies.
( Facilitation / Empathy with users / Story telling / Stakeholders management / Mobilization across the organization / Team building )
· Technological skills: The ability to understand how technology can support crafting services with a strong and positive customer footprint while they improve overall operations within the company. Embrace Data as a key element of service continuous improvement.
( Technology acumen / Data literacy / Agile software development knowledge )
· Self-Management skills: The ability to understand and contribute to the overall business strategy, making the most out of the company assets and position Service Design as a fundamental workstream to survive under high volatility and ambiguity.
( Citizen of the world / Massive curiosity / Fast decision making / Growth mindset / Comfort with extreme ambiguity / Resilience / Results driven / Business outcome ownership )
Putting it all together
Well, who said that Service Design was easy? It is rare that you can find everything above in any single individual. I was lucky enough to work with a number of them during the last years, and when it happens, the progress made in an organization towards customer centricity is massive.
If you are lucky and find one of these “unicorns” ever, try as much as possible to keep it, support the development and create a cultural safe environment for them to flourish. Your customers will very much appreciate it 😉
* Effectiveness / Efficiency * Real / Win / Worth * Design the right things / Design things right * Value creation / Value delivery * Experimentation / Exploitation
Thanks a lot, Iztok, for challenging me with such though provoking questions
“Iztok, I love your new podcast series. You had an airline digital talk. Then you did an airline data talk. What’s next?”
This is what somebody asked me recently on LinkedIn. For me, the next step was obvious: next in line was an airline innovation talk.
Why an airline innovation talk? Because recently when I was thinking about innovative solutions, I started to think, where does innovation really happen? Can you point a finger at one department, one area in a company? Are innovation departments the solution?
In my opinion, innovation happens when you combine insights from different areas and different people: data and analytics, digital experience, UX/UI, experimentation, customer research, customer service, product design, etc. To do innovative things, one needs to know all these areas and understand how they fit together. You need to know how to leverage insights from these areas to understand your customer’s pain points and build innovative solutions to address those needs. And this is what marketing should be all about: how to provide value for your customers.
As I was thinking about all these things, I remembered a great post about marketing and innovation I read a while ago. The article was titled “Marketing Hero“, and it was written by Alberto Terol Conthe. So, the guest for our airline innovation talk was a no-brainer.
Airline Innovation Talk with Alberto Terol Conthe, Head of Customer Experience Design and Development at Iberia
Marketing (Value) + Innovation (Creation) = Value Creation
Alberto opened his article with one of my favorite quotes by Peter Drucker: “Business has only two basic functions, marketing and innovation.” So, my first question for him was, how do marketing and innovation fit together?
I always have thought that they are all together. I’m a marketeer. I started as a marketeer at 3M. Previously I was working in Accenture consultancy as well. But I would say my main business school was marketing, and then moving into innovation, I think they are very close fields. I tend to think marketing is about value, is about understanding customer needs. It is part of the discovery, the research, and understanding the pains and gains of the customer, and innovation is more about creation – bringing some new ways of doing things and new processes and new technologies.
If you put them all together – value creation, marketing, and innovation – they go so well together. It’s turning an idea based on some customer pain or gain into a solution and executing it and providing value from the customer perspective. So they go together. And I think the skills of good marketeers and good innovative people are quite similar. They are around curiosity, questioning everything, bringing the what and the how and the when and the why to every conversation.
Alberto mentioned that execution is an important element of marketing. Recognizing your customer pain points and figuring out innovative solutions is not enough.
I think a fundamental element, as well, of marketing and innovation is the execution. I have had a lot of discussions with certain designers and people from innovation like, “We created this beautiful PPT, and now it’s a matter of the execution team to execute.” My point is that unless a product or a service is crafted and then deployed into the market and it’s being consumed by a customer, there is no success at all. It’s just an idea.
In Successful Companies, Innovation Sits Very Close to the Business
The way Alberto talked about marketing and innovation made a lot of sense to me. But what I see in most companies, especially the big ones, is that marketing is still mostly about advertising – or, in the digital marketing case, it’s mostly about taking care of the website, ecommerce, and digital advertising. Why do we often see a separate innovation department?
I think marketing is very wide. My background is product marketing. You mentioned all the branding and channel management and stuff, and that’s part of marketing. But maybe what I would compare more between marketing and innovation is product management. There, I think it’s very close to each other.
Another example I would bring to you is that I think innovation teams in large companies sometimes are located in the HR people area because of all the change management needed and all the transformation efforts and so on. I think sometimes, very frequently – and I think nowadays even more frequently – they belong to the IT and technical organization, because it’s very much leveraging technology.
Alberto has recognized a pattern when it comes to innovative companies:
The examples I have seen as more successful normally are those in which these companies put the innovation function – the initial innovation function, because I think it has to embrace the whole organization – but let’s say the team mobilizing innovation from the very beginning sits very close to the business. Therefore, again, I see the link between marketing – which for me is value creation and value delivery, which is basically business – very much related to innovation.
Doing The Right Things Vs. Doing Things Right
One other part of Alberto’s article that I really liked was the distinction between two key areas of marketing. One is execution; Alberto calls it “doing things right.” The other part is more about forward-thinking, strategic foresight, and business modeling, and that’s what he calls “doing the right things.”
That’s a sentence [distinction] that we use very much in our service design team. I think both steps are needed. It reminds me a little bit of the Double Diamond in service design, the divergence and then the convergence. I think these two elements – designing the right thing, for me it belongs more to marketing. It’s discovering the underlying customer need, the pain, the job to be done, and so on. It’s designing the right thing.
Source: Alberto Terol Conthe (LinkedIn)
When it comes to figuring out what the right thing is, Alberto mentioned an interesting “Real, Win, Worth” framework.
In 3M we had a heuristic that we used very frequently in designing the right thing, which is Real, Win, Worth. Every time we wanted to address if an opportunity was worth it for 3M, we would first envision if it was real, if there was a market, if there was a customer pain or need to be addressed. Is this opportunity real? The second one was, can we win? Do we have the capabilities in our company to achieve a successful business out of this opportunity? And the third one would be worth. Is it worth it, or would it be so costly or I would have to hire talent that I don’t have? Okay, so there’s opportunity, we could potentially win it, but it’s not worth it. Or it would not support our strategy or whatever. So for me, that’s the designing the right thing – deciding what you’re going to design and what’s out of scope as well, which is also very important.
And then we moved into designing things right. There is more the world of service design, designing a product and service that matches those needs that you have discovered in the designing the right thing. It has much more to do with UX, UI, choosing the right platform for delivering that product or service, choosing the right partners. It’s more the delivery part of the value. You can be very strong in value creation, but you can be very poor in value delivery. Again, execution becomes fundamental in the second part. We always, as service designers, try to keep both areas balanced – designing the right things, choosing the right fights to fight, but then deciding something that was worth it for the customer and appealing.
Top-Down or Bottom-Up?
To me, this concept of doing the right things and doing things right was really interesting. My background, my experience, and also our Diggintravel Airline Digital Optimization research is more about doing things right – how to be agile, how to do growth marketing, how to do digital optimization and conversion optimization. But if you do systematic digital optimization right, with agile loops of analyzing customer needs, managing data, doing structured analytics, trying to find solutions and designing digital products to address those needs, you’re basically moving up to doing the right thing. So, I asked Alberto: how are these things connected?
It’s iterative. You could eventually start defining an arena that you want to fight for. That’s the design the right thing. Then you move into design things right, and then you discover that it’s impossible to deliver value in that field. Then you may decide to reassess if you are fighting for the right opportunity, or you could move into an adjacent opportunity or so on.
I think it’s an iterative process, and moreover, I think when you launch a product – and this is something we very often forget as service designers; we forget about the product when it’s being delivered. I think especially in those first weeks and months and even years after the launch, they should be in hyper-care, and we should be reconsidering every time, every week, following the KPIs, the metrics, and improving the product.
Alberto recognizes the value of applying the principles of experimentation and being agile to the overall business model and overall products, not just the digital side.
I had once a boss that always came with the question, “Are you 100% sure that this product will be successful?” I said, “Come on, I’m not, but this is the Pareto principle. I’m pretty sure that’s the case. I would say I’m 80% confident that it’s the right product for the right market segment. But let’s launch and let’s learn on the go and adjust and adapt.” So I’m very fond of experimentation and agile launching of new products. Otherwise, it’s paralysis by analysis.
Finding new solutions versus optimizing existing ones
A systematic loop of digital optimization is great for incremental improvement, but you have to know whether you’re optimizing the right things.
I think the other element – because you start with A/B testing and improving and these incremental improvements – the reason I was mentioning that designing the right thing is so important is because very often, especially these days, there’s obsession with efficiency. “We have to deliver efficiency gains.” My point is that there’s nothing so useless as doing something very efficiently which is not usable at all, or that we shouldn’t have done at all. We can be executing something beautifully, it’s very efficient, but there is no customer need or there is no market to be addressed. I think therefore we need to keep balance on both aspects.
But experimentation, rapid prototyping and so on – in fact, we had a discussion earlier this week about prototyping. We were discussing research and we want customer research in which we would envision what customers want for a specific product segment. My point was that customers would never come with a solution. That’s the job of the product owner, of the marketeer. Eventually, by prototyping and showing them some mockups, we can show them, “This is the size and the color and the shape that this would have. Are we working in the right direction, or is this something that doesn’t resonate with you at all?” I think all this rapid experimentation makes perfect sense with any product launch.
Source: Visual Summary of “Testing Business Ideas” by David J Bland and Alex Osterwalder
Innovation Is More About Attitude and Culture Than It Is About Skills
One of the key insights Alberto shared in our airline innovation talk was in regard to his key learnings. The first thing he mentioned was attitude:
I thought that innovation was more about skills. I think over the years, I’m discovering that it’s far more about attitude. That’s the approach when I’ve been hiring marketeers in 3M, or now service designers at Iberia: bringing people with curiosity, with this sense of observation, with customer obsession – and when I say customer obsession, it’s spending a lot of hours with customers, interacting with them. Not focus groups, which is a controlled environment, but observing customers dealing with our products and services.
Then Alberto mentioned another interesting aspect of innovation and culture.
I would say another totally different topic which is relevant for progressing with innovation in companies is how managers get measured. Maybe in the vision statement in a company, it says that “we would like to be the most innovative.” Okay, let’s go into the KPIs that managers are using. Are they being measured by the business as usual or by exploring the next big thing? Very often, that tells you the culture of innovation which is happening in the company.
I mentioned culture. For example, something I loved about the American approach to innovation – and I experienced that in 3M, but I’ve been talking with friends from HP, Salesforce – I think in American corporations, there’s emotional safety within the teams for putting some time for exploring and trying to discover things out of business as usual. The famous rule of the 15%. There are many different mechanisms for making the teams work on something which is enriching the total knowledge within the company, and they can openly share their findings, and mistakes are allowed and so on. That cultural aspect is fundamental as well.