Design Thinking Process

2 simple steps to build products that people will love

Most products fail because we waste needless time, money, and effort building the wrong product — something nobody wants.We need to embrace the fact that customers are significantly different than ever before.
2 simple steps to build products that people will love 1

Most products fail because we waste needless time, money, and effort building the wrong product — something nobody wants.

We need to embrace the fact that customers are significantly different than ever before.

Today, products are delivered via the internet, which has led to a dramatic shift in how people consume, demand, and interacts with products. The challenge companies face today is to deliver personalized, valuable, and immediate experiences.

The old “one size fits all” mentality doesn’t work in the future, where companies develop and market products based on market segmentation and demographics. The assumption that products, features, and marketing will meet the needs of all people within that demographic is obsolete.

Use Persona build empathy with your customer

Personas are fictional characters that contain insights from your customer research. They represent one customer type that is interested in your products, services or brand. This archetypes of people incorporate customer goals, problems (often called “Pain Points”) behaviors and interests. These help teams and decision makers to think from a customer perspective and add a human touch — in contrary to the traditional internal perspective. Additionally, they allow you to understand patterns in from your research, what is synthesized in archetypes of people you seek to do something for. Personas are also known as model characters or composite characters.

2 simple steps to build products that people will love 2

Value of using Personas

Personas are a great way to visualize what you currently know about customer needs and behaviors. In a rapidly changing world, it’s the only way to ensure you build what customers want is to engage them continuously. Personas are the best way to control the changing needs of your customers.

Create and update Personas when:

  • You receive a product, feature or service request of customer –
  • To agree no your product planning to prioritize feature based on the Persona value
  • Teams with different roles collaborate to create products or value for the customer
  • Your teams need to be aligned to share the same customer understanding

Personas in the Design Thinking process

2 simple steps to build products that people will love 3
When to create Personas

The risk of product-failure in our fast evolving world can be reduced with a continuous engagement of your customers. Customer research provides teams and organization with the required insights and confidence to ideate and develops the right products. All innovation and product development activities need to have a clear purpose to create value for your customers and to solve his problems. A persona represents exactly this “voice of your customer”.

Personas are normally created during the second phase of the Design Thinking process — the Define phase. Design Thinkers synthesize their findings and insights from customer research. Very often teams also start to create Proto-personas which are based on secondary research. Secondary research, like competitor or market analysis, allows quick insights for the first draft of your Persona.

Using personas is just one method, among others, that can help designers and development teams to define the customer problem statement. This so-called Point-of-View (PoV) is a guiding statement that focusses on specific users, and insights and needs that you have uncovered during the customer research. You can articulate your POV by framing the information about your customer (Persona), the needs or problems and the insights in the following sequence:

2 simple steps to build products that people will love 4
Point-of-View Statement

The PoV defines the RIGHT challenge to address during the next Design Thinking process step, which is the Ideation phase. It

Get feedback from all your customer touchpoints in one place

2 simple steps to build products that people will love 5

Many organization oversees the real value of their data generated by customers. There are dozens of “Voice-of-customer” solutions with customers, like support systems, survey tools, app reviews, sales tools, NPS services, internal tools and many more. It’s relevant to get all your data in one place to uncover what your customers are saying and requesting. Personas are fictional characters but they represent your existing and living customers, that’s why it’s necessary to update these archetypes with your frequently gained insights.

Customer feedback via social media or product review sites like Amazon can horribly damage brand reputations. It is so important to consider every touchpoint with your customer. In our fast-changing world one of the main goals of the organization, today is to have an up-to-date understanding of all your customer groups to ensure continuous innovation. Create Personas during your customer research and update them, whenever your customer leave relevant insights with problems or needs.

Beside creating Personas, connect your “Voice-of-Customer” tools to get all your relevant customer feedback from customer research, sales, marketing and service in one place. With the centralized data, you can very easily select and add insights to your Personas, that your teams will always be provided with the required customer information. This enables teams an instant view of customer problems and needs, to be equipped with the required information to come up with better products that deliver real customer value.

2 simple steps to build products that people will love 6
How Pyoneer supports to do better customer research

 

About the Author

Stefan is a passionate Design Thinker and founder of Pyoneer. Follow my professional network on LinkedIn, on Twitter or sign up for our newsletter on Design Thinking and Lean Innovation.

Enjoyed the read? Leave some ‘claps’ or comment below so others can find this post 🙂

Deliver a great customer experience is the key to success 7

Is there a simple way to innovation and successful products? No, of course, it’s not! In Fact, most products fail. Not because we fail to build what we set out to build, but because we waste needless time, money, and effort building the wrong product — something nobody wants.

But what is the secret of good and bad innovation? How do innovative multibillion-dollar companies differentiate from others?

Successful product development has fundamentally changed

When Apple released the iPhone in 2007, Nokia still had about 50% market share in the mobile phone market. Although they were releasing continuously good phones, they lost their market dominance within just 3-4 years. The big problem was not, that Apple just had a great product that worked well – It was the constant belief of Nokia and it’s management to think that they know what people want. With the release of the iPhone Apple achieved to redefine the way people use phones – what led also to a total change of their behaviors and expectation to mobile phones. Nokia failed in listening to what their target customers wanted.

The story of Nokia is just one example that shows that shows with the fast evolution of technology also peoples expectations and experiences with products are changing. This is because customers today have more choices than ever before. With the rising demand for smartphones and mobile apps, Nokia had enough chances to build a product their customers want and an app-ecosystem that could compete with Apple. But they didn’t – what opened the opportunity for many other competitors like Samsung. Today people have full access to product information, online shops or price comparison sites. As products have gone from being delivered in a box to being delivered over the Internet, there’s been a dramatic shift in how customers consume, demand, and interact with products.

In the old world, failing to deliver what customers wanted, led to product failure. In the new world, repeatedly failing to deliver what customers want leads to total business model failure.

If one company doesn’t get the job done, customer simple switch to something else.

The challenge today isn’t building good products, but uncovering how well products solve customer problems or meet their needs. Today’s consumers are demanding more from companies. Customers expect products, services, and information that are timely and catered to their specific needs and desires. Traditionally, companies develop and market products based on market segmentation and demographics, assuming that the features and functionality will meet the needs of all of the customers in that demographic. This “one size fits all” mentality doesn’t work anymore today. We need to embrace the fact that customers are different now, significantly more so than previous generations.

Understand who your customer is

Personas are a good way to accurately identify customers needs and desires. However, as the marketplace shifts from a mass manufacturing to a mass customization model, customers needs and desires are more accurately identified through the development of personas rather than through demographic data.

A persona represents a cluster of users who exhibit similar behavioral patterns in their purchasing decisions, use of technology or products, customer service preferences, lifestyle choices, and the like. Behaviors, attitudes, and motivations are common to a “type” regardless of age, gender, education, and other typical demographics.

Deliver a great experience

Product innovation and new technology in mobile, social, and artificial intelligence allow delivering a more personalized, valuable, and immediate experiences for consumers. Customers have more choices than ever. As a result, they grow to expect this superior experience from any business they engage with.

Expectations and behaviors have totally changed. The gap between customers’ expectations and products or services they receive is getting bigger more and more. Amazon’s product recommendation “what customers who looked at this item also bought.” is a significant element of their success. Today’s e-commerce shops have to mess with this new level of online shopping experience because customers just expect this service from now on. If you want to order a taxi or book an apartment, customers will always compare the booking experience with Uber or Airbnb.

Although companies have long declared their intention to get close to their customers, the digital age is forcing them to actually do it.

The good news is that getting closer to your customers can help to reduce the risk of product failure. Practices like Design Thinking and Lean Startup involve customers even before product releases, as test and experiments are a cornerstone of innovation projects. Instead of guessing what products and features are wanted by the market, companies can adjust product and features with direct input from end users before launching it. These process not only help to de-risk product development, it also tightens the relationship between companies and their customers. Additionally, it often provides valuable information and insights about how customers think and use the products which are being developed.

Lean Product Management - Why Design Thinking is the next step to successful products 8

Why companies and leaders should reconsider their current philosophy of project management and why they cannot afford to ignore the value of Design Thinking for their organizations!

Design Thinking and Lean Startup are totally popular, although these practices exist already for years. Gartner IT research estimates that by 2021, more than 50% of established corporations will be leveraging lean startup techniques at their business level to increase the pace and success of business transformation. Industry leaders like IBM or Procter & Gamble have trained their whole organization with the disciplines of design thinking, to become more innovative and especially customer-centric.

There are clear indicators that a transformation of organizations and especially operations towards a more customer-centered approach is happening. Design Thinking and other human-centered methodologies like Lean Startup or Lean UX have become mature. In this article, I’m going to look at management practices and why we believe a new era has just started.

Lean Product Management - Why Design Thinking is the next step to successful products 9

Digital disruption is present in every industry!

Technologies such as mobile devices, social networking, cognitive computing, and the Internet of Things are changing the way companies design, manufacture, and deliver almost every product and service. It also significantly increased the pace of change in business as a whole, requiring organizations to become agiler.

Lean Product Management - Why Design Thinking is the next step to successful products 10

This, of course, has a disruptive impact on Product Development and Innovation as a whole. Traditional industries with dominated market position and business models (keeping prices artificially high) don’t work in a digital world, with shorter and more frequent product development cycles, global competition and the rise of freemium services.

Customers and users are now connected via social media, which allows updating people in seconds about their experience with products, services or companies. An increasing number of consumers depend on their purchasing decisions on reputation and reviews. Shitstorms can ruin brand reputation within a couple of days, what marketing departments have built up over the years.

Digitization forces an organization to deal with completely new challenges and market preconditions. I know this isn’t highly advanced research, but I want to emphasise on the new requirements and settings for businesses and their organizations.

Why Digital Transformation should receive more consideration

Digital Transformation is one of those buzzwords, that you hear by almost every company, although every transformation is going to be different for organizations. 
You can define it, as the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business.

You can define digital transformation, as the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business.

It results in a:

  • a fundamental change of how businesses are operating and how they deliver value to customers.
  • the cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment often and get comfortable with failure.
  • change of organization and practices, going away from long-standing business processes that companies were built upon in favor of relatively new practices that are still being defined.

To handle these changes, many different management approaches have evolved, claiming to be the best and most efficient way. Companies have understood that linear methodologies like Waterfall, which follow a sequential and linear process of development, doesn’t work. The model originated in the manufacturing and construction industries, both highly structured environment where changes can be too expensive or sometimes impossible.

With the need for shorter product life cycles as well as higher flexibility during development, agile project management has become the standardized way of managing projects. Agile refers to a manifesto, which was published in February 2001 by 17 software developers, who have to discuss lightweight development methods. It is based on an incremental, iterative approach, instead of in-depth planning at the beginning of a project like a waterfall. Changing requirements are expected over time and constant feedback from end users is encouraged. The goal of each iteration is to produce a working product.

Lean Product Management - Why Design Thinking is the next step to successful products 11

While Agile was traditionally created for software development, it can also be used in many other projects and industries. Many practices in Agile, like stand-up meetings and visual management, are so common and can apply to any industry. It’s important to remember that Agile software development was born from the principles of Lean manufacturing and organizational learning.

There are subsets of Agile, like Scrum, which is one of the most popular process frameworks for implementing Agile. It follows a set of roles, responsibilities, and meetings that never change. But as agile, scrum also has its limitation on considering and integrating customer problems and needs.

Human-centered (Lean)Management

During my interviews with leading enterprises like SAP, BMW, Lufthansa, and many others, to identify their philosophy of doing the digital transformation. “Our tech teams are applying Agile, product teams are trying to integrate Lean and with the increasing need of customer- and user-centricity we want to combine everything with Design Thinking.”

But which one is the best?

While agile and scrum helped teams to gain flexibility, speed and the ability of continuous improvement, this generation of project or product management is limited in its capability of understanding and integrating the customer in team activities. Human-centered development approaches add the most crucial dimension to the success of any company activity — the customer!

Put the customer at the center of everything — focus on customer value if you’re struggling to get an alignment as a team. Ask yourself on a regular basis:

  • How do we know we’re shipping something users care about?
  • How do we find out?
  • How does that affect what we prioritize?

Why Design Thinking and Lean Startup have come to “be”

Design Thinking helps teams to emphasize the customer problems and needs while Lean Startup helps with its build-measure-learn loop to identify the best-fit solution for the identified problems. Be aware that none of these methods are sufficient alone and only reveal their full potential in combination.

Successful companies nowadays neither stand out because of their most efficient production, nor their best engineers, sales managers, marketing commercials or whatever. It’s more their dedication to understanding the customer as well as their strong commitment to serving customer problems and needs.

Amazon is the best example of executing this practices in perfection, what helped them to achieve best-in-class customer satisfaction ratings and has enabled them also to dominate multiple markets (E-commerce, cloud web services, E-book reader). As more companies understand the real value of customer insights, the better they can target their business activities like product development, marketing or strategy in general.

Applying human-centered correctly helps companies not only to become more agile or flexible in their product development. It allows also to reduce waste in developing the wrong products as well as it helps to avoid investing money and resources into not required solutions. We believe human-centered has the opportunity to reveal the full potential of every organization and especially its employees. It helps them to alignment their teams towards customer value which will help to create successful products and services. This is why we believe no company can afford in future to disregard the relevance of customers and to avoid using human-centered methods in their organization.

Neither Design Thinking or Lean Startup nor agile or user experience (UX) are new for companies. To become successful in the future, I believe it´s a matter of how well companies combine all of those practices. Efficiency will be measured in who well teams have a common understanding of their customers, as it allows them to target their work more precise towards the desired outcome. Designers teams can create better user concepts, development teams can prioritize better on features based on the customer value and the manager will gain more confidence in taking the right.

Lean Product Management - Why Design Thinking is the next step to successful products 12

What remains open is the question of how Design Thinking generates an interpretation of user needs that are so trivial and non-complex, that teams can build on this insight in further processing Agile mode. Is an interface between Design Thinking and Agile imaginable, which allows simple planning and makes sequential processing possible?

There is good news — Pyoneer is going to building this interface!

Pyoneers is going to build an SaaS-Solution for innovators who want to deliver products that solve real problems. You can sign up at pyoneer.io to get insider first looks at the product and updates on our upcoming release.

Thanks for reading! Leave a comment and help us to share our story! Give it a ❤ if you liked it 🐠

Subscribe to receive our top stories here.

Lean Product Management - Why Design Thinking is the next step to successful products 13
Applying Design Thinking – A Manual to Innovation 14

How Pyoneer started as a Lean Startup

What would you think if there was a manual to create innovative products, experiences or services? I’m not talking about incremental improvements, like e.g. more pixels on your screens or few more horsepower in your car’s engine…
I’m talking about disruptive innovation, that change the behavior of users while improving people’s lives!
No worries, if you’re skeptical now! In general, innovation is all about humans. Day by day, humans create things for humans!

I want to share my experience from the moment I got into contact with Design Thinking to the moment where I have noticed a deep problem for a specific group of people. That’s when I came up with a great solution to this problem and finally, we grew into a rockstar co-founding team to run a Lean Startup now.

I’m excited to share this method and experiences with you. I practice, love, use, teach and learn from Design Thinking every single day at work, and in life. And I hope to inspire others to apply it in their daily work, as I promise it will guide you to the solution of problems.

Design Thinking – A problem-solving methodology

Developing successful innovative business models, products and services have become one of the most important success rate factors for today’s business landscape.
82 percent of CEO’s of world’s leading companies have concerns about whether their company’s current products or services will be relevant to customers 3 years, the “2016 Global CEO Outlook” survey from KPMG found out.

Especially in times of emerging disruptive technologies, glutted markets, decreasing product lifecycles and continuously increasing expectations of customers. One of the main reasons is digitization and the enormous speed of change.

Applying Design Thinking – A Manual to Innovation 15
http://www.digitaltransformationbook.com/the-speed-of-change-4-waves-of-digital-acceleration/

Design Thinking is one of the methods to achieve innovation! Most successful startups have successfully applied it and continuously develop their products and services with this framework (like AirBnb and Dropbox). It goes well beyond the plain “look & feels” of an object: it is actually a state of the art problem-solving methodology!

“Design Thinking is a human-centered model that encourages creativity and innovation to create a product or service that solves a complex problem for your target customer or user. It can help you innovate a new product, design a simple solution to a complex problem, or to get the whole team involved in generating design ideas so they feel included and believe in the process.”
David Kelley – IDEO founder

The challenges of modern business, it’s global and cross-industry aspect urged for new problem-solving frameworks, capable of producing extraordinary solutions. Design Thinking offered a win-win strategy: “human-centered design that is all about looking out from the inside—rather than outside in”.

Digital business transformation requires innovative, out-of-the-box thinking. Design Thinking is a natural fit as many enterprises seek to transform and, in some cases, reinvent themselves as digital businesses. It was developed by IDEO and is taught at the d.school: Institute of Design at Stanford and HPI school of design thinking in Potsdam – both founded by Hasso Plattner (Co-founder of SAP).

It involves massive collaboration and frequent iterations and has five very clear phases:

  1. Empathize
  2. Define
  3. Ideate
  4. Prototype
  5. Test

Applying Design Thinking – A Manual to Innovation 16

I’m going into detail on the Design Thinking process in some upcoming articles, that’s why I’m going to skip this for now.

Lean Startup – an efficiency model for innovation

The term “Lean Startup” was developed in the IT industry for software startups and became very popular with the book “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries in 2011. “Lean” principles were developed in the early seventies by Toyota to optimize production processes and reduce any sort of waste in the process. The Lean Startup process claims that the most efficient innovation is the one for which there is an actual demand by the users. Or put in other words: the biggest waste is creating a product or service that nobody needs. This concept is highly relevant for any strategy or method that aims at creating innovations.

Design Thinking and Lean Startup are not the same, but comparing them you’ll notice that they have one thing in common. It is all about the customer. Both methodologies try to identify customer needs in order to create appropriate solutions. The method of lean startup goes one step further: try to test core business assumptions early in the product development process, sometimes even before any product is built at all. Track your assumptions and learn from the insights that you have gathered during testing with your customer.

Continue this build-measure-learn cycle and make progress in an iterative way, while getting closer to the solution your customer wants to have.

Applying Design Thinking – A Manual to Innovation 17

Pyoneer’s start as a Lean Startup

At the moment I have to admit to putting all my energy and time into founding a company. It was also clear that perfect execution is required in everything we’re going to do. I knew it will be a super difficult and long way. There are many statistics of failing startups and the figure is around 90%. To become successful it’s not sufficient to have a good product idea or excellent salespeople. **The perfect balance of the right product, while serving the market with excellence and managing everything by an awesome organization, is required. **

When our founding team grew together, we’ve noticed to have a perfect balance of complementary skills – the most valuable achievement in the early days for a startup! We are convinced that we’re going to be successful, no matter where the future is leading us to, but finding a perfect set of founders is the main groundwork. Every one of us is somehow different and there are often some deep discussions. But we see this more as fuel for our spirit!
As we had founded a team, we knew that there was a growing market and had a solution for a problem so we decided to build up everything using Design Thinking methods. We wanted to execute in perfection from day 1! We created target groups, analyzed their behaviors, interviewed to understand their jobs and problems. In Lean Startup, everything is about validating your assumptions and hypotheses, so these steps were required in order to gain confidence if our tool was to solve their problem. Additionally, we created mockups and digital prototypes that we again showed to our target group to gain feedback about whether our solution is sufficient and viable for them.

As it turned out most of our assumptions were correct so we decided to build our solution – and to found our startup Pyoneer. It’s a Software-as-a-Service application for documenting, visualizing and managing all your innovation activities based on Design Thinking and Lean Startup methodologies. With Pyoneer we want to provide the right toolset for each process phase and guide the user through the process. We also want to enable access and full transparency of collected information and results for everyone – to help teams across the globe to convey the big picture in one place.

We are currently in the development and are going to release our first features the next weeks and are totally excited to see which feedback users are going to give us. We’re seeking this feedback, as it’s essential to get better and know exactly what our customers need.

We believe that if we keep listening, thinking, creating, validating, learning and always being open and transparent we’ll end up with the right amount of customer value and we’ll create a solution that people love.

As you can see we started with a Lean Startup culture and we will continue on this as we’re positive it will guide us to success! I hope I could inspire some of the readers and would be happy to hear your opinions. Stay tuned if you are interested in our path, we’ll be back soon!

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Be the first to hear about the latest product releases and other interesting articles from Pyoneer.

Share with your friends

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email