I ended my last blog post, What Happened to My Linear World, with the statement…
Reality was that the world had more influence on what I was doing, and I had less control. My planning became more frequent and less conclusive; I discovered I was no longer living in a linear world.
What should I do?
Is the answer to do less planning and more reacting? Today’s world has emerged with new thinking to compensate. Some of this thinking have been captured in the philosophies of the Outcome Based-Innovation, Design Thinking and Service Design. To a lesser degree Lean, the Maker Movement and the Lean StartupTM support this new thinking. These philosophies have taken the pulse of the present and moved decision making towards a customer-centered approach. They are more aligned with the customer and realize that their success does not rely on pushing product to a customer. Rather, understanding the customer’s “Job-To-Be-Done” and participating in what the customer needs to accomplish. This participation is the platform.
There are a lot of tools this has surfaced. Technology has greatly assisted this movement most notably with the ability to perform prototypes both online and offline. The digital world has led because of the ease of making changes based on the collection of data. However, the offline world is catching up with 3D printing and augmented reality schemes tumbling in price and expanding in use. Again, this supports participation within the platform.
The question really becomes do we still plan? With prototypes and trials so easy to use and inexpensive do we just throw out the planning and look for a reaction from the customer. Many see that as an alternative and segment out the early adaptors and willing participants. Other take it a step further and will try different trials or multiple segments to determine the best type of participation.
A new set of tools have evolved to support this culture, no longer are we using linear tools that were used to measure and support well-defined end to end processes. Today’s world has introduced more and more uncertainty. As a result, it has forced us to get closer and closer to our customers reducing reaction and decision time. To do this, once again a new set of tools need to be utilized. This methodology has been introduced to us through the concepts of Design Thinking and as good as an overview that I have found is contained in the book, Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Toolkit for Managers (Columbia Business School Publishing).
This set of tools:
- Visualization: using imagery to envision possible future conditions
- Journey Mapping: assessing the existing experience through the customer’s eyes
- Value Chain Analysis: assessing the current value chain that supports the customer’s journey
- Mind Mapping: generating insights from exploration activities and using those to create design criteria
- Brainstorming: generating new alternatives to the existing business model
- Concept Development: assembling innovative elements into a coherent alternative solution that can be explored and evaluated
- Assumption Testing: isolating and testing the key assumptions that will drive success or failure of a concept
- Rapid Prototyping: expressing a new concept in a tangible form for exploration, testing, and refinement
- Customer Co-Creation: enrolling customers to participate in creating the solution that best meets their needs
- Learning Launch: creating an affordable experiment that lets customers experience the new solution over an extended period of time, so you can test key assumptions with market data
Along with these basic tools, I believe that Osterwalder’s Business Model Generation Template, Lean 3P, and Kanban are other integral parts. If you notice, these are all very visual tools based on participation in the platform, not in the corner office.
However, do I just use these tools and watch everything unfold?
Is there a planning instrument that works?
Lean Sales and Marketing: Learn about using CAP-Do