Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Changing your work-habits

As you know, we are creatures of habit. From the moment we get out of bed until we get back to sleep again, we are doing the same things over and over again.
This is a good thing, to a certain extent. For example, it would not be good if we would not know how to brush our teeth every morning.

From a business perspective, those habits could rather limit our learning. It sounds like a cliché, but it is a reality that change is happening at a very fast pace. So, if you keep on doing the same things over and over again, you might be loosing the game quite quickly, because sudden events will surprise you.

At the same time you might be missing out on some opportunities, just because your old/current work style is not opening up to the new developments. For instance, I did speak with an executive who did mention the need to increase the awareness for his products, without having a marketing budget. Besides the traditional word of mouth approach and networking, he had no other approaches. He is present on social media, but not really using it actively. When I did mention the possibility to participate in relevant tweetchats or to start one himself, he was totally surprised!

This is just a simple example to show how crucial it is to continuously explore new methods, innovations, media, people etc. Even better it is to, intentionally, connect with a diversity of people, who are really curious and have an exploring mindset.

Are you stretching yourself, regularly?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The city without a soul

Recently I did listen to a podcast about the growing power of cities. As most people are living in cities now, existing cities are growing beyond their limits and new cities are being established.

An example of such a new city is  Songdo in Korea, a $ 40 billion project. The reporter did share her experience being there. She was not planning on living there, as it appears to be a “city without a soul”.

Again, this is an example where technology and business goals are taking precedence over human needs. But what is a city without people?

There are also many companies without a soul. The core mission of those organizations is to produce results and humans are not part of the design, they are just part of the resources. But what is a company without people?

Humans are the main users of companies and of cities. You could even call them the most important customers.
Design Thinking principles are being used to put the user at the heart of the process, of everything.

How would cities, organizations, companies, communities, houses look like when they are designed with the main user (i.e. you and me) in mind? Wouldn’t it be great if they are designed with your needs as the starting point and as the main metric (how satisfied are you with your environment)?.

Isn’t it time to stand up and take control and ownership for our basic conditions of life?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Who is the customer in a hospital?

Yesterday I had to visit a new hospital in my city for a couple of tests. The hospital is now open for a month or so. This means that everything is new and quite a lot of things are not finished yet. For instance, the signs for the various departments are mostly missing. So, many patients and visitors have the feeling that they are in a maze. Even the nurses don’t know where you are supposed to go.  I was sent 4 times to the wrong location! Then they did ask a volunteer, who acted as a traffic guide, to accompany me, but she had problems as well in finding the place to be!

It is clear that the hospital had not heard about the ‘user experience’ and about applying ‘design thinking’ to the layout. It looked like the old rules of running a hospital (via compartmentalizing) did win, again. I am pretty sure that any designer would tear out his/her hair in seeing the set-up and routing.

I was also (temporarily) put in a bed/room. On first sight, I could see no place to hang my winter coat, so I had to leave it on the ground. Then a nurse pointed me to the cupboard, which was located behind a curtain. She said, “ Only a man could have designed this”! Again this is another example of how the users (patients and nurses) are left out of the equation.

I would argue that a hospital should be one of the prime areas, where customer-centricity is at the heart of the operation. But, it is clear that (user experience)
design has not reached the board room of this hospital.

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!