Ideas that Benefit the user
Ideas That Benefit the user
Being empathetic is putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes.
Being empathetic is interpreting someone’s experience in such a way that we can understand the motives behind their behaviour and decisions.
The most innovative companies are customer-orientated. They are set on finding out about their customers’ aspirations, achievements or desires, as well as what bugs them and the things they want to stay clear of.
Despite the benefits of empathy, there are possibilities for innovation that are not the direct result of interactions with potential users.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Steve Jobs used this quote by Henry Ford to explain why he didn’t consult his users. “How can I possibly ask somebody what a graphics-based computer ought to be when they have no idea what a graphic based computer is?”
Patrick Whitney, director of the Illinois Institute of Technology, argues that Sony never would have created the Walkman if it had listened to its customers. In fact, they did a lot of research and all the information processed by the Department of Marketing suggested that it would be a flop. Radical innovation is the product of the ability to imagine how our lives could be different, and only the people we call visionaries are capable of such insight. However, the done thing is to introduce innovations little by little with the aim of satisfying our customers’ desires.
What is Design Thinking?
Design Thinking is a tool or methodology for stimulating creativity and innovation. It’s mainly based on people, not so much on the product.In other words, Design Thinking adopts the methods that designers use to work and solve problems, attempting to meet peoples’ needs in a way that is technologically feasible and commercially viable. The theory was first developed in the 70s at the University of Stanford in California (USA).However, it was the consulting firm IDEO that commercialised the methodology and to this day it’s still one of the main drivers behind it.
Where and who uses it?
In the words of Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, design thinking is “a human-centred approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”
Design Thinking Process by THE BOOTCAMP BOOTLEG
Process – THE BOOTCAMP BOOTLEG
As a designer, you don’t solve your own problems, you solve other people’s. To design for other people, you have to feel empathy for who they are and what is important to them.
We can develop our empathy using the Empathy Maps in section 2.
This is a critical part of the process. The objective of this phase is to clearly and precisely conceptualise the problem at hand, know what it means and understand its viability.
It’s important to summarise the information we have and the information we collected in the previous stage.
This is the stage when Design Thinking starts. We come up with many different ideas. Creation processes have all sorts of dynamics. This is the most divergent part of the process. It’s also when we have to work the hardest.
Sketches, mind maps, prototypes, storyboards, brainstorming, etc.
Now it’s time to “think with our hands”, to build what we’ve designed.
We have to build to learn, talk, make mistakes, see new problems, new solutions, evaluate alternatives, etc.
In this step we ask for feedback from the team and people who aren’t involved in the project.
We evaluate to refine prototypes, find more solutions, plan the next steps or pivot, keep learning about the user, continue creating and learning, redirect the solution or redefine the problem.
The point of evaluating is, as Eric Ries argues, to learn during the process.
Observe and connect
In this video you’ll see a summary of the ideation process for new shopping carts at the IDEO consulting firm.
In the following Let’s Do It, we’re not asking much, we want you to watch this short documentary and identify the stages in the Design Thinking process applied by IDEO. Comment on how they work in each stage.
- Do they do more than what is suggested for each stage?
- Which stage do you think is the most important?
- Would you change the creative process at any point?
What do they do to encourage the design process?
* Empathise …………………………….………………………………………………
* Define ………………………………….………..…..………………………………
* Ideate …………………………………………..……….…………………………….
* Prototype ………………………………..………….……………………………
* Evaluate ….………………………………………………..…………………………
Jack is a strange bird…
When he drinks beer, he licks his index and middle finger, swipes the bottle opening, and then pauses, with the bottle raised to his mouth, before turning it upside down. Each time, every time. He also has a routine with his steel-toe boots. The left one must go on first, then the right. But he takes them off in reverse. And then there’s his ritual when buying large ticket items like a car: he sends his wife to the lot while he sits in the garage, waiting for her to call. When people talk to him about saving for his children’s college fund, he quickly cuts them off to inform them there is no fund because he’d prefer to cultivate a sense of ownership by encouraging them to pay their own way through school. He enjoys the scowls that appear on their faces. He is meticulous, organised and he doesn’t talk to his dad. Clearly, Jack is not so much strange as he is just complex. Like most humans. And all of your customers. How well do you know your customers? To develop an idea, we have to know our customers and design our products and services to suit them.
We don’t start with the product, we start with the customer.
We have to attract our target audience and analyse it. Get to know their needs, desires, fears and hopes.All this information gives us a broad view of our customers. But we don’t stop there, we have to make sure we’re right and then keep analysing.It often happens that after getting 1000 positive responses from university students saying that they’ll buy chips to go with their lunch, nobody actually buys them.
We should listen to Dr House when he says: “It’s a basic truth of the human condition that everybody lies. The only variable is about what…” Surveys and statistics that use questions such as I like / I dislike can paint a false picture of reality.The best approach is to observe how our consumers behave when doing the activities that interest us: payment methods, food, holidays, clothes, apps, etc.If we don’t have enough resources to conduct an exhaustive behavioural study, we can use Empathy Maps to gain deeper insight into our consumers.
EMPATHY in a flash
“When we consciously identify another person’s feelings, thoughts or attitudes and experience them in an indirect way, what we’re doing is empathising with that person. But don’t forget that empathy and sympathy are two different things. Empathy is when a child offers his toy to another child who is crying.”
Jesse Prinz, Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York.
The big companies know that researching their customers’ behaviour and empathising with them is the best of investments. That’s why they try to make you laugh or cry in their advertisements. In IKEA’s Hotel Amour advertisement, they reveal just how much they know about their customers, as well as their own weaknesses as a retailer.
But does this observation actually work?
It does! A study by The World Advertising Research Center presents significant data in this area. The real problem is that, being entrepreneurs, we often have limited time to spend doing this research.
Here are some interesting links where you’ll find more information to help you with the Let’s Do It.
Also, this video offers a good summary of what Empathy Maps are and how to work with them. We recommend you take a look! 😀
- School Empathy Map
- Empathy map for UX
- A quick introduction to Empathy Maps
- Questions for completing an Empathy Map
“One of the founding tenets of the d.school (the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford) is human-centered design. Rather than beginning with shiny new technology, we start by trying to establish deep, personal empathy with our users to determine their needs and wants. We must fill in two blanks: Our users need a better way to ___ BECAUSE ___. The because portion is a big deal. Burn this into your memory: Our users need a better way to ____ BECAUSE ____.”
Dave Gray, author of The Connected Company and Gamestorming, is the brain behind the next tool we’re going to look at: Empathy Maps.
Empathy Maps come in all shapes and sizes, but most of them have similar basic elements: “Think, see, do and feel”.
Some versions have additional elements like “Say, fears, pain or gain”.
We’re going to work with the “Business Model – Empathy Maps” … Let’s Do It!
This time we’re not going to work on our own. You have to find a group of at least 3 people to complete this module. If you know other people doing this program at the Student Business e-Academy, take advantage of this opportunity to collaborate with them, that way all your classmates will be able to complete this exercise.
All hands on deck, Let’s Do It!
- Print or draw a large Empathy Map.
- As a group, make up a name for the person who is going to be analysed. Remember, we have to choose someone from our target audience.
- Write a few lines about what they do and then a few more lines with titbits from their personal life.
- Hand out post-its and markers so that everyone in the group can contribute to the map.
Then we’ll respond to a series of questions in each of the areas. First we’ll have a guided round and then we’ll discuss our ideas and briefly analyse our customer, their feelings, needs, doubts, complaints, etc.
Our goal is to transform customer segments into people so that we can learn from them:
Who are they really? How do they spend their time? Who are their friends? What type of value proposition do they expect? How much are they willing to pay? What type of relationships do they have? What influences them? What guides their behaviour? etc.
Let’s start with examples of questions that put us in their shoes. And remember, one post-it per response.
WHAT DO THEY THINK AND FEEL?
Why do they need you? What are their concerns? What do they really care about (even though they don’t say it)? What are their expectations? etc.
Let’s keep discovering our customer’s reality through their eyes…
WHAT DO THEY SEE?
What is their environment like? What kind of offers do they come across? Who are the key people in their environment? What type of problems do they face? etc.
It’s amazing how much you learn from what people say about you.
WHAT DO THEY HEAR?
What do they hear at work? What do their friends and family tell them? Who are their main influencers? How do they hear these things? By which means? etc.
Now it’s time to start the more real part:
WHAT DO THEY SAY AND DO?
How do they normally behave in public? What do they say is important to them? Who do they talk to? Do they influence anyone? Is there a gap between what they say and do? etc.
Let’s finish with motivations and frustrations
WHAT FRUSTRATES THEM?
What frustrates them? What fears and risks are they concerned about? What hinders them from reaching their objectives? etc.
WHAT MOTIVATES THEM?
What do they really want to achieve? What does a good service or product mean to them? How do they try to obtain them? Do they expect a reward? etc.
After a barrage of responses, our Empathy Map should be covered in post-its. Now it’s time to do some analysis.
Time to do some organising
If we’ve answered all the questions, then we’ll have a lot of information written on the post-its. Now we have to analyse them, grouping similar items into columns. We are free to name the columns however we see fit. We might come up with different columns for each customer type. It’s a question of observation and narrowing down our user’s personality type. Once we’ve empathised with our user, the next step is to review our sales strategy, but that’s another story 🙂
Empathy Maps – Self-Evaluation Checklist 1
- I’ve understood how important it is to focus on the customer.
- I need to know how my users think if I want to be able to offer them what they’re looking for.
- I understand that using Empathy Maps is a research process.
- I’ve learnt that Empathy Maps are an approach to studying behaviour.
- I’ve understood the difference between empathy and sympathy.
- I have to get at the WHY behind my user’s motivations.
- I’ve learnt to “think, see, do and feel” like my user.
- I’ve learnt that defining someone’s personality is a complex process requiring a lot of time and effort.
- I’ve started my second Empathy Map 😀
Empathy Maps – Self-Evaluation Checklist 2
- Let’s analyse a success story: the company airbnb.
- Go to the website airbnb.com and analyse its proposal for home owners and travellers.
- Can you create an empathy map for a home owner?
- Can you create an empathy map for a person who wants to travel and stay in someone’s home?
- Can you find aspects in airbnb’s proposal that are related with both empathy maps?
Steve Blank created the Customer Development Methodology by asking one question:
“If companies fail because they lack customers and not because of errors in product development, why are there processes to develop products but no processes to develop customers?”
This methodology for business creation has the following principles:
- Many startup business models aren’t quite right at the beginning.
- The iterative process in search of a successful business model is called pivoting.
- Learn from the start, learn over and over.
- You have to focus on the customer and the market from day one.
- Prioritise learning and discovering over execution.
All development revolves around the customer. Find the real market for the company and product by making a pledge to discover and learn from your customers along the way, offering them a product they truly need. Most new business models fail because they concentrate on development and try to sell products or services thatno one wants. They fall in love with their product and insist on perfecting it before fully understanding their customers and checking that there is a market willing to pay for it.
Discovering the customer
The key word in this methodology is learn. Why? Because the process is continuous and contact with customers is a constant. The information they give us is our ultimate tool for product development.
To work on the product fit, we’ll use two complementary canvases: Customer Profile and Value Map. Both were created by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur.
In the first there are 3 fields:
- The outcomes and benefits the customer receives. They can be required, expected, desired or unexpected. They include functional utility, social gains, positive emotions and cost savings.
- Things that annoy the customer before, during and after trying to get the job done or stop them from solving the problem. Also includes risks: the potential negative consequences of something going wrong or failing to solve the problem.
- Customer jobs. Activities they do in their work or personal life.
Defining the value proposition
The Value Map describes the features of your business model’s value proposition in a more structured and detailed way (compared with the Business Model Canvas).
It is divided into 3 fields:
- Gain creators. How your products and services create customer gains. How you intend to create the benefits your customer expects, desires or would be surprised by. They include functional utility, social gains, positive emotions and cost savings.
- Pain relievers. How your products and services alleviate customer pains. How you intend to eliminate or reduce some of the things that annoy the customer before, during and after trying to get the job done or the things that stop them from solving the problem.
- Products and/or services. A list of what you have to offer. The products your value proposition is built around. Helps the customer get either a functional, social or emotional job done, or satisfy basic needs.
This is achieved when your Value Map meets your Customer Profile, i.e. when your products and services produce pain relievers and gain creators that match one or more of the jobs, pains and gains that are important for your customer.
We should look for products and services that relieve pain or create gain, and that take care of one of your customer’s jobs, pains and gains.
We achieve fit when our customer gets excited about our value proposition. This happens when we address important jobs, help alleviate extreme pains and create essential gains that our customer cares about.
Achieve product fit!
Take your largest customer segment, the most interesting, or the one that poses the biggest challenge. Eventually you’ll have to tackle them all…
Analyse the customer profile, characterise it in detail. Then develop your added value. Aim to achieve fit.
Create a big canvas with both diagrams. You can do this by hand or download it at Strategyzer. Work with post-its and figure out how to offer gains and pain relievers in your value proposition.
There’s no rush. This is a long task and it requires research.
Customer Development – Self-Evaluation Checklist
- I understand how important it is to identify and characterise my customers so that I can offer them the best and most enticing value proposition.
- I understand my customers better.
- I’ve identified aspects of my product that don’t meet my customers’ needs and I’ve gotten rid of them.
- I’m improving my product/service to increase my customers’ gains.
- I know what product fit means and my goal is to create a truly unique and appealing product/service.
- I’ve discovered more of my customers’ needs and I’m coming up with a new product that will resolve them =)
- Let’s analyse airbnb’s proposal again.
- Can you create the company’s value proposition based on what defines the user?
Once we think we have a business idea that could become a business opportunity, i.e. directly usable, then it’s time to start thinking about the business model. A company’s business model is how it creates, delivers and captures value. If we don’t use these three verbs, we could say that a business model explains how each of the industry players take part in the game. This is why there is such a mix of companies and a variety of offers in a single industry.
The business model is the explanation behind why in a single industry there is a variety of companies all satisfying the same need:
Introduction to the module
Welcome to the Venture Development module.
In this module, our objectives are:
- To understand the process of starting a new business
- To analyse what the entrepreneurial phenomenon is all about
- To find out the key skills that an entrepreneur needs to have
- To explore the sources of inspiration for business ideas
- To get a grasp of the creative process
- To identify business opportunities
- To use tools for designing innovations that benefit the user.
Download here related workbooks before starting the course:
All workbooks in this course please submit to firstname.lastname@example.org (UMA students), email@example.com (MDX students), firstname.lastname@example.org (UNIST students), upon finishing the assignments.
Rafael Ventura Fernández, Ph.D., is Vice-President of Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at University of Málaga. Ventura joined the University of Málaga in 1995 and has been visiting research fellow at the Technical University of Delft (Netherlands) and the University of Stockholm (Sweden). He has received PhD Prize and Spin Off Award in Universidad de Malaga. Ventura teaches entrepreneurship, innovation in business models, social responsibility, economy of culture and new organizational forms derived from the information technology and communications. His research has been presented and published in the proceedings of regional, national and international conferences and in peer-reviewed journals. He has experience managing research projects, postgraduate academic programs and educational innovation projects.
For discussion and course related questions visit the FORUM.
- Lectures 4
- Quizzes 0
- Duration 60 hours
- Skill level All levels
- Language English
- Students 26
- Assessments Self
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