Jayson Bricknell is the Director of Product and Service Development at Westpac and one of our speakers at Product Lab 2019, where he will share his insights on solving real customer problems. Jayson has always loved solving problems, starting back in high school when his love of all things mathematical began! Today we will share with you a snippet of Jayson’s customer problem solving insights – lessons from a large transformation program that you can apply in your day-to-day role as a Product professional!
Parity Consulting:What do you consider a “real” customer problem?
Jayson Bricknell: As product owners it’s important we are solving the right problem – the “real” customer problem. One thing I’m constantly faced with is people having opinions on what the customer problem is.
These opinions are based on their view of the world, but lack the support of real customer experience. Or even worse sometimes they are based purely on what the customer said they WANT without any thought on what they really NEED.
It’s a bit cliché (and also questionable as to whether he said it) but it’s the quote that has been attributed to Henry Ford – “If I had asked people what they wanted; they would have said faster horses.”
“True innovation comes from understanding the NEED”
Parity Consulting:At what point in your career did you come to this realisation? How did you know that you were able to apply it day-to-day?
Jayson Bricknell: I was first exposed to the concept of WANT vs NEED over 20 years ago – at the time it was pretty radical in its thinking; probably not so much today. Businesses were quite successful in delivering what the customer said they wanted – at least in the short term until they realised it’s more important to give customers what they need.
When I was first exposed to the concept, I decided to test it out. At the time I was leading a delivery team responsible for delivering product enhancements for Macquarie Bank’s market leading offerings – Wrap, CMT, Superannuation, Professional Series and Insurance. Once a month I’d go out and meet with financial advisers to understand what needs they had – notice I said NEEDS.
Little did I realise at the time, but what I was doing was teasing out pain points they had with the current solutions and then using my knowledge of the systems and processes to find quick solutions for those needs. Every meeting I’d walk away with at least one change we could make to improve things for our customers.
Parity Consulting: Have you used other methods to solve real customer problems? Is this the best solution for solving customer problems? If so, why?
Jayson Bricknell: Just like Victoria, I’m a bit of a Simon Sinek fan (I have to thank Vic for the chance Parity gave me to see him live last year – he was amazing!). As a product owner, the WHY of the things we are doing is the most important thing – without a clear WHY, the WHAT and the HOW aren’t going to hit the mark. So, understanding the WHY is another related solution which fundamentally aligns with getting behind the WANT to understand the NEED.
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