Session 3 – How Product Managers can effectively use Customer Centred Design

By Posted on : 5 Apr 2018 0 Comments

Session 3 – How Product Managers can effectively use Customer Centred Design
Todd Alcock, Senior Consultant at MLC

Design Thinking – valuable thoughts:
“The job of the Product Manager is to create a product that is valuable, useable, and feasible”
Marty Cagan, Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love

“First users of a product, rather than the manufacturer, are responsible for over 75% of breakthrough inventions”

Von Hippel, Lead Users: A source of Novel Production Concepts
• Customer Centric Design, Customer Centred Design, Design Thinking, is not new – it is in fact one of the most widely adopted product development strategies of the last two decades but only really being adopted now!

• Slow adoption of customer centric design over the years with companies – takes time to get everyone onboard.

• Can be time consuming and high cost to implement – however if it is done correctly, it will be beneficial for a company’s growth and progress.

Video on IDEO

• One conversation at a time

• Focus on one topic and restrain yourself from criticising another person’s idea

• Enlighten trial and error – fail often to succeed sooner!

• Key elements – collect the information to go to the experts/customers. This is key to getting a process started

Why is Design Thinking important?
• It reduces risk associated with launching new ideas
• It helps organisations learn faster
• It generates solutions that are innovative, not just incremental

3 Essential aspects of Design Thinking
• Empathy (human centred) – this is essential to delivering innovative, customer-centric solutions through design thinking

o Empathy enables us to understand another person’s circumstance

o Puts us in a customer’s shoes to experience what they are feeling

o Leads to us being able to find innate struggle born out of the user frustration

• Ideation (generating lots of ideas)

o Lots of ideas

o Be non-critical

o Be bold

o Everyone has a voice

o Leads to endless opportunities discovered with a focus on just a few

• Experimentation

o Experiment without fear:

• Fail fast (failure is acceptable)

• Find success and build

o Leads to less wasted time and effort in trying to get it right or perfect

Done right, Design Thinking….
• Captures the mindset and needs of the people you are creating for
• Paints a picture of the opportunities based on the needs of these people
• Can start to anchor on your design and offers
• When faced with a problem, instead of the mindset of I have to solve this, what question can you ask that might move you forward or help you understand the situation better?

• Research:

o During this phase, we strive to hear the voice of the customer.

o Qualitative research techniques are used to extract goals, needs and product requirements desired by the customer.

• Concept:

o The concept phase uses the insights gathered from research to create desirable, new concepts that are validated through ongoing consultation with customers.

• Design:

o The design phase delivers a technically feasible and commercially viable prototype that meets the needs, goals or wants of the target customer.

As a Product Manager, you can:
• Spend time observing subject matter;

• Interview an individual;

• Conduct a group interview;

• Ask your target market to document their options;

• Cross-fertilise using solution design from another industry;

• Perform secondary research, whilst leveraging existing product data and subject matter expertise within your organisation.

Final points:
• There are limitation to customer centered design – it is not strictly true that customers always know what is best for them!

• The best Product Managers are not only familiar with the process and tools of customer centered design but are also aware of its limitations and embrace innovation through alternate design processes when needed.

• Key is to solve a customer problem as well as solving a business problem.

• Don’t be afraid to go to the experts or the end-user to get the process started.