Digital effectiveness, pt 1: Do the right thing

The customer isn't always right, but they're always first

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It would be odd to find an organisation which turned its nose up at a process which promised to deliver digital products or platforms that:

  • prioritise activity more effectively
  • return value more quickly
  • reduce waste
  • encourage a consumer-centric approach.

This is exactly what Product Thinking offers. But how quickly are businesses taking to this new way of working? And how smoothly is the transition taking place?

In this article, we use the recent research carried out by Code Computerlove in collaboration with EConsultancy to start answering these questions.

And we’re specifically looking at the results in the context of one of the three key ‘pillars’ which support Product Thinking; ‘Do the right thing’.

That is, aligning what is exactly right from a business perspective with what is 100% right from the consumer’s viewpoint.

This means there is a sharp focus on long term outcomes – not short term deliverables. So it’s not just project thinking - where a ‘thing’ is delivered (hopefully on time and on budget). But rather, a prioritisation of overall business results.

And it’s more than simply a process; it’s a complete mind set. With ‘Do the right thing’ defined by human-centred design – which insists on the customer’s needs being the final word in the decision-making process, not the loudest voice round the board room table.

Doing the right thing? Or just saying the right things?

What our research told us

Our research respondents were split into two groups labelled ‘Top Performers’ and ‘Mainstream’; and it won’t be any surprise to learn that the top performing companies were much more likely to putting more innovative ideas about the future shape of business into practice.

However, there was some very clear consensus across all respondents.

97% agreed that focusing on user needs leads to better business outcomes

And

77% agreed they should put user needs at the heart of our development

That’s where things diverged though. And it became obvious that although many companies thought everything Product Thinking stands for was the way forward, they weren’t actually actively following that path.

Because only 1% of mainstream companies agreed strongly that their ‘organisation focuses more on long-term goals than short-term targets’ – a direct opposite of ‘Do the right thing’.

In fact, an emphasis on short-term business priorities was given as the reason for around half of all digital projects failing.

This contrasts with 68% of top performers actively focusing on increasing the lifetime value of the customers.

Doing the right thing in practice: let’s take a trip to Center Parcs

Center Parcs is already an extraordinary success story – with a 97% occupancy rate every single day of the year!

So a few short-term tweaks around the edges wouldn’t do: we had to completely get under the skin of their different target audiences to find the insights we’d need to totally overhaul their digital presence.

Taking Product Thinking’s need to be ‘human-centric’ to its furthest, but logical, conclusion, we by-passed traditional research groups and incentivised questionnaires. Instead, we sent in an undercover team to complete a totally immersive ethnographic study.

This helped us understand what their audiences truly wanted – not what we assumed they wanted to hear. And this led to us creating:

  • An new experience map – a high-level 360° view of the complete service, used to identify opportunities for innovation, not simply digital deliverables
  • A fresh new art direction style – a visual manifestation of the strategy which brought ‘your place in the forest’ alive for customers
  • Flexible prototypes – design sprints to provide experiences for audience testing which replaced wireframes in the process.

Has all this got you thinking about Product Thinking?

‘Do the right thing’ is just one pillar in the complete Product Thinking structured approach to developing digital products and platforms.

You can read our complete overview of this direct route to digital transformation.

Or, you can take a more in-depth look at the other two pillars to get the whole story.

And if you’d like your own copy of the complete ‘Driving digital effectiveness with Product Thinking’ research report, we’ll be happy to send you a copy.


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