Posts Tagged CXD

Introducing Ecosystem Thinking

 Ecosystem Thinking = Systems Design + Design Thinking + Holistic Strategy
It seems everywhere I go, everyone is talking about the importance, value and nature of the ecosystem.  It’s especially poignant as I am once again in the middle of one of the most active technology ecosystems in the world, working as a mentor again this week in Google’s Launchpad Accelerator program. In fact, the broader purpose of the program is to cultivate a startup ecosystem globally that engages all key stakeholders in this important sector of the economy.

While I won’t be getting too deep into the Google Launchpad case study today, it is relevant as I sit here in the midst of it, how perfectly it epitomizes what I have been talking about for a very long time. In the room around me right now are many representative stakeholders of the startup ecosystem. Several early stage and growth stage startups, numerous mentors like myself donating there time to help others, Google employees who run the program, Google employees who are here to contribute their domain expertise, a couple of VC partners, several academics and several AI experts.

There are a few foundational aspects to Ecosystem Thinking in my view, but none more paramount then the concept of convening participants for cultivating mutual benefit. The fact that Google does this without any strings attached to the startups, mentors and others beyond that important lesson from philosophers Bill & Ted, “Be Excellent to Each Other”, is literally the icing on the cake.

It is a strategy that many traditional business leaders would consider folly. But this level of openness, of good will and positive intent is the magic that  magnifies the value. No one needs to be here. Even the Googlers are here by choice. Everyone is getting what they need and contributing what they have. We are in it together.

This is another foundational tenet that will be harder for old school companies to support, despite its necessity. The program is designed for the interactions/relationships between participants to provide reciprocity for everyone. As Rachel Happe of Community Roundtable often reminds me, the most important ROI of a community is for people to feel as if they got more out then they put in.

Of course, this is what we learned from bringing Social Media Club to the world. It was also key to my work at Deloitte Digital in the development of the Engagement Curve. A realization that the proverbial lever for creating value and finding market success was the depth and breath of REAL Relationships the company formed with key stakeholders while serving the market. REAL being an acronym for Reciprocal Empathetic Authentic and Long lasting. This is indeed what I feel uniquely here as a part of this Google Launchpad ecosystem, and part of the inspiration for finally writing this today. That sense of belonging, the feeling of being in the right place, with the right people and being valued by the people here as much as I value them. My hope in writing this book on Ecosystem Thinking is to convince hundreds of world leaders from Global 2000 C-Suites to embrace this mindset, but I know that reading about it is no substitute for feeling what I am experiencing right now.

OK, so that is a practical introduction to what I mean by Ecosystem Thinking and some key aspects of it, but what is the key theory? what does it mean?

The Heart of Ecosystem Thinking

Ecosystem Thinking is based on the hypothesis that leaders who optimize their organization’s strategy and operations around the co-creation of shared value will be the biggest winners in their respective markets. This requires leaders to transcend their short term thinking for a more balanced approach to long and short term, with an expanded understanding of who the key stakeholders are. It’s no longer just the investors and shareholders, companies today need to serve the market, not just the stock market. So we accomplish our goals by thinking differently, a mix of systems design, design thinking and holistic strategy, supported by a natural sciences approach to growth and vitality.

Tactically speaking, we have a lot more to share on this, but first and foremost, the work supporting Ecosystem Thinking as I have come to regard it is based on applying experience design and journey mapping to all stakeholder relationships, not merely customers. This means employees, partners, local community leaders, families of employees, alumni and countless others. In our complex world, the only way to engender and earn the trust of so many people simultaneously is to do this intentionally, to come from a position of openness and empathy. A strong ecosystem won’t happen accidentally as it is not human nature to deal with the complexity that this entails.

You see, another foundational belief of ecosystem thinking is that everything matters. So in a world where we strive for simplicity, we often run from this level of complexity, but it is what is required to succesfully compete in today’s world. There are not many people who can contextualize such a wide set of data and disciplines thoroughly to strategically understand and lead an ecosystem, but this is indeed the sort of person that is needed in a role of Ecosystem Architect. I believe they share many character/personality traits in common with community managers, such as genuine concern and the sort of expert relationship management of connecting the right people, and proverbial dots. They also, like myself, typically will have an inter-disciplinary background and as a result, are likely to have a ‘non-traditional’ resume. But I am getting ahead of myself here, so lets wrap this up for now instead.

So What?

In today’s connected society, marked by a near real time market and increasingly higher customer expectations, getting things right is the price of admission in many markets. While we need to understand the sharing economy, the gig economy, the collaborative economy and the virtual economy and how all these evolving aspects of our broader socioeconomic framework impacts our organization, I believe it is the inter-connectedness of all people, information and resources that is truly paramount.

This is why I believe that Ecosystem Thinking will be essential for all organizations, or at least for those companies who are or aspire to be market leaders at scale. In order to enjoy the trust and support of a large market, adopting an ecosystem mindset, and cultivating as many REAL Relationships as possible is a necessity. This is across all aspects of the business – from talent recruitment, to supply chain management, to investments and of course to customer engagement.

To lead an organization that leads a given market is to lead an ecosystem. So studying how this is done well and constantly working to improve is the ultimate key to success. It is also, as we will discuss in the book and over the months ahead, how we reduce costs, increase quality and optimize profitability over the long term.

Are you ready to join this journey? Are you ready to lead an ecosystem?

BRACE Yourself.

HELP Others.

EACH Moment Matters.

This is the mantra of Ecosystem Architects and the change agents who will lead this emerging set of strategies and tactics. Are you ready? Let’s get to work.

Side Note: I’ve been working on this for so long but have been waiting to write and share this introduction till I managed to mold the thoughts into a more linear narrative. After receiving some great validation this week talking to other mentors here at the Google Launchpad AI/Machine Learning event in NYC, I realized I just need to write and refne it all later.

I’ve done a lot of work on this from my early startups to building the platform for the Palm Economy to building a global community of industry professionals. I’ve done a lot of thinking. I’ve spoken to hundreds of experts and practitioners. I was even reminded by my former counselor and mentor Matt Law that Deloitte has a partner focused on Ecosystems now – their report on Ecosystems is here. What’s written above isn’t the full story, it’s not complete, it’s not neat and it’s not ready for prime time. It is ready for constructive criticism, your insights, and your stories.

So this is the official beginning of the book which I’ve been developing across my whole life. To help more people see the world of business, and society more broadly, through the holistic lens with which I have been blessed/cursed. To share models, strategies and tactics that will provide valuable sense making. And ultimately, as the book is currently framed, to provide global business leaders with an understanding of the new mindsets, methods and measures required for optimizing business results in the modern economy.

Thank you for joining us on this journey.

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#CXDNow – What’s needed, what’s next?

CXDNow with Tobias Rose
The time for customer experience design is now! In this final episode of our premiere web series CXDNow, host Chris Heuer interviews Tobias Rose, writer, designer and entrepreneur. Tobias has led a fascinating life, from his early professional life in the wine industry to a chance meeting with a monk who asked for his help with a reservoir for their village that lead to his career as a CX Designer. In the first episode we learn of Tobias’ origin story. How his trip to Cambodia resulted in a nonprofit that forever changed a small village and the people who live there. It’s a fascinating tale of one designers realization of the importance of empathy in all we do. Through his story you will see all of the key characteristics that are necessary for someone who wants to be a leading customer experience designer.

It a longer format part two, Tobias is joined by Sarah Grzybowski from IBM’s Journey Designer team to discuss the future of CX design, what we need and what we see coming next. We get some sneak peaks into the IBM Journey Designer product and its future as a management dashboard to optimize the customer experience across their journey.  It’s clear as we discuss in this episode, that technology is only part of the solution. What’s really needed is a greater depth of empathy across the entire business landscape, so that we finally embrace radical customer centricity instead of merely paying it lip service.

In this our last episode of the series one for fall/winter 2015 we were able to touch upon many of the key pieces of advice that everyone needs to be a great CX designer. We will be posting some more recaps of this content and different educational snippets over the course of the next several weeks. Join us again in January 2016 for our next series and a further exploration of customer experience design now. Thank you so much for joining us and special thanks to IBM Commerce and the Journey Designer team for their support of the series.

 

Need help creating design moving customer experiences? IBM Journey Designer enables you and your team to collaboratively visualize journeys, set shared marketing goals, and create and refine tailored experiences for dozens of priority segments. Learn more on this blog post or try it at no cost at ibm.com/journey-designer.


Tobias Rose Interview – From Global Change Maker to CX Designer

Tobias Rose & Sarah Grzybowski – What’s Needed, What’s Next

SPONSORED BY IBM JOURNEY DESIGNERIBM Commerce Blog logo

For more about the #CXDNow series, why I am doing it and where we are headed, read this background post.

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Get Ready for Customer Experience Design Now! #CXDNow

#CXDNow Premiere - Chris Heuer Interviews Brian Solis

[Update – watch the Brian Solis interview from October 3, 2015 now]

I’d like to invite you to join me on a journey to explore the state of Customer Experience Design in a new series I am producing and hosting, #CXDNow. Sponsored in part by IBM’s new Journey Designer product, together we will endeavor to “advance the field” through conversations with subject matter experts and leading practitioners. Further, as a community of practitioners, we will collaboratively work on developing a journey map for my new community project, We Are The Solution, putting the principles into practice in real time, together.

The series kicks off this Friday October 2, 2015 at 4pm PDT with a live Blab interview featuring Brian Solis, whose upcoming book “X – The Experience When Business Meets Design” dives very deeply into this subject. Together we will set the stage for the following six episodes to explore what CXD is, why we need it and how it is done. Then next Wednesday October 7, 2015 at noon PDT, we will discuss “The Need for Customer Experience Design and Journey Maps”. During that show, I will be interviewing Doug Folds, the product manager for IBM’s new Journey Designer product and one of the sponsors of the show to discuss his plans for bringing the practice of Customer Experience Design into the mainstream as a #NewWayToEngage.

If you are a customer experience designer, a journey mapper, an omni-channel marketer, a startup founder, a product manager or just someone who is interested in understanding this important topic further, #CXDNow is where you will expand your knowledge and hone your skills. Over the course of the series we will develop a body of work for the community that examines the business case, the core concepts and the specific practices that will enable you to design great experiences that enable your customers to find success on their journey.

While CXD has been around for quite some time now (often referred to as simply #CX, a cousin to #UX), it is just now finally coming into it’s own, hence the name of the show, #CXDNow. The Intention is to not only address the current state of the field but also to impress upon the business community the urgency for adopting these practices NOW. Given the soon to be released book, “X – The Experience of Business Meets Design” from my friend and colleague Brian Solis, and the other increase in interest and focus on this subject from organizations like IBM and others, the time to better understand this subject is definitely upon us.

I first began exploring the idea of journey mapping while working as the Chief of eBusiness at the United States Mint back in 1999, where I was charged with digital marketing responsibilities for the numismatist community (aka coin collectors). It was there that I developed what I called the “Customer Experience Lifecycle” (below), which later lead to my development of the Engagement Matrix while working with Palm and ultimately the Engagement Wheel while working with the American Heart Association while serving as a Social Business leader at Deloitte Digital.

Customer Experience LIfecycle v.5

What I came to realize was that organizations needed to go beyond customer-centricity, especially given how much lip service had been paid to that idea over the years without practical change in attitude or action. Now as a result of our increasingly transparent, connected market, it’s time for radical action, it’s time to embrace greater empathy, not only for customers, but also for employees, contractors and partners. In fact, as I think of #CXDNow, I believe there are three primary pillars that need to be explored:

  1. The business value of customer empathy
  2. Design thinking applied to the overall customer experience
  3. How we work together to create greater success

While each show in the series and posts to this blog will address its own set of issues, I am, as is often the case, looking at this opportunity more holistically. At the end of the series, it is my hope that we will have produced a unique collection of insights and resources that can be utilized to bring Customer Experience Design to more organizations and more opportunities to customer experience designers as a result.

The show will take the form of a weekly conversation with leading experts on Blab.IM. If you are a customer experience designer interested in being a guest on the show, or someone working to advance the field, please complete this simple form so we may consider you as a future guest.

Through the use of the hashtag #CXDNow, we will curate a set of resources for practitioners and collectively discuss a key question each week. The media produced will be gathered into multiple blog posts for posterity and further conversation right here on ChrisHeuer.com. Templates (aka Canvases) will be produced and shared that embody the best advice from practitioners.

While I am not anticipating building another Social Media Club for CXD, the possibilities of what we can do together as a community are endless. That said, I am seeking your support and input to solve a massively important social problem through our work on the journey maps we are developing for We Are the Solution. Together, we will explore how can we build a movement of activism focused on cooperation in the development of reasonable solutions, instead of activism through opposition.

I am grateful to my friends at IBM, PureMatter and from across the Social Media Club community for the opportunity to bring together many of my diverse talents and interest in this series, and look forward to expanding awareness of the importance of Customer Experience Design as well as the skills of its diverse practitioners. So join me this Friday afternoon at 4pm PDT as I interview Brian Solis and again next Wednesday October 7, 2015 at noon PDT as we launch our journey towards #CXDNow.

To get started, the question of the week for you to consider, “Why do we need Customer Experience Design now more than ever?” Tweet your responses back to me using the hashtag #CXDNow and we will discuss them on the show.

Need help creating design moving customer experiences? IBM Journey Designer enables you and your team to collaboratively visualize journeys, set shared marketing goals, and create and refine tailored experiences for dozens of priority segments. Learn more on this blog post or try it at no cost at ibm.com/journey-designer.

SPONSORED BY IBM JOURNEY DESIGNERIBM Commerce Blog logo

 

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