Chefs Performing Brain Surgery and Rain Dances Creating Crops a Plenty

Image of Hydrofoil for Mental Model Blog Post - Delightability, LLC.Imagine for a moment that your mental model for creating rain was dance. Or imagine that a boat is propelled through the water by the collective thoughts of the passengers. Sounds a little ridiculous right? Not having an accurate mental model to explain how things work or how to make decisions and orient yourself to the world can be very counterproductive. Yet many leaders, and the organizations that give them permission to lead, have mental models that simply don’t work. People are dancing, but the rain never comes and the boat seems to be heading in a direction that few, if any, benefit from. Worse yet, some leaders may not even have a mental model at all. Instead, they hang on to patterns and biases they’ve developed or inherited that appeared to work for a time, at least until they don’t.

When you get stuck, you lack a mental model of how to proceed, similar to a 1st grader trying to tackle an algebra problem or a chef trying to perform brain surgery.

As individuals we eventually face challenges that call us to act but the situation hasn’t provided us with any mental models of how to proceed. We face this in our personal lives as well as our professional lives. Though many situations we face in our personal lives might be predictable – as many have experienced them before – they are nonetheless new to us at the moment e.g. love, death, marriage, divorce, childbirth, job loss, 50th wedding anniversary, accidents, graduation, etc.

Mental models are all around us. We use maps to find places, we have mental models of what grocery stores look like so we can navigate aisles and make purchases.  We also have mental models around how to wear glasses and cut a piece of wood using a handsaw. We get visual cues from those that we observe doing those same things. But, do you know how your organization actually works. Specifically how does it make and keep promises to its customers and other stakeholders? What is your mental model for that?

Here is a fun assignment: Gather a small group of people from your organization.  Have each of them draw on a single sheet of paper how the organization makes and keeps promises to its various stakeholders. Then share it and discuss the differences.  Alternative assignment if the first one is too threatening.  Ask a child to explain how a phone works or to plan the next family vacation and see what unfolds.

For a tour of mental models and recipes for creating Happier Customers and Healthier Organizations sign up to be the first to know when my next book becomes available, The Experience Design BLUEPRINT: Recipes for Creating Happier Customers and Healthier Organizations.

 

Edsel. Enron. Blockbuster. Borders…. Is Your Corner Bookstore Next to be Gone and Do You Care?

booksToday 10,700 people employed by Borders will begin losing their jobs as the company plans to shutter it remaining 399 stores and liquidate the entire business.  Once considered a staple, the big chain bookstore might be the flour for a recipe that no longer gets baked.

For more info read the article from the online edition of the Wall Street Journal.

cup - choices - reasons to gather at starbucksStarbucks took something dreadfully boring and turned it into a mega Continue reading “Edsel. Enron. Blockbuster. Borders…. Is Your Corner Bookstore Next to be Gone and Do You Care?”

Finding Voila: 10 Ways to Increase Creativity and Put More Spark in What You Do

Insights are everywhere and nowhere at the same time.  LZoltar at the Santa Monica Pier Californiaike the road you travel daily to get to where your going, you pass by people,  buildings, and landscape that seldom take notice.  That is until you do.   Life happens, context changes and then voila, something that was already there and invisible, suddenly appears as if out of nowhere.  It now makes sense; it fits and spurs you to action. Now you call, you buy, you have a different conversation, you do something different. But this doesn’t have to be accidental. You can make this happen.  You can make Voila  become part of your everyday.

You can make Voila  become part of your everyday.

So what spurs this momentary insight and subsequent action?  Few would argue that children appear Continue reading “Finding Voila: 10 Ways to Increase Creativity and Put More Spark in What You Do”

Road Signs & Signals Along the Customer Journey

bridge out sign customer experience DelightabilityHow are you doing with customers? How do you know? Which touchpoints matter the most in the customer journey, to your organization and to your customers? Are they the same? Do you even know what the customer journey looks like? Have you mapped the customer experience across all touchpoints? What does the conversation in your organization look like surrounding this?

It turns out that much of what I’m describing is invisible. For most, Key Performance Indicators related to the customer’s experience largely reflect, how many people were exposed, how many bought, and how many returned or got help. But, those are only base indicators. In a world with a new customer high bar you need to go beyond base indicators. You need to understand what is important from your customers perspective, when, and where. You need to understand this at each touchpoint. “Yeah yeah, customer service has that,” you say. But they really don’t until you dig for it. And when it isn’t easy to dig for it, you don’t.  Likewise for your prospective customer. They don’t want to dig either.

“don’t be fooled into thinking that is good enough”

Prospective customers are motivated to do something when they arrive on your digital or analog doorstep Continue reading “Road Signs & Signals Along the Customer Journey”

Do you Have the Courage?

people need courage

I had the good fortune of speaking with Yves Behar after a talk he gave at the Seattle Public Library.  In his talk about Design for Good he either mentioned or hinted at repeatedly, that people need courage. I jokingly asked him if there was some sort of courage camp that these people attended, or if they found him.  I seriously doubted that Yves, the founder of fuseproject, a brand and product experience company, was cold calling big brands and governments, spurring them to action.  He said, the thing about courageous people is that they are looking for solutions.

Here is a sampling of what was made possible when others thought it impossible.
XO computer and Yves Behar at Seattle Public LibaryOne Laptop per Child.
You’ve heard about it.  But, did you know that every primary school student in Uruguay has an XO computer.  Conventional thinkers thought this to be impossible.  They also thought there was a dearth of talent to maintain and upgrade the computers.  It turns out that XO computers were designed for in country personnel with little training to be able to upgrade the operating system, which they have done many times.

It all started because of a question

“What if we eliminated the shoebox?”
It took 21 months for fuseproject and Puma to eliminate the shoebox.  They also made the entire prescription open source.  Other shoe companies can follow suit without fear of encroaching on patents and other intellectual property.  Good for the consumer, good for the company, and good for the planet.

Getting a laptop into every child’s hand and eliminating the shoebox were both big changes to the status quo.  Nothing happens until somebody thinks and acts differently. People involved in these projects had the courage to challenge the status quo, ask questions, and explore new territory.

Do you have the courage to make the impossible, possible?  What is your question?  How long will your idea take?  A lot longer if you don’t get started and infinitely longer if you don’t begin with a question.

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