Project Out of Control?

 

Have you ever felt as though a project had a life of its own, running like freight train down the tracks.  Like watching a glass fall off the counter, sometimes we feel powerless in our projects, even the very ones that we initiate.  The feeling can be even worse if you are jumping aboard another person’s project.

Personalities and biases will definitely begin to come out when you are working on a project with other people.  Some people are mindful of execution and stay very disciplined whereas others may abandon the current plan because new information leads to more promising possibilities.  Sometimes projects are completed on time and on budget with their intended outcomes but, other at other times, they are not.  And the ride, isn’t necessarily enjoyable.  Remember that freight train image?  When a  project is really out of control it feels more like a FRIGHT train.

What is needed is a better conversation.  Sometimes you do have to slow down, in order to speed up.

Getting on The Same Page

We use the Big Picture in our practice to communicate our ideas, get on the same page and move forward together.  Using the Big Picture taps the visual thinking parts of your brain and allows you to have more productive conversations.  So when people are checked out, going down the wrong path, or the project feels out of control, slow down.  Grab the Big Picture, outline the plan using sticky notes to represent the big chunky steps and have a better, more inclusive conversation.   Those working with you will thank you for a more enjoyable ride and together you’re much more likely to reach your intended destination.

About The Author

Greg also authored The Experience Design Blueprint, a book about designing better experiences and then making them come true. The Big Picture is discussed further in:

  • Ch 12: The Three Psychological Zones
  • Ch 13: Taking Flight

Gregory Olson’s also authored, L’ impossi preneurs: A Hopeful Journey Through Tomorrow, a light-hearted and deadly serious book about a brighter future where we live more meaningful lives, governments invest in people and sustainable progress, and technology serves humans.

image of Greg-Olson-Managing Director of Delightability and author of Experience Design BLUEPRINTGregory Olson founded strategy and design firm Delightability, LLC. with the belief that if you delight customers then success will follow. He believes that we all have the potential to do better, as individuals, organizations, and communities, but sometimes we need a little help.  Gregory also serves as a volunteer board member for Oikocredit Northwest, a support association for social and impact investor, Oikocredit International.

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”

Delight-O-Meter: An Innovation in Measuring Customer Delight

Delight O Meter reveal from DelightabilitySo how do you know if you are delighting customers? Is there something more effective than the revenue yardstick or monitoring what people say on social networking? Customer satisfaction surveys don’t seem to work; people say they are satisfied and then leave anyway.

It turns out that most organizations don’t know if they are delighting customers. For those that do, they still lack a systematic framework to manage delight. Customer delight is not customer satisfaction plus Continue reading “Delight-O-Meter: An Innovation in Measuring Customer Delight”

Want a better Bottom Line, Deliver a better Customer Experience

Hindsight is 20/20.

fire fighting- crisis management -organizational readiness- Delightability

How many of us kick ourselves for not purchasing a boatload of Apple stock a few years back? We tend to put off taking actions, not because we don’t see the upside potential, but because we’re busy fighting fires. Here is a tip you can bank on. Happy customers are your only source of long-term revenue for your organization. Our recent economic downturn has compounded the problem; organizations responded by cutting budgets and by diverting attention inward. You may be kicking yourself down the road when Continue reading “Want a better Bottom Line, Deliver a better Customer Experience”

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.

Need help?  How do we HelpContact Us.

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Innovation Squelchers: Pattern Thinking, Biases, and Gator Brains

primitive brainOur primitive brains establish patterns that for the most part keep us safe and out of trouble.  This has kept our ancestors out of the jaws of wild beasts.  This is also what happens when you apply your vehicle brakes when it looks like the speeding car is going to plow through the intersection and smash into you.  You see the pattern and act accordingly. Our brain creates and recognizes Continue reading “Innovation Squelchers: Pattern Thinking, Biases, and Gator Brains”

Using the F Word at Work and How not to get Jujitsued

redbox and blockbuster go head to headThink about the culture of your organization.  Are you allowed to fail, is it encouraged, learned from, or it is something to be avoided at all costs.  Recognize that as organizations mature they become less tolerant of risky, unproven, new ventures that have uncertain potential.

In public companies, beholden to the perceived needs of investors, this is troublesome.  While these skittish companies and the leaders that drive them focus on short term needs of investors, more fearless upstarts are redefining industries and taking away customer mind share.

This explains in part why the traditional car rental companies did not recognize Continue reading “Using the F Word at Work and How not to get Jujitsued”

I Pray for Your Failure

walk before you runGosh. That sounds mean.  Why would you say that?  Like a child learning to walk, uninstructed, unencumbered by rules and the walkers operational manual, we all need to run experiments, prototype and get onto the business of walking so someday we can master running.   Babies run experiments and eventually they turn many failed attempts into the successful first walk.  They go on to refine their walk and eventually master running, skipping, jumping and a host of related activities.  In our adult lives we sometimes forget how naturally wired we are to do this.  We erect and adhere to rules, systems, and process even when the situation doesn’t call for it.   Failure is OK; it can be really good for you and your organization.  I pray that you fail and then learn from it to make a difference.

If you can’t walk, then you can’t run.  And running is exactly what you need to do to out execute the competition and to sense, satisfy, and delight the needs and wants of your customers.

Have courage to create a new conversation.  Take a risk. Build a prototype.  Test it for value.  If you don’t fail – great.  But it you do, share the failing, learn from it, and move on. Think of all of the wonderfulness in the world that we wouldn’t experience if people didn’t have the courage to face potential failure.

Now go out and fail at something to make the world a better place.