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Welcome to Innovation Territory - ProductCamp Vancouver 2013


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Cynthia DuVal along with colleagues Stewart Rogers and Elizabeth Yeung describe a design ethnography and innovation discovery project we did for a software company that resulted in a 5-year innovation roadmap.

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Welcome to Innovation Territory - ProductCamp Vancouver 2013

  1. 1. Welcome to… INNOVATION TERRITORYWelcome to our session... Welcome to Innovation Territory • Over the next 40 minutes Stewart Rogers, Liz Yeung and I are going to talk you through the innovation research project we produced for a software company while introducing you to the notion of “innovation territory” • I’ve been an innovation researcher for technology and product design companies for some years now and I’ve learned to recognize when we are near innovation territory and how to explore it • You’ll leave our session with an overview of our innovation research project and knowing that there are tools and tricks that can help you recognize when innovation opportunity is under foot • You’ll have a good sense of how two product managers ran a design ethnography project and delivered an innovation roadmap that changed their company forever. • Sometimes companies have to ask tough questions. Maybe yours is grappling with some of these right now. • IS OUR BUSINESS SUSTAINABLE? • Why aren’t our customers behaving as we expected? • Who are our customers? • How is our software being used? • Why are our best customers mad at us? • Are we GROWING? • Is our company AT RISK? • DuVal Ethnographic helps companies investigate and answer these kinds of questions and apply research results to achieve business transition and growth goals
  2. 2. AGENDA Introductions Work process  Getting Started  Gathering Intelligence  Examining & Testing Assumptions  Asking the Right Kinds of Questions  Designing & Testing Concepts  Producing Results Questions & Group Conversation 2
  3. 3. Our story HOW WE FOUND OUR WAY INTO INNOVATION TERRITORY AND CREATED A ROADMAP TO NEW BUSINESS VALUE 3My goal is to inspire you with new knowledge and ways of thinking that challenge whatever your status quo happens to be.I don’t know if it is the same for you but when I see challenges to the status quo, I’m interested. Disruptive inventions and businessmodels, avant garde art, crazy hair and new ways of dressing, these kinds of things capture my attention and I begin to wonderthings like “Why do I think that’s weird? What does that invention mean for humanity? Would that business model work for mycompany? What does it feel like to have hair like that? I like to work on the cutting edge where innovation happens; challenges tothe status quo put me in an innovation state of mind.
  4. 4. Session goals SHARE OUR INNOVATION RESEARCH EXPERIENCE & ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS 4challenge your status quo
  5. 5. Core team TWO PRODUCT MANAGERS ONE DESIGN ETHNOGRAPHER ONE VP SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT ASSISTED BY NUMEROUS INTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS AND CUSTOMERS 5My colleagues Stewart Rogers and Elizabeth Yeung are product managers and I am a design ethnographer. We’re going to describe aninnovation research project we did together that resulted in a 5 year innovation roadmap for a software company.I’m a cultural psychologist, design ethnography consultant and founding director of DuVal Ethnographic Research Center & Change Agency. Ihelp companies that need deep and actionable customer insights and the skills to apply these insights and resolve solve complex businessproblems.Stewart Rogers - Senior Product Manager - Stewart had high level responsibility for the project and participated as an advisor and part timecollaboratorElizabeth Yeung - Product Manager - Liz had contract negotiation, project manager and full time collaborator responsibilities on the projectand has been product managing various innovation projects we discovered, since completing the researchVP of Software DevelopmentInternal stakeholder consultantsKey customer informants
  6. 6. Our project HOW DO WE GROW? DESIGN ETHNOGRAPHY INNOVATION RESEARCH 6The word ethnography means “writing about culture”in my practice I take design ethnography to mean doing field research to bring internal business culture into alignment withcustomer culture applying research findings to strategic business goals.Design has a broad meaning; it can mean designing a strategic plan, designing a product, a service, a process...Culture means people, their goals, their activities, their values, the things they create, how they work together and how these thingschange over time and across contexts.In this presentation we are talking from our experience working together on a specific project and will be referring to the projectwithout identifying our client or our informants by name or describing our results in specific terms.
  7. 7. What about you? WHAT BRINGS YOU TO OUR SESSION? HOW MANY OF YOU ARE PRODUCT MANAGERS? WHAT OTHER PROFESSIONS DO WE HAVE REPRESENTED HERE? HOW MANY HAVE INNOVATION DISCOVERY AND DEVELOPMENT RESPONSIBILITIES? 7I’ve made the assumption that many of you are being asked to help your companies innovate and that our story will be of somevalue to you. So let me check and see if my assumption is correct. Are you being asked to help your companies innovate? Show ofhands?Alternatively, are you telling you company to innovate?
  8. 8. OUR RESEARCH PROCESSProduct Write & Gather Analyze Data Concept Design Report ProductManager maintain Intelligence & Test ManagerPlanning plans ImplementationTrigger Consulting Strategic Answer Enhancements, Findings & Apply findingsInvestigate Business research new products, related to businessPlan Goals questions services, innovation goalsCompleteParticipate Project Internal Customer innovation Design Thinking roadmap Weekly Business perspectives Insights opportunities Synthetic Interim Results Thinking Final Customer Innovation Artistic ThinkingManage to budget and schedule and maintain documentation and data archive experience Opportunities Narrative and graphic representationsIterate research questions, analyses and concept designs and tests as new data are collectedIntegrate research mentoring into everyday research activities as project progressesIdentify and define innovation opportunities that will increase revenue over 5-years 8
  9. 9. TRICK #1 - GATHER INTELLIGENCE 9Documenting internal business knowledge about your customers is a good place to start innovation research projects.There is a distribution of knowledge about your customers that exists across people and departments in your company.Collect it!Analyzing what it is you know and what it is you assume helps you discover what it is you don’t know.What you don’t know is where you’ll find innovation opportunity. Use interviews, workshops and casual meetings • Who are your customers? • What do you know about about them and how? They aren’t renewing all of their software licenses. • We know there are nontechnical users but we don’t know what they do. What don’t these brilliant people know about their customers? • Based on these findings we later (in field studies) looked closer at the custom development customers were doing that replaced some of our software functionality. Innovation Territory • We focused on how people were working together in teams. Innovation Territory • We discovered where in customer companies non technical users were employed and what they were doing that was different than power users Innovation territory
  10. 10. TRICK #2 – EXAMINE & TEST YOUR ASSUMPTIONS 10When we went into the field to interview and observe customers to examine the assumptions we had documented, some were confirmed and some were challenged.Example assumptions and research results... • Our new suite of software tools is the solution that our customers need. • No. It was too complex, too expensive and the customers were developing their own solutions. They wanted the functionality but not the implementation or the high cost • Our software user experience design is suitable for highly technical users but is too complex for non-technical users to learn and adopt. • Challenged - power users could use the software but it required improvements that weren’t being made, non-technical users were relying on the power users to help them, one reason that licenses were not being renewed • Our customers are introverts with negligible social skills who tend to work alone. • No - we clearly recognized that people in this work culture required mature social interaction and communication skills and these informed the innovation roadmap and opened up new opportunities for the company that changed their strategy and fiscal health • It can be very expensive to design software based on erroneous assumptions about who our customers are, how they behave and what they value. • By designing our interviews and observations to test the validity of assumptions we were able to confirm them as true and begin asking, why? This detailed problems spaces and opened new innovation territory to explore. • We solved the problems by running new knowledge and problems to solve through design thinking and concept design exercises • Learning to think through the difference between customer knowledge and assumptions about them is a valuable skill that needs to be applied consistently as people and culture change over time • We need to know who people are and what they value and be able to see the world from their perspectives, walk in their shoes, feel what they need in our bones • This is what ethnographic research can do for us
  11. 11. TRICK #3 - ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS FOR THE PURPOSE 11All ethnographic work take advantage of open ended questions and iterative interview deisgn to refine understanding and continually control for confirmation bias.This is a very different approach than asking 10 people the same set of 12 questions.We only ask closed questions to write profiles of people so that we can compare them on certain measuresWe us open ended questions as stepping stones into innovation territory • Ask the right questions for the purpose... • Shout out some things that you would like to know about your customers and phrase it as a question... • Write research questions to align with business goals. Example business goal: Identify and define innovation opportunities for our company that will increase our revenue progressively over the next five years. • Phrase them as one simple question not a string of questions. • White them so that you can craft a set of research strategies that will enable you to answer the questions. • Phrase them in a way that will allow you to measure your results. • NOTE: Research questions are not the same as interview questions • What do you need that we don‘t know about? (not a good question) • Our strategy will be to use observational interviews with customers using our software in their every day work activities. • We found 20 enhancements that will increase the usefulness of our product for technical users and one new product that meets the needs of non-technical auditors. • We designed 5 innovative new products that emerged from a customer insights analysis combined with additional product management research into internal core competencies, competitive analyses and market trajectory research.
  12. 12. TRICK #4 - ITERATIVE CONCEPT DESIGN & TEST 12Concept design and testing is an important part of the innovation discovery and development process. I cannot stress enough how important it isthat concept design and testing be part of your innovation discovery activities. Yes it takes time and talent and budget to validation test yourinsights and iterate your design concepts. Itʼs well worth doing right.
  13. 13. SUMMARY  Described how two product managers produced a design ethnography project to discover innovation opportunities  Talked through some tricks you can use to enter into innovation territory at will  Shared business results of the design ethnography project 13We hope we’ve bumped you out of your comfort zone a little bit and have inspired you to be thinking about how you mightchallenge the status quo at your company by learning to recognize, enter and explore innovation territory.You can do a project like ours and help your company grow through innovation, customer insights, new markets and design.
  14. 14. Now let’s think together about your project related questions… QUESTIONS GROUP CONVERSATION 14
  15. 15. CONTACT ME Cynthia DuVal DuVal Ethnographic Research Center & Change Agency 503-957-5158 Skype: Cynder08 The Big Idea Lab 114 E Chestnut Street Bellingham, Washington 98225 15