Shift: 5 lessons for changing a corporate culture


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Changing a corporate culture is not an instant process... it's a shift, rather than a switch. Learn 5 lessons based on a change happening at Intuit for how to shift a corporate culture. Slides used in a Web Seminar for UPA on September 7, 2011.

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  • Hi, My name is Wendy Castleman, and I’m here to talk with you today about shifting corporate cultures. Thank you for joining today. I know that virtual seminars are somewhat different than live talks, so I thought I’d share what I look like.
  • Hi! This is me.As I mentioned before, My name is Wendy Castleman, and I am a Principal Experience Design Research Scientist at Intuit. I’m going to talk with you today about corporate culture. As UX researchers and designers, we often find ourselves in cultures that aren’t all that conducive to us doing our best work.
  • Last year, in fact, I gave a talk on this topic at UPA, highlighting cultures that get in your way.That talk was about how corporate cultures can keep you from designing great solutions. But, although people loved the talk, they wanted more advice on how to change the culture, so I am going to try to address that today.
  • First, let me step back and clarify what I mean about culture. Culture is the expectations, attitudes and mythology embodied by the culture we are in. In the case of corporate cultures, this reflects itself in the standards, processes, past work, and motives of the people you work with. A culture can be authoritarian, collaborative, encourage or discourage creativity, etc. It influences the way that you work, the decisions that you make, and ultimately the products and services you offer.
  • At the end of the talk last year, I asked: What can you do to make your culture a better place to design in? This is the point where I’m starting from for this talk.
  • your culture may not be what you want it to be.  Should you just live with it? Perhaps. Should you move away from your company? Only if culture change isn't possible.  Should you change your culture? Maybe. You have a choice to make. If you choose to change your culture, my own story might be helpful. Let me tell you the story of my company, and a culture change that we are going through.
  • The key idea I’m going to express today is that culture change is not a switch… it’s a shift. Things don’t happen all at once, but over time you can direct the evolution of your culture, which will result in a noticeable shift.
  • Let’s go back in time. The year is 2007. That’s the year that Apple introduced the iPhone.
  • This was Intuit’s Logo at the time. Intuit wasn’t a bad culture in 2007, especially for a UX person…
  • We had solid products with a long history
  • And, In 2007, we had a lot of corporate commitment to customer research, particularly focused on making our products as EASY as possible. We had state of the art Usability Labs and most of our business units had UX researchers who conducted a lot of usability tests. We also went on a lot of site visits to see and talk with people using our products in action.
  • We had a culture of ease. Working towards ease, we made decisions that made our products easy, we had a reputation for ease, and the brand promise was ease. That was great… in the 1990s, but
  • But, it was a culture that focused on small improvements, rather than innovation. It wasn’t a culture that encouraged designers and researchers to take big risks. It wasn’t a culture of innovation.
  • And what we found over time was although we were investing heavily in EASE, our net promoter scores were flat or even falling. Ease was no longer enough. We needed to do more than design for ease, we needed to design for delight.
  • We wanted to be an Innovative Growth Company. We wanted to delight our customers. We wanted to love our work.
  • So, in 2007, we introduced Design for Delight to the company. We came up with a definition, which you can see here. We wanted people to think differently and design differently. We wanted to become a culture of innovation, rather than a culture of incremental improvements.
  • But, simply introducing the concept to the company didn’t change the culture. People TALKED about designing for delight, but we didn’t see anyone really doing anything different and the culture wasn’t really being any more innovative. The leadership at the company understood that we needed to make this change, but no one was really doing anything different.
  • We started off by describing D4D as a process. But, we found that people had difficulty figuring out how to fit their processes in with this one. They still weren’t doing it.
  • , but no one was really doing anything different. . So, A group of us got together to come up with a strategy. One piece of the strategy was to help clarify what Designing for Delight should look like.
  • So, We came up with some principles based on Design Thinking that helped to explain how to design for Delight.
  • And then we started DOING it. One of the keys to this strategy was to coach people so they could experience D4D themselves. We called ourselves the Design Catalysts (we later changed that to Innovation Catalysts, because this wasn’t just about UI design). We started working with our Leadership Training organization to teach the strategy and tools of Design for Delight and serve as D4D coaches. This got our leaders and future leaders to have some first hand experience with what we meant by D4D and how it helped them move faster, work more effectively, and come up with better ideas. Based on these interactions, some leaders began to ask us if we could come facilitated D4D with their teams. We were asked to help facilitate an Offsite for our CEO and his staff using D4D methods. They found it really compelling and impactful, and asked us to come do the same thing with their staff in each of the business units. We were getting asked to help people do D4D so much, that the 10 of us were soon overwhelmed. So we trained more people to be Innovation Catalysts.
  • So, in 2008-2009, there were 10 of us, and in addition to training, we did 10 sessions that got people doing D4D. In the beginning of our fiscal year 2010 (this was September before last), we started to train other employees to be innovation catalysts. And we did 10X as many sessions. Then, in fiscal year 2011, we trained even more innovation catalysts, and sessions are going on all over the company. Sessions include people who might not normally be involved in designing solutions, from different disciplines and groups across the company – engineers, product managers, directors, HR people… all of these sessions had people doing DESIGN THINKING activities: Meeting with customers, brainstorming, drawing ideas, getting feedback from customers… each innovation catalyst could get dozens of employees doing.
  • Not only that, but other mechanisms have begun to be created to help support our new Innovation Culture.
  • Our goal is that D4D is in our cultural DNA by 2015. We’re well on our way…
  • The culture change is apparent in the work we do and the way we work. Where we used to focus on improving the old, now we are focused on creating the new. Where we used to have the burden of most research and design in the hands of the few UX employees we have, entire teams are now engaging. Where we used to take few risks, we now take lots of risks.
  • And it delights.SnapTax is one example of a product that came out of D4D. It’s a mobile app that allows you to snap a picture of your W2 and file your taxes from your phone. Customers love it.
  • “In India, Intuit has begun offering a free information service for farmers that can be accessed on any cellphone. Part-time workers check crop prices at local markets and send the information to Intuit. The company then relays the latest, local price quotations in text messages to subscribing farmers. As a result, the farmers can make smarter decisions about when and where to sell their produce. “ – NY Times, August 13,2011
  • These cultural changes happen to correlate with an increase in stock price. We don’t think that it’s a coincidence. People are starting to realize that Intuit is becoming an innovative company.
  • We’re #84 on Forbes world’s most innovative companies list
  • So now let’s take a look at some lessons from Intuit about culture change. I’m going to cover 5 things from our journey that can help you.
  • The first lesson is to build on Existing Values.
  • Build on existing values -the intuit piece... Customers define value = rapid experimentation with customers (we drew the connection)What to do:  Think about the culture you want to make your company or work environment like. What values are embodied by that culture?  Take a look at your existing culture. What are it's explicit values? What are it's implicit ones? Is there overlap in those values? If so, those are your hooks. Reinforce behaviors that express the values of both. Don't reinforce values that you want to change. 
  • The second lesson is to start where you are loved. If you are trying to change a culture, it is likely that some others in that culture wish for the same changes you do. See if you can start with small culture changes with those individuals.
  • In our case, the keys were leaders and the leadership training organization... The behaviors we wanted people to do were aligned to the core values and goals of the company. Therefore, for us, leadership was a good place to start and gain traction. Leadership training and our offsite with the CEO and senior staff.  And, we Started the ICs with XD designers, who already used and valued these processes. What to do:  find your allies and start the change with them. Enlist their participation, and, if you need it, their help.  If they disagree or are resistant, move on. Don't worry about bringing everyone along at first.  Early Adopters in technology are different than the mainstream, but they prove the concept.Model or framework:  Visual of starting small, with a trickle effect that turns into a torrent. I tell 2 friends, and they tell two friends... 
  • The third lesson is to leverage your strengths. If you are trying to change your culture, it’s likely that some of the skills and mindsets that you currently have can align to the new culture.
  • Remind them of the intuit piece... We had strong research skills, good interaction design skills, and a deep passion for doing right by the customers. What to do: Find the strengths that align with the culture that you want, reinforce them and incorporate them into your actions.
  • Fourth – Pick your battles. You can either go with the current, or try swimming upstream. At first, going with the current is much more effective if you can gather some small wins. Later, when those wins are behind you, you can use them as stepping stones to move upstream.
  • Remind them of the intuit piece... We went to where people asked for us, not where people didn’t. When someone asked for our help but the sponsors weren’t supportive, it didn’t take. So, we started trying to ensure that they were on board or we just said not now.What to do: focus on accumulating wins, not knocking down walls. The biggest challenges will work more smoothly later. When you encounter resistance, look elsewhere.
  • And finally, perhaps the most important and uncomfortable lesson: Give it away. If you want a culture that will be more conducive to the way you want to be working, it is necessary to have the others in the culture to have deep empathy for your role. And, the most effective way that they can get empathy is by doing it themselves. This has the added advantage of a network effect, once you have allies, they can go get allies, and they can tell two friends, and so on…
  • Best practices that were normally in the domain of UX were given to the Innovation Catalysts and the rest of the company. This meant letting go of our control… we wouldn’t be the only ones doing the research… we wouldn’t be the only ones doing the design and prototyping… Through this, though, teams had much better empathy for us and the importance of UX skills, making it a better place for us to work.
  • At Intuit, we did this initially by giving it away to the Innovation Catalysts. Now they are the advocates, they are the ones creating possibilities for others to innovate. They are the ones giving it away… and we’ve touched far more people than we ever would have with our original group of 10. So the advice here is to FIND ALLIES, teach them, and have them go teach others…
  • The key idea is to recognize that culture change is not a switch… it’s a shift. Things don’t happen all at once, but over time you can direct the evolution of your culture, which will result in a noticeable shift.
  • Shift: 5 lessons for changing a corporate culture

    1. 1. SHIFT:Lessons for changing a corporate culture from within Wendy A Castleman Principal XD Research Scientist & Chief Innovation Catalyst
    2. 2. Hi
    3. 3. In the past…
    4. 4. Culture
    5. 5. What can you do tomake your culture abetter place to designin?
    6. 6. Culture Change
    7. 7. Intuit Story of Culture Change
    8. 8. 2007
    9. 9. 2007
    10. 10. Solid Products
    11. 11. Focus on EASE
    12. 12. Used with permission
    13. 13. ButFew New Offerings Focus on Incremental Feature Improvements
    14. 14. Ease was not enoughNet Promoter Score Time
    15. 15. Why D4D? Growth. Delighted Customers. Engaged Employees.
    16. 16. Design for DelightGoing beyond customer expectationsin delivering ease and benefit, evokingpositive emotion throughout thecustomer journey… people buy more and tell othersabout their experience
    17. 17. Talking
    18. 18. Mis-steps along the way
    19. 19. How do we get people to do?
    20. 20. Design for Delight Principles
    21. 21. Doing Leadership Training CEO Offsite Innovation Catalysts
    22. 22. FY ‘09 FY ‘10 FY ‘11 10 10 75 Catalysts 100 Sessions 125 Catalysts 300+ SessionsCatalysts Sessions Innovation Catalysts Cross functional group of D4D experts, working in collaboration across the company to apply D4D to our core offerings
    23. 23. The System Brainstorm Values Innovation Catalysts Idea Jams Sol JamsChief ICs Innovation CTOF Culture Leadership Marketing Success Forum Profile D4D Painstorms Tools Planning Database
    24. 24. Our goal:D4D is in ourDNA by 2015
    25. 25. Culture Change Thus Far…• Solid Products • Solid Products with Innovative (QuickBooks, TurboTax, etc) New Features and Platforms• NO mobile apps • Lots of mobile apps• Few New Offerings • Lots of New Offerings • Focus on Innovation and• Focus on Ease Delighting Customers• Usability Testing in our UX • Lots of Labs with UX Researchers Experimentation, everywhere• Incremental Improvements with full team engagement• Few Risks • Lots of Risks
    26. 26. D4D Success: TurboTax SnapTax 5 stars!!! Exceptional NPS iPhone Nationwide Android27
    27. 27. D4D Success: Mobile Bazaar More than 300,000 farmers in India use it Farmers report their earnings up 25%28
    28. 28. Innovating For Impact Intuit Stock Price $50 50 40 30 $29 20 Jul-07 Jul-08 Jul-09 Jul-10 Jul-11
    29. 29. Forbes 100 Most InnovativeCompanies in the world
    30. 30. shifting acorporateculture
    31. 31. Build onExisting Values
    32. 32. Intuit’s Values1. Integrity Without Compromise Customers2. Delight Customers were already in our DNA3. Its the People4. Innovate and Improve5. Own the Outcome6. We Care and Give Back
    33. 33. Build on Existing Values 1. Envision the culture you want 2. Assess the culture you have 3. Find common ground 4. Reinforce behaviors that express the shared values 5. Don’t reinforce the behaviors that don’t
    34. 34. Start whereyou are loved
    35. 35. Start where you are lovedLeaders Educators Encourage Innovation 1. Find your allies 2. Enlist their participation 3. If they resist, move on 4. Build the case
    36. 36. Leverage yourstrengths
    37. 37. Leverage your strengthsXD Strengths• Strong Research• Good at designing for Ease Research• Passion to do Design what’s best for the customer Passion 1. Find the strengths in your organization that align to the culture you want 2. Find a way to incorporate those into your actions Design for Delight
    38. 38. Pick your battles
    39. 39. Pick your battles • Focus on building wins rather than knocking down walls • When you encounter resistance, look elsewhere • Change doesn’t happen overnight
    40. 40. Give it Away
    41. 41. Give it away BrainstormingCustomer PrototypingResearch Innovation Catalysts
    42. 42. Empower others: Give it away 1. Find allies 2. Teach them what you know 3. Have them tell others 4. Let it go/grow
    43. 43. 5 Lessons to shift your culture1. Build On Existing Values2. Start Where You Are Loved3. Leverage Your Strengths4. Pick Your Battles5. Give It Away
    44. 44. Habit is habit and not to beflung out of the window by any man, but coaxeddownstairs a step at a time. — Mark Twain
    45. 45. Culture Change
    46. 46.