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Case Study: The Innovation Team

An Innovation Team had recruited top talent with a mandate to create a world-class, customer-facing platform. Initially the team had a mindset to build iteratively and with speed. A good starting point that needed some refinement. We were engaged to bring a sustainable and repeatable approach to customer-centric innovation.

 
 
  • Seven figure savings on misaligned product innovation concepts
  • Repeatable approach to customer-driven, product & service innovation
  • Broad organizational adoption of customer-centered product design principles & practices

Context

A large enterprise launched an innovation team to help deepen the relationship with their B2B customers. A multi-year effort was well-funded and was given significant freedom to execute on a singular vision – to create innovative digital experiences. Senior leadership needed the team to refine it’s approach to be more transparent, predictable, and repeatable.


Approach

We needed to modernize the approach to product design

In order to do this, we deconstructed and reworked existing process by embedding customer-centric principles & practices. We worked with the existing teams to build their user-centered design approach and capabilities. This meant working cross-functionally with the Product, Engineering, and Product Management teams to significantly shift their mindset, language, and approach.

What We Learned

Shifting to customer-centric product design requires new skills and new mindsets

Shifting individual teams is a challenge. Shifting multiple cross-functional teams takes more time, energy, and buy-in. We cultivated strong relationships with key stakeholders to help drive necessary changes. While keeping the long-term in mind, we took a quick-win and iterative change-management approach to modernizing the how products were conceived and created.

Results

Creating a new way of working

The Customer-centric Product Design Process
By integrating user-centered design best practices with the existing software development lifecycle we were able to integrate customers into product workflows. The Innovation Team was able to demonstrate the value of the approach by seeking insights before product creation and throughout the product lifecycle. This approach made great strides in ensuring the team was shipping products that fit real market needs.

Building new skills and team competencies
New ways of working require new skills. If done well, these skill-building activities develop long-lasting, new competencies. Both leaders and frontline teams were introduced and ultimately excelled in user-centered design practices. This customer-first mindset became the standard way of thinking and doing. .