← Intersection'15 Conference Berlin, April 28-30, 2015

Melis Senova Hugh Evans

Conference Session

Transforming a Product-Centric Firm Into a Customer & Design-Led Services Firm

Thursday, April 30
11:15 – 12:00

Melis Senova
Co-founder and Chief Service Designer, FromHereOn

Hugh Evans
Co-founder and CEO, FromHereOn

A large financial services organization (6000 plus) made a bold decision to become a customer and design-led organization. The initiative came directly from the CEO and permeated throughout the organization. Although a clear intention was set, a strategy to realize the transformation was not.

There was ambiguity about what it meant to be a customer-led organization. We used our strategic design methodology (deep design in particular) to help reveal a connection between purpose, strategic intention, organizational stance, objectives/outcomes all the way down to appearances and experiences. This culminated in a clear articulation of the strategy which clarified what it meant to become customer-centric in their respective industry.

As becoming customer centric required changes to the fundamental ways in which work was done at the organization, it required the production and design of an approach that addressed key cognitive and capability principles such as; mindsets - how we be, knowledge sets - what we know, skill sets - what we know how to do and tool sets - the things that helps us do what we do.

The other challenge we addressed was to re-design and redefine what success meant within the organization. As an organization predominantly built around the immediate measurement and feedback of discrete interactions, this posed some challenges to get things off the ground. Initial attempts to introduce staff members to new approaches in design thinking (and acting) were met with comments like, “it’s not hitting the mark”, with questionnaires that had many respondents in the neutral category. The natural inclination of the organization was to say - pause - this is not working, without enquiring as to whether that was precisely the result we wanted to see.

We needed to design new ways to measure meaningful impact within the organization and introduce new perspectives to understand what progress looked like. With an ingrained culture of execution, positioning and sustaining a relatively unperceivable change initiative was both challenging and rewarding. Successful design is often measured by how inconspicuous and intuitive it is, so the change had to be almost unnoticeable if done correctly. To see the notion of ‘native change’ emerge was fantastic, to the extent that the inside joke ‘See… Transformed Ya!’ was affectionately coined.

This presentation will outline the design challenge “how might we transform a product-centric financial services firm into a customer & design-led services firm”. It will explain how the organizational narrative flowed through to create the necessary memes, propagated the symbols of design and customer, produced an articulation of the strategy and finally, described a desired state that materialized as a result of the deep design process.