One of the most interesting aspects of business culture is that while many businesspeople are focused on creating lots of value (particularly the multiples they see when companies like Instagram and WhatsApp are purchased by huge companies like Google and Facebook)—basically, what every startup is trying to do—the tools they use are habitually focused on creating and managing traditional business value. When you hear someone exclaim “people won’t pay more for that,” this belies a fundamental misunderstanding of people and business. Most designers know there’s more at work in creating great customer experiences than just a focus on the numbers but even our tools are only now groping to describe what these other aspects are and how to work with them.
This is one of the reasons why Steve, Sean, and I wrote this book. Most businesspeople recognize that there is premium value in the world (any brand that can charge more than others is a premium brand). But in developing products, services, events, and spaces as offerings for this brands, those doing the developing still run-into the challenge of “justifying” the very aspects of the experience that make it premium and desired in the eyes, ears, and minds of customers. This is an old frustration of many designers and developers.
Our supposition is that we can’t use traditional tools, built only around “the numbers,” to create premium value that comes from emotional, identity, and meaningful engagement. And, the other half of this point is that we can’t communicate these aspects of the projects, nor verify them in the field with traditional design tools. In short: we need new tools!
In Blindspot, we describe some new techniques that should easily become a part of customer research and some new tools, in particular the Waveline, for using this key research to better develop the offerings and experiences that create premium value.
This is only a start. Eventually, we’ll need to rethink all of the tools we use to create, manage, and measure value but that job will be for another book.