How to use metaphors to gain an understanding of your customers’ mental model?

As a customer we have a mental model, influenced by many factors such as environment, experiences and context.
As a customer we have a mental model, influenced by many factors such as environment, experiences and context.
Photo by Morgan Housel on Unsplash

Schumpeter knew it already decades ago:innovation is an invention put to work”. The underlying idea of his statement is as apparent as it can be. However, it is often hard for companies to come to this conclusion. The reason is an unequal focus on research and development compared to the emphasis on design. Usually, we allocate all attention to core-competences and technology. However, when innovation is an invention put to work, the magic happens where the customer interacts with the offering.

To make the invention work and thus truly innovate, we must understand our customers’ mental model. We have…


And how we can apply those learnings to education and organizations.

Photo by H Shaw on Unsplash

Yesterday, as we got used to the last week since draconic measures against Covid-19 where established, I was helping my youngest son doing some mathematic exercises. He is only seven years old, in the second year of primary school, and still very playful and lacking focus. He was giving me a hard time explaining some of the tasks he had to do. Suddenly my oldest son, who is 11, came sitting by and started teaching very quickly and with results. I gave him compliments for the experienced-like manner he…


The four conditions for design-maturity

As Herbert Simon said, “To design is to devise courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.” What implicates that we intentionally change something for the better. We perform to make an impact. To understand what someone else needs to undergo a positive effect, one needs to have empathy. Having empathy requires a culture of openness. Therefor design is about Empathy, Performance, Impact, and Culture.

To be able to design, you need to have an outside-in view of your company, your offering, and your aspirations. More often than not, and that is obvious, we look at the…


What it takes besides the skills.

Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

As a designer, you need to master many skills. Depending on the field in which you work. You will be a genius in color, composition, typography, material, 3D-rendering, and so on. There’s a lot of software you need to use, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Adobe-XD, or Sketch, and Figma.

In every stage of the project, you must be able to prototype what you are going to propose, whether that is with pen and paper or with a prototyping software tool. These prototypes need to be functional and explanatory but inviting to comment.

That all is nothing but a start. As long…


The journey isn’t yours, so listen, listen and listen.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

“With the sales department, we recently analyzed the customer journey of closing a deal.”

With that first sentence, they entered my mailbox. “But we still have hard times with up and cross-selling and sales repetition.” The message continued.

In larger organizations, it happens that departments try to understand the customer a little better. The most commonly made mistake is that this exercise is limited to the touchpoints a customer has with that specific department. We are talking about the ‘customer’-journey, not the journey the department has with a customer.

When you try to understand the experience a customer has with…


How UX-design makes you wander in your customer’s mind

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I am a little neurotic. When I leave the kitchen, I check the oven twice. When I leave the house, I check the front door a triple time. It is needless to say that I seldom lose my wallet or forget my keys.

Never I am losing a debit or credit card, never except the moment I withdraw cash from the ATM of BNP Paribas Fortis. The reason is that they did not make an effort to understand my mental model when designing the flow of actions.

When I am standing at an ATM, my job is done as soon…


Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

When companies want to improve existing products or services or develop new ones, and they make use of design thinking techniques, they often focus very much on the tools and templates they are going to use. Precisely that is what undermines the credibility of design thinking as an excellent approach to innovate and improve.

The more design thinking becomes mainstream, the more people are making use of the techniques; the more it is going to be used by people who are not grounded in the principles. …


That is what strategic design is for

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Design as a means doesn’t only help us to create better products or to develop better services. Design is also beneficial to build a strategy on a company level. Here is why.

When we make use of the design thinking methodology to develop services or products, we research needs or problems, habits of prospective customers, or users. We investigate the context in which our customers will make use of our offering and environmental conditions, such as similar services or products, policies, legislation, and others.

We do this research because it helps us with the need-finding and the exploration of our…


How design can have a positive impact on your engagement and well-being.

Photo by Frank Busch on Unsplash

Design has a tremendous positive impact on our life and our well-being. It does so while designing and while experiencing the design. For now, I would like to focus on how design thinking and a creative approach can satisfy us and how that also might impact decision-making in a business environment.

In most of our day to day activities, we have a goal, something we want to achieve, whether that is as little as cleaning the kitchen or as big as building a multi-million dollar company. The existence of that goal makes us evaluate our activity based on how successful…


About focusing on crucial factors and letting go of dominant ideas.

Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

In Germany, you can, for a couple of months, read tampons. As if they are a medium to get in touch with your predecessors. But no kidding, all this has to do with the tax on added value. Here is the story. And it is a story about design. As Edward de Bono taught us decades ago, and as we know from the practice of scientific research, to research or solve a problem, we have to isolate it. We have to make it the only variable we try to understand and test. For that matter, we have to get rid…

Jan Van Caneghem

As a writer, my mistake is having two subjects: life and design. In life, my mistakes are unlimited. As a designer, I create for the better. waai.be/en

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