The big picture

The intersection of culture, technology and business

Hi, my name is John Lindén, I’m from Sweden and I work as a User Experience designer at Ixonos Design in London. My responsibility is to help and guide industrial companies to utilize today’s digital tools and trends and turn them into great innovations and sustainable business opportunities.

Even though I have experience from working with projects within the industrial, media and retail segment, I never claim myself to be an expert in my clients’ field of business. Up until today I understand that the service offering is an emerging business within the Industrial segment, for instance; spare part service, data mining, maintenance service etc. For some clients maintenance service is one of the core business opportunities in the company and for others it’s not.

By working together we create an expert team from two merging worlds - The culture and technology side and the client side (industrial/retail/media).

This puts pressure on the communication within the team and in order for the design team to understand and analyze the whole problem and opportunity context I have developed a kind of mantra. This mantra helps me to understand the projects full potential and ask the right questions.

During my three years working at Ixonos I have met with a number of companies, in all sizes from super large to small. When I meet with these companies and start to listen to what they have to say, I always have one question in the back of my head (my mantra), “how does this idea fit into the big picture?” This is a very simple question, but this simple question helps me to clarify a number of things. In this blog post I will share some of the insights that this “mantra” helps me to understand.

The maturity of the idea? Is this a concrete idea that just needs to be implemented or are we just scraping the surface of possibilities?

Missing links? Can this idea be linked to other parts of the clients product/service offering, for instance, can this idea be tightly integrated with the their current maintenance business?

Business perspective? Can this idea generate new business value or support existing business that would help to justify the investment? If that is not the case, how can this idea improve/streamline existing services or processes in terms of saving money?

How well anchored is the idea to their user group or customer? This answers me two things, how well is the dialogue between the company and the end customer/user and is this idea related to a real customer/user need.

Is it Future proof? How does this idea support future development of the company’s long-term goals? Is it trend sensitive? Is it dependent on proprietary technology or software? This question also gives me an idea of the vision around the idea. Is the idea technically mature, how does the suggested technology fit with the current platform?

How does the idea fit into the current offering? Are we stepping into a partly unknown field for the client? If that is the case, is it worth putting in some effort into supportive material for internal communication? Does the idea cannibalize other product/service offerings? Does the idea overlap with other previous developed products/services?

This is just to name a few.

So to sum things up:
1. Have empathy for the whole problem and opportunity context, this way you are aware of the ripple effect that the new idea can lead to.

2. Be observant for emerging opportunities, sometimes the new idea leads to unexpected new innovation or opportunities.

3. Have an open and creative dialogue with the users/customers.
By knowing what your users or customers need or would benefit from, boosts creativity and gives birth to useful and innovative service and product development.

Thank you for taking your time to read this blog post about my thoughts.

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