I was fortunate to attend Enterprise UX 2017, the San Francisco edition of the Rosenfeld Media conference, at the Innovation Hangar over June 8 and 9. This brief (non-comprehensive) write up is what stood out to me, and what I think is interesting to share — both with those who attended the conference and those who didn’t.

The elephant in the room: Doing things differently

Let’s talk about the elephant first. I’m not referring to the logo, but to the technical and operational difficulties: from heat to wiring to AV, the conference was plagued with them. The organizers said they selected this particular space because it was cool, different, and more interesting than the typical hotel event space. They took a risk, and things went wrong. …


I rarely encounter the term emotional labor in the world of design, and that troubles me. In this brief post, I’ll explain why it needs to be part of our vocabulary.

I’m using the word design to encompass UI, UX, experience, service, brand, behavior, and org design. If you design or research in any of these areas, please read on.

The intersection of design and emotional labor

Let’s say you create a portal that emphasizes numerical identifiers instead of names. Will people act and treat others less humanely, as a result?

Let’s say you design an experience where employees are an extension of the brand. …


This is a rough transcript of my Big Design conference talk Don’t Make a Journey Map: when good tools go bad.

Expectation setting

This is not going to be
• Aspirational
• A formula or rules to follow
• How to make journey maps

This is going to be
• Utilitarian
• A review of common journey map archetypes (good and bad)
• How to maximize success when journey mapping

What’s with all the hype?

Image for post
Image for post


I get asked this question often. Over years of answering it to various degrees of confusion, I’ve arrived at the following personal definition. May you find it helpful.

Note: If you are a Design Thinker please start at the Appendix, then come back to the beginning of this article. If you are in UX, interaction, visual, or product design, jump in. Good luck!

Key concepts

Front stage & back stage: Services unfold over time. Some parts of services are visible to the service user; these parts are called front stage. Some part of services are not visible to the service user; these parts are called back stage. …


Is this something you’ve been wanting to do? Here’s how these three tools fit together, in one diagram (and some supporting paragraphs of text).

I’ve tried to keep this as jargon-free as possible.

Image for post
Image for post

What’s the difference?

Personas provide humanizing context. What kind of emotional experiences does the person want? What is their social and physical environment?

Job to be done provides the functional steps toward the desired outcome, and how you know if the user has achieved their desired end goal.

A journey map provides the framework that holds it all together, and allows you to view the human context and the functional desires over the timeline of your choice. …


I often tell people that I’m passionate about designing value exchange, and I am often met with blank stares. Here’s why this little-known but powerful principle matters.

Image for post
Image for post

At every encounter between your brand, business, product, or service — across channels and over time — you have an opportunity to capture value from and/or deliver value to your customer. Value exchange is the idea that every encounter should involve both delivering and capturing value. Customer experience (CX) is actually the experience of value exchange.

Here’s a poetic way of saying the same thing: To your customer, value is more like a complex piece of music than like a widget, which means delivering value is more like conducting an orchestra than overseeing an assembly line. Today, most businesses are running efficient factories and hoping music comes out of them. That makes value exchange a critical factor in the design of differentiated, effective, and profitable customer experiences. …


In the wake of Don Norman and Bruce Tognazzini’s “How Apple is Giving Design a Bad Name” I think it’s time to revisit a shift we all need to be more cognizant of.

Apple is no longer a hardware and/or software company. Apple is a fashion company, and in fashion companies, the role of design is style definition.

Image for post
Image for post
Shahrzad Samadzadeh, originally created for Adaptive Path’s Ideas

When they released iOS7 in 2013, Apple signaled a major change in how UI and digital experience played into their company strategy. Their design work stopped being concerned with “delighting the user” and “ease of use” and instead became the driving force for the service offering of newness, relevance, and aspirational lifestyle alignment. …


You understand your customer’s experience and your back of house service delivery processes. Maybe you’ve even created a service blueprint or a value chain map. You’re ready to take on the world! Or rather, the service system. Use this handy checklist to make sure you don’t miss any major opportunities.

We’ve identified five primary categories of service design opportunity. The first three are the most obvious and the most essential, and the final two are what we recommend for organizations who are ready to tackle the future.

The next time you’re reviewing a customer journey map or service blueprint, use this list to help you think through all the types of potential improvements that might be possible. …


A customer journey map is a versatile tool that can serve many purposes: mapping how a current customer experience unfolds over time, planning the orchestration of a future experience across touchpoints, or uncovering business opportunities in the form of unmet customer needs. We’ve developed a new journey mapping canvas at Cooper that can handle all three of the goals above, and we’d love to have you try it out.

A journey map at its core

Customer journey mapping is not new, but in the last few years it’s gained wider acceptance as a tool for customer-centered innovation and organizational transformation. There have been an explosion of how-tos and templates, many of them very good. …


I made up a useful word a while ago, though I doubt I’m the first to have done so. The word is solutionize, and it means “to come up with a solution for a problem that hasn’t been defined (and might not even exist).” Solutionizing leads to solutionization, or “any outcome of the act of solutionizing.”

This all sounds like nonsense, because it is nonsense. The word solutionize comes from materials science and has nothing to do with design.

Image for post
Image for post
The word is solutionize, and it means “to come up with a solution for a problem that hasn’t been defined (and might not even exist).”

Some blatant examples of solutionizing, as I define it:

  • Designing an iPhone app for users who don’t have smartphones
  • Building an MVP that addresses no customer…

About

Shahrzad Samadzadeh

Product & service design leader. Currently @Salesforce, formerly @Cooper @AdaptivePath. Views are my own.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store