I've worked on everything from toothbrushes to NASA Mission Control, and have built up expertise in some particular areas
Design Thinking, Lean & Agile
I combine methods and deliverables from all three of these approaches, as each has something to offer when doing new product innovation.
- Design Thinking's opportunity discovery based on deep qualitative research
- Lean's hypothesis-based drive toward finding product/market fit
- Agile's focus on prioritization, customer needs, analytics, and nimbleness.
Collectively these bring together the essential perspectives of design, marketing and engineering.
Financial services & Fintech
Money and investing are deeply personal, rife with strong emotions, and one of the trickiest things to help people get better at. Much of the financial services business is getting commoditized, and there's a generational shift underway in attitudes about spending and investing.
I spent over 5 years leading customer experience and innovation efforts at Financial Engines, the original "robo-advisor", and America's largest independent financial advisor. I gained a rich perspective on the challenges of how to create a business and digital/human customer experience built around helping people achieve their financial goals.
Customer journey mapping
Is your current customer journey a mirror of your org chart, warts and all? Is it delivering the desired satisfaction, competitive differentiation, and pull-through?
Having a clear picture of your customers' needs as they interact with your company is a crucial step in building a satisfying experience. What are your customers trying to achieve, what's stopping them, and how are they feeling? And how are you facilitating (or hindering) them?
My writing for Harvard Business Review on customer journeys:
Crafting values, vision & messages
A well-written vision, purpose and set of principles can galvanize a team and get everyone pointed in the same direction. My writing experience extends into helping teams and organizations focus, with crisply-written statements that are easy to remember, free of jargon, and speak to both head and heart.
I'm not a copywriter by title, but it's a role I've played on numerous occasions. Especially for when a team or organization is establishing a vision and its guiding principles.
Most of my career has been spent working with clients on what are known as "wicked problems". In fact, they were the starting point for my book, Innovation X, published by Wiley in 2010. Wicked problems are characterized by:
- Many stakeholders with unaligned perspectives on what the problem is, or what the right approach should be
- You need to make solutions in order to even understand what the problem actually is
- Unpredictable outcomes of the solution options
In a world where new competitors come out of nowhere (or a seemingly unrelated industry), and it's harder than ever to really understand what your customers want, virtually every organization today is facing its own wicked problems.
Praise for Innovation X
Want your product or service to succeed? Read this book. - Don Norman
Innovation X offers a smart, powerful framework for companies large and small to create and advance not just an innovation culture, but an innovation strategy. - Daniel Pink