I recently attended the 38th Product Innovation Management (PIM) Annual Conference. One of the major themes of this year’s conference was Human Centered Design Thinking. This latest catch phrase is the voice of the customer “on steroids”. It can help product developers, innovators, marketers, experience designers and customer service leaders view products and services through the lens of customers. It can provide insights into the needs, wants, and limitations of the end users of a product, service or process.
Ideally product designers should observe customers in their work and personal settings in order to experience a typical day. This will allow designers to see a customer’s likes, dislikes, pain points and frustrations. For example, observation of Millennials could assist financial services marketers, product managers and strategists in identifying effective tactics for marketing to and serving Millennials.
When I observe my millennial son, he is never without his iPhone, which is always Apple’s latest model. He has a financial advisor but doesn’t always leverage him because he can research anything on the internet. Further observation and questioning might suggest that mobile will become the primary means of interaction between Millennials consumers and financial services firms.
It’s human nature to sometimes jump to conclusions and come up with a solution right away. True innovation requires patience. Human centered design requires us to test the validity of our assumptions with regard to user behavior in real world tests with end users and re-validate these assumptions at every stage of the product design process. It enables us to develop effective solutions which hit the mark.