Is the idea of "transformative success" too distant while we are still living in a world with unprecedented uncertainties and rapidly shifting customers' needs and expectation? No - according to these brilliant minds.
"Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity - not as threat." - Steve Jobs
"The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity." - Peter Drucker
"Change is not a threat, it's an opportunity. Survival is not the goal, transformative success is." - Seth Godin
It is therefore a choice - to recognise the change as an opportunity and start investing the time and resource it takes to emerge as the next experience leaders; Or to risk to be disrupted or made irrelevant while waiting for things to resume to the ‘good old days’.
For those courageous leaders and changemakers, I'd like to offer you a 3-step process to reimagine how your app could serve as a key driver in delivering a transformative success in this new year.
STEP 1: Reexamine your market landscape
Don't start with your app or your competitors' apps, start with refreshing your understanding of customers and market's landscape.
Avoid the mistake of diving too early into usability issues or feeling obliged to catch up with competitors' features. This approach would only turn the revamp initiative into a long list of unorchestrated patchworks, and put to an end any transformative potential of the revamp opportunity.
Instead, begin with uncovering your customers' Jobs-to-be-Done and the change in needs and expectations in the user journeys. Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) is the innovation theory proposed by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. It starts with this insight: Customers buy a product because they have a "job" they want to get done.
According to JTBD framework, your Apps will get used when your customers consider it the best choice (among the many other alternatives) for getting their jobs done. I have been applying JTBD framework for over a decade in a wide range of products and services, and I can assure you it is the secret recipe for creating breakthrough product and service strategy.
Through internal workshops and customer discovery interviews, you could:
Map out the jobs your customers / prospects want to get done. Investigate if these are:
- Existing jobs-to be-done?
- Or NEW jobs-to be-done - possibly emerged from the impact of the pandemic
- Besides the functional jobs, make sure not to miss the often powerful emotional jobs and social jobs-to be-done.
For each "job", map out the user journey that describes
- desired outcomes
- constraints or barriers to success
- shifted expectation because of COVID impact
Run segmentation analysis to profile customers around Jobs and Desired Outcomes
- Revisit who might be the primary customers, the secondary customers
- Explore who might have become your NEW customers
Highlight insights & opportunities for further investigation
- Identify unmet Jobs / Desired Outcomes that are important but not satisfied.
- Investigate any catalysts of change emerged from the pandemic
- Pay special attention to unmet needs which do not have any solution at all.
STEP 2: Evaluate your current app to reveal its strength and weakness
Before we could discuss what might be our next step , we need to know where we are.
The focus is not on fault-finding on why things didn't come out as great as it could be. The focus is to gather data points for the team so they can have an unbiased view of the current situation.
Consider the following approaches to perform a lean yet informative assessment:
- Map the current app experience and rate how well the app could satisfy the JTBD and expectation journey uncovered from step #1.
- Perform a heuristic evaluation or expert review on the usability of the current App.
- Collect and synthesize qualitative feedback from appstore, sales, customer support representatives and customers' interviews.
- Perform quantitative analysis on app analytics and performance data.
Finally, take a step back to get a bigger picture of what alternatives your customers / non-customers are "hiring" to get those key jobs done.
- For each of key jobs-to-be-done, map out the existing alternatives or choice set available to the customers.
- Note that the alternatives might not be your direct competitors.
- Don't be discouraged when spotting the better alternatives. On the other hand, resist the urge to copy competitor's features for incremental improvement.
STEP 3: Ideate and validate the Next Experience by aligning business, customers and technology
Avoid meetings and undirected brainstorming. Instead, apply a structured process, such as our Sprint-to-Impact process based on the Google Design Sprint, to empower diverse participants to come up with impactful solution through co-creation, prototyping and user testing.
We need to:
(1) Start with opportunities uncovered from customers' JTBD motivations and existing limitations.
(2) Figure out what changes in customer behaviour should be focused upon, in order to push forward the intended business goal and impact metrics.
(3) Inspire the team with examples. Showcase how other industries solve related problems in a different context; Break assumptions by introducing capabilities made possible by technologies.
(4) Pursue effective co-creation by fostering diversity and by facilitating "working together alone" to escape the groupthink trap.
Even if you have come up with a beautiful solution - don't skip validation! Build a high fidelity prototype to perform user testings and fast track data collection.
Fast track data by running user testing experiment with tangible, high fidelity prototype. Regardless of the result, the experiment either injects extra confidence & alignment to the team or save the team from wasting time & resource in building the wrong thing.
"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." - Richard Feynman
Not merely to survive, but to thrive
Your app can be a blessing to your customers, and it can bring transformative success to your organization. Are you ready to take this change as an opportunity to make something amazing?