Weekly Round Up: Feb 15–19
This week : Service pillars, working in the open, practicing what you preach, remote working benefits, reducing screen fatigue and the joys of side projects
I’ve been working on a report this week that identifies where, how and why the service we are evaluating is broken.
It’s helped to confirm some thoughts I’d had around how every service has a set of key fundamental ‘pillars’ that it must continually try to improve (but will never perfect) in order to succeed.
One example from our project is the issue of people with severe mental illnesses not attending medical appointments. This is clearly a fundamental problem in terms of trying to help them and will never be fully solved so will always need to be improved.
Another example is within an insurance business when people get in contact to claim. It’s so important to get this right as it’s such a critical aspect of the service from the perspective of the customer.
If you are looking to transform a service you have to identify these pillars and then work out how to continuously improve them to succeed.
So solve the right problem, with the right solution in the right way.
That encapsulates nicely the work we do everyday at cxpartners (we’re hiring by the way)
Working in the open
‘Show your work’ by Austin Kleon encourages you to share your creative process as you are designing, making and doing things to give people an insight into how you do what you do and also to help you get discovered.
We’ve been fighting over my copy of it all week in our house, it’s really inspiring so do get hold of a copy.
Practice what you preach
In order to advise businesses on how to optimise their products and services I think you have to design products and run services yourself.
This gives you an invaluable depth of understanding that helps to make sense of the relevance of what you see in your research and helps give credibility to your recommendations and design decisions.
One of the reasons I started a side project making and selling laptop stands was to give myself first hand experience actually taking an idea to market.
It’s been a challenging journey that has taught me so much about prototyping, marketing, pricing, social media, design, supply chains and selling online that have been invaluable in my client work.
It’s also a great way of getting experience of doing things that may not be coming your way at work (note to job seekers looking to get experience — just do it!).
Amongst many others Ash Young is a great example of this. Ash runs a e-commerce business selling car mats as well as being the MD of an agency and I bet the two compliment one another beautifully.
Benefits of remote working
Half term has made remote working ever trickier this week but I’ve been trying to focus on the positives.
I think it’s easier to be yourself when working from home, wearing your everyday clothes without the veneer of a shiny office. I think that authenticity can really help to foster stronger and more authentic relationships at work both between your colleagues and clients.
I have loved many things about conducting remote research with people in their own homes, using their own kit as opposed to coming to a ‘lab’’.
It’s all felt more natural and has made it easier to meet hard to reach people.
People are just more interesting in the real world than they are in a lab after all.
It all reminds me of a revelation I had on a client project years ago that involved conducting research in people’s homes that was so enjoyable I decided that I never wanted to conduct research in a lab again.
Reducing screen fatigue with the 20/20 rule
I’ve noticed my eyesight really deteriorate since working at home during lockdown.
I’ve been trying a great tip that encourages you to take a break every 20 minutes and focus on something 20 metres away.
2020 (for) vision is easy to remember (although let’s not dwell on 2020!)
When I remember, I set a timer and just look around the garden for a bit after 20 minutes.
It’s a good way to give your eyes a rest and to ensure you take regular breaks so you can come back stronger!
Joys of a side project
I’ve finished my plywood side tables after a lot of sanding and oiling and it’ll be interesting to see if we end up using them as I imagined.
It’s been great to have a side project to focus on while rolling with the lockdown punches.
Getting down to Cornwall to have a crack at making a surfboard is definitely on the list!
Good weekends all!
Follow me on twitter for more of the same