2012 was the year of the business pivot. The concept was coined by Andrew Reis in 2011 in his book, “The Lean Start-Up”, but last year the idea really took hold—evidenced by a Forbes magazine piece on business pivots. Reis defines a business pivot as a “structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, strategy, and engine of growth.”
Business Trends 2013, and How to Prepare
If 2012 was the year of the pivot, we predict these three trends will shape business, branding, communications, and design in 2013:
It’s not just about “surfing the web” on a desktop computer anymore. Your audiences (customers, users, stakeholders, employees, etc.) expect to be able to engage with you and your products no matter where they are. This comes down to understanding your audience and their specific contexts of use. Are your design, web, and communication strategies ready for smartphone and tablet interaction?
Multi-touch Audience Engagement
Audiences will expect to engage with companies and products in more ways than one. Your website could be the starting point, but make sure you consider your audiences and their specific scenarios of use. Is your website responsive, do you have a mobile presence? How’s your customer support? What about your in-store presence and social media channels? Customers have many ways of accessing information about you, so it’s best if you’re there to provide them with the right response.
Individuals can’t get enough of data about themselves (think Nike Fuel). In 2013 we’ll see an upsurge of apps that will allow users to self-monitor their daily living. This becomes even more powerful with the growth in mobile healthcare monitoring. Good information design can help make vast amounts of data easier to understand. How can your organization tap into this desire to situate the individual as central to every product or service experience?
Recommendations to Stay Current and Competitive
How can your business be proactive on these trends? We recommend five strategies:
Consider ALL of the Possibilities
That’s easy to say and tough to do, because we don’t know what we don’t know. It’s easy to be sheltered inside our own circumstances and not realize that we’re forcing our own experiences and assumptions onto scenarios that exist completely outside of how we would experience them. To truly think “outside of the box”—to move beyond existing contexts and exceed known parameters—requires expansive thinking and a deeper understanding of audience. Design Thinking is inherently expansive—talk to us about how we can broaden your organization’s thinking in 2013.
Talk to your Customer Service Staff
Insights can also be gleaned from INSIDE your own organization by engaging the people who spend the most time with your customers and users. It’s amazing what you can learn about your organization through the lens of others, and your customer service staff hold a mirror.
Consult your Users
To REALLY get outside of your contextual safety net you need to move literally outside of it. Stand in your customers’ and users’ shoes. Find out what your customers and users see and experience when they interact with your organization, its brand, and its products.
Hold a Roundtable
In today’s networked economy, relationships are built one conversation at a time. Be part of networked conversations by bringing together your customers, your staff, your partners and other experts to discuss topics of shared interest.
Pay Attention to Context
Contextual information about a scenario or task can refer to the physical and environmental surroundings of a person, but it can also refer to the cultural and social contexts that person brings with them to any situation. As you’re pursuing any of these strategies, strong observational skills are needed to keep all of your senses tuned to context—to identify what a person does rather than what they say they do. This will lead to a better understanding of “why” they do it, which in turn provides cues about how to design for those audience needs.
At Pivot Design Group, our Informed Design process is essentially a template that enables a business to adapt through the lens of design thinking by understanding audience. We gather Design Evidence™to test hypotheses and validate assumptions about a business or product brand and communication strategy. Through our process, we can help your organization to pivot based on the discovery of new possibilities, viewpoints, conversations, and contexts.
Design Thinking is inherently expansive—talk to us about how we can broaden your organization’s thinking in 2013.