Time to Innovate

Remember Einstein’s famous quote: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. This quote is particularly true for what’s going on in our world in 2020. A lot has changed, and in this so-called “new reality”, how might we do things differently in 2021 to reimagine a new way forward?

The fact is that customer behavior and experiences have changed, probably forever. Your brand’s customer insights, product strategies, and experiences from before February 2020 might now be incorrect, and the brand or business strategy you designed or made to serve the people you wish to serve might be out of context.

If you are running a retail business, you probably are thinking about a ‘home’ strategy by now. Executive leadership teams might be considering ways to better facilitate remote collaboration for their teams, while teams across HR, R&D, products and logistics are likely re-assessing as well. Folks in banking, finance, or similar industries perhaps are seeking new insights to better suit today’s world. In fact, reimagining is a way to “rethink, reinvigorate, react, and reinvent” things, according to Bill Gates’ famous quotes.

In an interview with Saigoneer back in April, Doodle Design’ co-founders, Chris and Nhu Vo Elkin, emphasized three main areas for businesses and brands to stay relevant now more than ever.

“Everyone at a given company needs to be curious about who their customers and what their priority problems are, better collaboration and co-creation across teams and departments, and getting people from diverse teams as close as possible to the customer.”

— Chris and Nhu Vo Elkin

First, reflect customers’ new reality

And by customers, we mean customers in the new reality. Their experience, their pain points, desires, problems, and decision-making journey have changed. Are they seeking convenience, instead of indulgence? Are they leaning toward group sharing/gathering, or a more individualistic path? Do they book their next holiday months in advance, or at the last minute? Their weekend to-do list might be a lot less social now. Their goals may have changed from a promotion, owning a new home and buying a new car to keeping their job, saving more money, and family safety first. This puts forward the key questions: What are my customers’ profiles/personas? What would be the new customer experience journeys and touchpoints that brands and businesses will use to engage and interact with customers in 2021?

First, reflect customers’ new reality

And by customers, we mean customers in the new reality. Their experience, their pain points, desires, problems, and decision-making journey have changed. Are they seeking convenience, instead of indulgence? Are they leaning toward group sharing/gathering, or a more individualistic path? Do they book their next holiday months in advance, or at the last minute? Their weekend to-do list might be a lot less social now. Their goals may have changed from a promotion, owning a new home and buying a new car to keeping their job, saving more money, and family safety first. This puts forward the key questions: What are my customers’ profiles/personas? What would be the new customer experience journeys and touchpoints that brands and businesses will use to engage and interact with customers in 2021?

Second, re-framing the real problems

The classic question is, if you have one hour to solve a problem, how much time should be spent on solutions? The full hour? 50 minutes? We’d say five minutes. The remaining 55 minutes should be spent on framing the problem because, simply put, a problem half-framed is a problem half-solved. Challenges for brands, businesses and products in 2021 will be different from what you expected. By looking at the real problems, big or small, we get closer to empathising with customers we wish to serve better and prioritise which problems to focus on solving better.

Third, the magic power of co-creation

Collaboration or co-creation is a shared dynamic through which multiple stakeholders across roles and departments can align, collaborate and create ideas together. While there are many benefits to co-creation, one of the biggest is a mindset that is empathetic toward customers, wherein everyone shares the same goals – to solve a customer’s most painful problems and ultimately delight them better. In the perfect world of collaboration, we embrace Iterative, Agile and Dare-to-fail mindsets. So, when was the last time you collaborated or co-created together with your team or customers? It’s worth a thought.

During this time of the year, when business strategies, action plans, and budgeting are imminent, may we suggest a Reimagined way forward. It will be hard, uneasy, and uncomfortable at times. However, we promise that when you come out the other side of the process by “letting the chaos reign” and then “reigning in the chaos,” it will be time to own 2021 and the future. Are you ready to reimagine and innovate better?

Doodle Design is running the Reimagine 2021 Design Thinking workshop series to help diverse teams across your business better plan, ideate, and innovate 2021.

Click here to explore Reimagine 2021.

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