Moving from strategy to execution can humble even the most sophisticated business. While the reasons can range from finding funding or fighting organizational inertia, one of the common culprits is the challenge of translating business cases into human-centered experiences. We sat down with members of Revel’s Strategy and Experience Design communities to learn more about how the disciplines work together.
How do strategy and experience design work together?
The success of anything new – whether it’s a product, a service, or a feature – comes down to the combination of business viability and customer desirability. The best idea in the world won’t gain traction in the market if you don’t understand why they should care. Business people often talk about strategy in terms of business cases, but if there’s no user adoption, there’s no business case. So, the strategy of the business and the experience delivered to the customer must be completely connected.
What’s the perfect relationship between strategy and experience design?
Both sit along a continuum from ambiguity to certainty. Strategy is pure ambiguity, taking something completely unknown and starting to define and build a business around it. That’s about viability and brand alignment. Next comes experience design, which is focused on rapidly testing different ways to maximize customer desirability. Once an idea you’ve validated meets the needs of the business and the customer, the processes of engaging the organization and its ecosystem to align behind the idea, move together synchronously, and land it in market, at-scale. At each step, you’re moving away from art and ambiguity and toward science and certainty. Because strategy and experience design sit so closely together on the continuum, they’re very interconnected.
Do strategists and experience designers always work together?
Not necessarily. While strategy and experience design are connected, there’s value in staying in your lane and focusing on what you know best. A strategist with expertise in business models and getting new products to market might be better served knowing they can pass the baton to someone who can build the experience. A designer might focus on understanding the holistic view of a system instead of the details of the business requirements, because the details may complicate the simplicity they’re striving to create for the user. It goes back to the business viability/customer desirability equation – you need both to create human-centered experiences that work, but they can be created separately to protect their integrity.
What are some of the challenges having these groups work separately?
When stages of work are done in silos, there’s a risk of losing critical knowledge and creating friction that slows execution down. So, while there’s value in staying in your lane, there’s also a level of accountability to the next stage that can’t be overlooked if the product is going to be successful. Friction is the enemy of innovation, which is why it’s so important to look at this as a continuum – both the relationship between strategy and experience design, and the full spectrum all the way through analytics.
What’s the takeaway?
Experience design is about simplicity and self-discovery. Of course, the experience is built on business objectives and technical requirements, but the customer only sees the front end and doesn’t care much about the details behind the scene. People want simplicity, and if they don’t get it, they won’t stick around, so don’t design a system that nobody will follow. The best way to do that is to know what you’re trying to achieve, start with a blank slate, and focus on the human-centered experience of the user.