Business leaders accelerating innovation through co-design

Your Customers are Creative. It's Time to Build with Them.

Posted by Stratos Innovation Group on Mar 5, 2018
Stratos Innovation Group

New Needs, New Technologies, New Expectations

Right now, we’re seeing a renaissance of innovation as tech companies jump out of our screens and into the physical spaces where we work, live, play and shop.

Technologies once relegated to obscure, downstream or mundane tasks are taking in a refreshed limelight—and forcing customers to recalibrate to a new normal.

This is a challenge for companies across industries, as new innovations aren’t just creating new experiences, they are having a profound impact on customer’s underlying needs and the expectations they have for products and services.

Front end tech expectation graphic_opt2-02.png


Are you keeping up with shifting expectations?

Once customer's needs change, the shift in expectations spans across every touchpoint they experience. For instance, immediate or 2 hr. delivery makes patients question the snail pace of healthcare. The ability to quickly return or exchange online items has customers wondering why insurance doesn’t operate the same way.

These shifts are accelerating quickly—and customers are demanding that companies keep up. An IBM report from the Institute for Business Value found that:

  • 76% of consumers expect organizations to understand their individual needs
  • 81% of consumers demand improved response time
  • 68% anticipate organizations will harmonize consumer experiences

So not only must you innovate quickly, you have to innovate against shifting targets—ones shaped by customer’s experiences with new products, services and technologies within your industry and outside of it.

Co-Design as an accelerator to innovation

Many teams are stuck in this dilemma—especially in the front-end when identifying insights into what people need and generating concepts for offerings that fulfill them. You might think to yourself:

“How do we make sense of an increasingly complex and changing environment while simultaneously developing new, category winning products and services?”

“With limited resources and demanding leadership, what’s the best way to demonstrate wins and build momentum?”

Traditional approaches to research and design can feel daunting, bloated and filled with uncertainty. They may cause loops and leave teams stuck in the front end with nothing to show but beautifully designed concepts that don’t deliver on a meaningful customer need. Or stakeholders get a 200-page in-depth research report that spews statistics with no avenues for action.

How then do the most innovative companies do it? Do they have a secret shortcut that helps them accelerate the front end of innovation?

How customer co-creation accelerates both insights and design

There is a growing movement to tame the fuzzy-front-end by engaging in co-design—an approach to customer co-creation that integrates customers, designers and business leaders together to prototype future customer experiences.

Co-design merges the expertise of internal teams with the unique experiences of customers.

The secret to this approach is that it generates both design concepts and deep customer insights at the same time. By building with customers, teams can dive deep into what customers made and why—allowing them to share unique insights about what their needs, desires and dreams.

Leading companies like IKEA and DHL leverage co-design to build momentum and learn quickly. It is a method that is particularly useful in the front-end—providing both agility and rigor; depth and speed; in one integrated approach.

Get Started, Get Accelerated

Co-design acceleration works particularly well as a starting point for exploring new spaces or for teams who don’t have the resources for a more rigorous, structured front-end process.

This meshing of minds not only helps companies make sense of and generate new possibilities—it enables them to socialize understanding across teams, creating empathy and a human-centered view of customers.


Use Co-design to Accelerate Your Project or Initiative

At Stratos we’ve been helping clients from retail to finance and healthcare to use co-design as an enabler for getting quick wins in the front end. We’ve packaged these learnings together into a quick action-packed process that can help teams get moving and inspire action.

Download our Blueprint for Building Front-end Momentum to learn more about how you can accelerate the front-end and build momentum for your project, process or strategic initiative.



Tags: Innovation, Codesign, Co Creation, Design Strategy, Customer Experience, Design Thinking, Front End of Innovation

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