Are Design Sprints the Next Silver Bullet?

The Design Sprint is a trending method to speed up product design and development while reducing risk. Formalized at Google Ventures where they could quickly run a product idea through the sprint process and have a solid direction in a week vs. months. Kudos to Google Ventures, Jake Knapp and Jonathan Courtney for refining and formalizing the process and then packaging it for wider use.

As I studied the Design Sprint process and tried it with various clients, I quickly realized it was not much different than the week-long “Rapid Design” sessions we had been doing since the mid 90’s. The difference was they had formalized the process derived from Ideo and other design firms and implemented some key techniques to help reduce discussion time, solidify decisions and foster more independent thinking.

I reflected on a week-long design session in 2005 I held with NASA USA Spaceops, the folks who create the mission control systems for the Space Shuttle. They had a complex problem to solve and needed a viable solution to reduce risk with future launches. The problem was around how the launch team could certify the gimbal thrusters were working properly in the final 10 seconds of the countdown. If wrong and there was a failure, bad things could happen. On the other hand, a ton of time and money would be wasted if they flagged false-positives and scrubbed the launch.

We had a competent team of engineers and product […]

By |2020-10-29T04:16:36-07:00September 13th, 2018|Categories: Blog, Digital Strategy|1 Comment


A key strategy for today’s digital leader is how to provide engaging, usable interactions with customers on a variety of technology platforms while protecting the organization from data breaches and other security risks. Balancing these needs is key to a successful digital and data management strategy.

As we all know, the utmost priority in today’s security posture should be to insure maintenance of the confidentiality, integrity and availability of sensitive information in a digital environment.

Such maintenance priorities must not only occur at the highest levels of the organization, but must simultaneously be balanced against cost factors, user experience and the overall impact on the organization. Traditionally, the focus of most companies is to build expensive and elaborate firewalls around a digital property similar to a medieval castle, in order to protect sensitive information and keep unauthorized persons out. This approach, however, immediately becomes challenging and costly when one begins to secure the data at rest, in transit, and in use throughout the complex business processes that traverse many independent technologies, infrastructure layers, and geographic locations. The reality is we live in a world where key business stakeholders need increased user engagement while simultaneously demanding increase data privacy and security.

The number of data entry forms across corporate websites and intranets is growing significantly, however each form has the potential for a data intrusion attack via sql injection or other potential security threat. How do you monitor and protect each form without cluttering them up with  Captcha’s and other measures that often negatively impact user task completion rates?  Current solutions often result in slow response times, captcha popups other friction points that negatively impact task performance and the overall user experience. This often leads to low user adoption or even abandonment of the […]

By |2020-10-29T04:16:36-07:00April 9th, 2018|Categories: Blog, Digital Strategy|Tags: , |0 Comments

How Digital Strategy Moves The Revenue Needle

Focusing on customer experience allows your company to develop a unique value offering and differentiate yourself in a crowded market. Most companies say they already optimize for customer experience but, for many reasons, few truly deliver on this promise. Common themes I have seen are difficulty translating a new vision into an executable strategy and resistance to change within the organization.

During the past two years, we have had the opportunity to work with a visionary company in the brutally competitive travel space where companies struggle for 1% annual gains in market share. Our goal was to redefine the customer experience by identifying key factors influencing group travel, social engagement, and ultimately customer retention. We then created a new experience optimized for our vision. By merging data analytics and predictive modeling, we drove digital product design with a laser focus on key user experiences. These new experiences are now being implemented throughout the customers’ journeys to redefine the service levels, and products delivered. Initial results are promising, with the company’s revenue growing over 100% in one year, from $325 million in 2014 to $692 million in 2015 and $1 billion in 2016.  Quite an achievement in the very competitive travel industry where margins are extremely tight and global competition is intense.

Achieving a 100% yearly growth cannot be done just by redefining a customer experience. It requires aligning stakeholders across the organization on the vision, defining specific strategies, and then delivering effectively on them. Starting by working with company leadership, we then aligned the UX (User Experience) strategy to drive key behaviors that increase customer loyalty, engagement, and conversion after identifying the key levers for increasing top-line revenue with a solid return on investment. We used the early […]

By |2020-10-29T04:16:36-07:00October 2nd, 2016|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Delivering a Great UX To Mobile Enterprise Application Users

Several of our clients are deploying enterprise mobile solutions to their global workforce this year.  The pace of mobile adoption and change is accelerating much faster than what we witnessed during the adoption of web-based technologies in the late 1990’s. This phenomenon is forcing organizations to quickly adopt a mobile enterprise strategy that will have long term impacts on their users while striving to deliver true value to the business they support.    Mobile strategies will have long term consequences therefore it is important to ask key questions before finalizing your strategy.

Some critical questions to consider before finalizing your mobile strategy are:

Will you deliver native or web-based applications?

Many of our clients started out in the mobile space creating “Proof of concept” mobile apps (usually IOS) to prove they could build and deploy an iPhone app.    They quickly found that the process of hand coding even a simple application and deploying it was much more costly and time consuming than was originally planned. The good news is most users embraced the new mobile app and asked for more functionality and more support on a wide variety of devices.  Budgeting project costs became challenging and they needed to choose a limited deployment or choose a different strategy. With the evolution of HTML-5 many companies are revisiting the native vs. web-based mobile application decision and opting to deploy with HTML-5 and responsive design frameworks.  This approach offers many features previously only available in native applications with much broader deployment options and the ability to customize the UX for individual devices using CSS3 and MediaQuery detects to deliver a responsive mobile design optimized for each device and platform.

What devices will you support?

As I mentioned above, many companies hoped for an […]

By |2020-10-29T04:16:36-07:00September 23rd, 2012|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments
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