In The Wizard of Oz, the Great and Powerful Oz ended up being an illusion controlled by Professor Marvel, a skilled performer hidden behind a curtain. Similarly, many exceptional digital experiences come from the expertise and coordination of offline functions. This is especially true any time digital experiences provide an entryway to something non-digital, whether it’s retail (all things shopping), health care delivery (online pharmacies, remote medical consultation, and the like), or real-world magic (the Disney park experience). What does it take behind the curtain to make a great digital experience happen? Continue reading Behind the Screens: Aligning Operations And Digital Tools
Incremental innovation improves on existing technology or systems. Historically, the most famous and impactful inventions tend to fall under the category of radical innovation. Not to say incremental innovation is bad–it’s important–but it doesn’t usually change the game. The game changers are the ones that break out of existing paradigms and don’t accept the usual parameters as a given. It’s radical innovation we need when looking at critical issues such as how to hang toilet paper on the roll. Continue reading Radical Innovation in the Bathroom
For those of us working in digital, testing our work during the development cycle and measuring its impact once launched can be complicated. We know we should, but it takes so much time, and besides, what are we going to do if we uncover problems through testing? Do we have budget and time to even fix anything? Plus there’s the pain of learning your work didn’t meet the mark, and the dilemma of admitting by doing testing that you weren’t totally sure about what you built anyway. Continue reading Making User Testing Comfortable: Changing Cultural and Personal Attitudes
I have chalked up a lot of travel miles in my time, and consider myself an expert at navigating an airport. Experience has taught me how to decipher almost any boarding pass, no matter how opaquely designed. That said, I still sometimes struggle with figuring out exactly where to go for a flight, and I know less experienced travelers do. I can’t say how many times have I seen people (usually very elderly or clearly foreign travelers) try to get through security with an itinerary instead of a boarding pass. On the plane, people struggle to accurately identify which seat is theirs (this has even happened to me, recently, to my great shame). Continue reading How UX and Design Can Improve Flying
First, a confession: This series of concurrent research findings was surfaced in the most recent issue of the Klick Wire, a weekly mHealth newsletter. That said, the conclusion that Klick drew from these separate news stories–that the most effective behavior change coaching is personal–is one that I have long believed in, and one that formed the basis of the digital health coaching product I worked on when I was with HealthMedia/J&J. Certainly the goals and purpose of behavior change coaching need to be personal for it to be effective. Other personal details–like extending the coaching beyond purely health-related issues–can also help. And now a series of new findings suggests even more importance for personalizing health behavior. Continue reading The Best Coaching is Personal
The further I get in my career, the more I think about the cliched advice “Don’t burn your bridges.” It’s amazed me how often I run into the same people in new contexts. A coworker at one job may be a client at another, or I might find myself at a networking event alongside a former collaborator. Bearing in mind that the people I work with today might also be the people I work with tomorrow has helped me think more mindfully about managing those relationships. Continue reading Creating a Relationship with Customers: A Long Term, Personal View
While I was on vacation recently, I set a post to publish about infusing fun into social good to make people more likely to participate. Whether it was my being more aware of examples having recently written about the idea, or a growing use of gamification to prompt prosocial behavior, I was delighted to see another fun example of how game elements can help people help others: Continue reading Case Study: Making Social Change Fun
Last week I attended a really cool event: I saw Stephen King interview Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher novels, at Sanders Theater at Harvard University. It was easily the best class I’ve ever attended in that lecture hall, with apologies to my Confucian Humanism professor. The conversation between King and Child was intended to promote the newest Reacher book, Make Me, but ended up covering topics from casting movies based on novels, to understanding cultures where novels are set, to the creative process. Continue reading An Idea is Born: Writing and the Creative Process
I don’t really eat much fast food, but even I’ve noticed that most of the major fast food chains are introducing new menu items that veer from the traditional hamburgers and fries. According to a new Business Week article, this shift is an attempt by fast food companies to woo a large market segment, millennials, based on their stated food preferences. Continue reading When User Research Is Wrong, Is It Fair to Say Someone Lied?
Unintended consequences are sometimes happy surprises, sometimes sad disappointments, and sometimes just totally weird. I’m interested in unintended consequences in terms of thinking of organizational systems. Often, unintended consequences pop up when someone focuses only on one aspect of a larger system when making changes. They reveal dynamics that might otherwise be hard to see or understand.
Here are a couple of interesting unintended consequences: Continue reading The Law of Unintended Consequences