First off – here’s to a happy, healthy and rewarding 2016!
In 2015 I worked with innovators from startups to large organisations; practising, teaching and coaching people-centred brand, proposition and product/service development. (Some call this “Customer Development”).
I have further evolved my range of “insightful and engaging” workshops, designed to reduce wasted time and money by making sure we deliver what end users and customers want throughout the product lifecycle. My next workshop is a “User Research Masterclass” – one of the CPD Certified “Short Courses for Entrepreneurs” at UCL and is on 8th March. UCL have kindly offered my contacts 50% off (reducing the price to £100) with discount code: “ProductDoctor”. You can book here: http://bit.ly/1OVeyrD. Let me know if you plan to come along – be great to see you!
To maintain diversity in my portfolio, I always leave time for new projects, so read on – I hope it will spark opportunities for us to work together:
1. Large Organisations
I have been helping Pearson, the largest education company and book publisher in the world, get lean (i.e. to become more profitable). Over the past 9 months I have established a new Product Coach programme to expedite digital innovation across the product lifecycle using lean, data driven and user-centred approaches. I have focussed on contextualising toolkits and methodologies to help product teams become more relevant to their target segments. We received Best Innovation Culture and Best Innovation Program awards at the 2015 Corporate Entrepreneur Awards in both US and UK, beating Unilever, Guardian Labs and Coca Cola.
As part of this programme, I have been running my workshops encouraging participants to admit risky assumptions they are making about how people think and behave, turn these assumptions into testable statements, design research to gather evidence to reduce those risks, choose the right research methods and practice how to have the most effective customer conversations. From these workshops, I produced a series of internal training videos which are to be watched across the global business.
While the internal challenges for large organisations to innovate has not changed over the past 10 years, there is an explosion of startup and SMEs harnessing opportunities offered by new technology, finding innovative and relevant ways to reach their target customers. If you are experiencing these challenges in your organisation and want to sharpen your approach, perhaps we can start talking…
2. Smaller Organisations & Startups
I have had a brilliant range of hands-on research projects this past year – including a new holistic fitness app called Kiqplan from Fitbug; a service helping the visually impaired; a pay as you go music service and an innovative messaging service. I have helped them develop brand, value proposition, feature set, roadmap and usability.
So before you engage expensive agencies or decide not to do it at all (arghhh!) give me a shout – I’ll also offer to train your staff as we go through the process.
3. Industry, Community & Education
I hosted a Startup Village at Apps World (Informa) for Mobile Monday London where 12 companies had the opportunity to showcase their new products and make great connections. I was a judge at Battlehack London, Braintree’s flagship hackathon (part of PayPal) and for the IPA’s (Institute of Promotional Advertising) annual awards.
I worked with the newly awarded OBE Dr Sue Black, creating new business models for #techmums, which set her up to get a place on the Barclays Accelerator.
Through my Directorship at Azenby, I have continued to work with GSMA (the global association for the mobile telecoms industry) providing mobile industry training alongside the wonderful Bill Best – we have a great deck covering technical, regulatory, business models and ecosystem changes – industry history lessons also offered in the portfolio!
In addition to UCL, I have delivered workshops for General Assembly, Apps World Startup Launchpad (as part of a “DIY Series” with Hai Media), App Promotion Summit, London Agile Practitioners Meetup, Accelerators and finally returning to my annual stint at Over the Air Hackathon.
Presentations, insights, outcomes and testimonials are here on my website. Be great to hear your news and about any interesting ways we can work together in 2016 – feel free to also pass on the discount code to my Masterclass.
Best and thanks for reading!
I ran a session with the Agile Practitioners Meetup last week – it was an extract from workshops I run including those at The Mobile Academy. It was a very effective demonstration of how to “co-curate” using examples and best practice from the room. With scrum masters from many different businesses including Read International, GiffGaff, Natwest, TFL, Squirrel and Pearson, there were lots of examples of assumptions being made about how customers feel, will behave and problems that they have.
Working in groups, each of these businesses was able to use the format in the presentation below to define experiments to reduce those risks. Critique flowed freely with good discussions took on topics like “Is Linkedin really a good way to recruit respondents?”, “How useful are surveys at enabling you to understand real pain felt by a customer?”, “How to use research sessions as a way to get Developers customer centricity”.
I urge Scrum Masters to share this approach with Product Owners as it will help them to truly represent their customers. It matters not if you deliver a product perfectly if it is not what the customer wants or needs.
Here is some feedback from a willing Scrum Master!
The Mobile Academy next runs from 1 Oct – 3 Dec at Idea London in Shoreditch. Get £100 off with code: Leanmob