It’s safe to say that things have changed significantly through 2020. Some experiences have gotten better and more convenient, while some have gotten more difficult with the ‘old normal’ seeming as far away as ever. However, one thing has not changed and that is our foundational needs. Connection to our friends and family remain more fundamental than ever before. The tools that we use to accomplish this are starting to look different. Now more than ever, we are turning to tech to fulfil these needs, and an experience that is not up to the task will feel even more frustrating.
This pandemic has introduced a lot of unknowns, and has impacted companies across the world big and small. All of these changes can feel unnerving, not knowing what will happen next or how it will impact the future of your business. There is power in taking back control and asking questions to challenge assumptions. At Borne, we understand there is a way to navigate the knowns in an effective way while also introducing a process for continuous innovation and improvement.
Having a strategy nailed down is really important when producing and building a new product, for example a founder in the idea phase, or a company looking to take their physical presence into a digital sphere. Nailing a user first strategy is very effective for a company looking to take a deep dive into their existing business and product strategy in an effort to pivot into a more profitable place on the other side of this pandemic.
Customer First Strategy
Understanding who the target customers are lays the foundation for ongoing strategic planning and the future product roadmap. Start by outlining who your target customers are; their attributes, the unmet need served, how they interact with you, and why they would choose to do business with you instead of competitors. Now review that understanding through the eyes of the pandemic. Challenge if this understanding has potentially changed, or if you are making any assumptions. Explore if there are potential new opportunities to serve unexplored needs or if there are new pain points to keep in mind given a customer’s life and routine has changed a great deal.
Organising your thoughts will lay the groundwork in identifying assumptions and/or possible opportunities. Using this hit list, we recommend connecting with actual users. These could be past users, current users or potential users but talk to them one-on-one. Design Research is the backbone of a sound product and business strategy and goes a long way in minimising risk. Start with real user interviews to give you confidence that you are building the right thing the first time. Especially during the pandemic, we want to be smart with our investments, so making sure a potential pivot is worth the cost, is a crucial step.
Identify The Trends
With your notes taken on possible opportunities and groundwork, the next step is to synthesise. Look for recurring themes in the form of new insights and/or pain points. We like to use Product Design Sprints to dig into these themes because it includes some great exercises for idea generation, prioritisation, and further validation. A piece of advice we would give is, do not get up hung up on making your product perfect. Think through a basic iteration that can meet the new need or resolve the new pain point and test it with users to see if you’ve hit the mark. We do this through A/B testing or a quick prototype. With another round of focused feedback, you’ll be able to refine accordingly and nail down your final implementation.
Conducting this check on your business and product/feature idea should not take months. In supporting clients we’ve made meaningful progress in a handful of days. Learning how to move quickly in this cycle will be a great habit to support your strategy moving forward. Now when a new competitor emerges or a change in the market impacts your business, you’ll be ready to figure out what pivot makes sense for you so you can keep evolving.