Tag Archive for: Anwenderentwicklung

User Centricity as Driver of Digital Transformation

10 Nov
10. November 2017

Based on the nine pillars of digital transformation and the product transformation framework that I developed a while ago, I thought how to make this more operative and applicable for companies and transformation managers.

Digital transformation is not a trend or a specific phase of a company’s evolution. Much more a clear understanding of the meaning and an implementation into the company’s DNA is an essential premise to make relevant business in the future.

Since 2005, I am working in environments of permanent and ongoing transformation: Transformation from offline software to online services, transformation of digital products to the next level, transformation of business models and complete industries.

In the last three years I had the luck to be active part of a huge transformation journey that is including products, organization and brand of a German media company called WELT. At the same time the whole media industry is facing massive challenges through changes in media consumption behavior driven by free online news content, instant access via mobile devices and domination of Facebook and Google in user’s time spent. That is accelerating a need for transformation especially for those media company that are still depending on a successful, but shrinking offline business. Ten years ago online business was somehow seen as a nice add-on for the classical offline business such as newspapers. Today the challenge is how to finance a whole media organization primary with digital revenues while the revenues from offline business are under pressure.

Axel Springer is a great example how to drive radical digital change successfully without leaving the core values of their brands and organization. In 2007, below 10% of Axel Springer’s revenues came from digital businesses, in 2013, the share of digital revenues exceeded 50% for the first time. In 2016, the share of digital revenues was 67%.

It is always helpful to take a look at some of the famous US success stories. How did Netflix and Amazon Prime successfully take over the business from classical video rental shops?

First of all, online video isn’t new. YouTube started in 2005. In May 2011, already 48 hours of videos were uploaded every minute to the platform. In February 2017, this increased to 400 hours and 1 billion hours were watched every day. YouTube started as free platform for user generated content, in 2010, they begun free streaming of certain premium content. In 2013, YouTube offered the ability to charge a $0,99 subscription fee/month for channel providers. But the most video content on YouTube was and is still free and there was only a very limited amount of premium movie content available. Netflix, founded in 1997 and Lovefilms, founded in 2003 (in 2011 acquired by Amazon and later merged into Amazon Prime Video) were both starting with an online DVD rental service. Building up a large online customer base it was more a technical challenge how and when to switch the business to a video-on-demand streaming service.

The key driver of their success was the changing user behavior and user preferences combined with high-speed internet availability and “cheap” devices with the technological abilities to play streaming content. So an online streaming service was addressing a need that conventional video rental shops couldn’t serve: Easy instant access to premium movie content with the freedom to decide when to watch what. And the offer had a reasonable pricing compared to the offline model including a monthly subscription fee.

When user behavior and preferences are changing, new competitors rise and might address the change better as established companies from that specific market. If this happens whole industries and businesses can be disrupted, e.g. the music industry (from CD to MP3 to streaming) or even the small butchery around the corner in the late 80s when the big supermarket chains rose.

So companies’ user centricity as a clear understanding how preferences of their customers evolve and change is core to drive any business transformation. Based on my experience I identified nine important tasks that help to implement a customer centric strategy as driver seat of a digital transformation process.

The nine tasks are related to three areas: (1) people, (2) organization and (3) tools. People means the employees and managers that are going through the transformation and are shaping the process. The organization is giving the evolving frame for the ongoing transformation process, the tools are supporting and accelerating the successful realization of each single transformation step.

Create a vision based JOINT MINDSET

Similar to what I have described as “mindset of change” in my article about digital evolution you need in all product related departments a similar understanding about vision, mission and goals of customer centricity. Without such a joint mindset there is no chance to establish a working process for a customer centric transformation. Many revolutions started at the base, but to get change fast implemented in the organization the top level management has to be committed from the beginning. Ideally the creation of a joint mindset for change is happening parallel at the top and the bottom of an organization. But the vision and mission statement need already to include a strong message that is signaling change. Anyway a clear understandable and trustable vision is the key to spread the joint mindset.

Add NEW SKILLS to the teams

Based on a joint mindset it is important to add new skills to the teams via trainings, coaching or even by getting new employees with complementary skills into the teams. Such additional skill investments are very positive signals for change and might stimulate employees’ motivation to support the change process.

Create an environment of TRUST

Trust is the key for a successful implementation of a change pipeline. You need trust from the management in the workforce and also trust from the employees in the management and the organization’s vision.

EMPOWER your teams and owners

Trust is also the premise to empower product owners and teams to make decisions. The top management is more taking the role of frame keepers and frame expanders: They provide the strategic objectives, information transparency and the analytical and organizational setup for the teams and owners to make reasonable decisions and prioritize with value.

Install an open and AGILE CULTURE

Scrum and Kanban are known as an agile framework for software development based on empirical process control by transparency, inspection and adaption. But the basic principles behind Scrum can be used also outside of software development in any other department. The idea of an agile culture is so much more than scrum. It is about how things get done and about human interaction in a working environment. Agile culture means that change is a part of the company’s DNA as an ongoing and repeating renewal. It is also a commitment for an open, transparent and honest communication from management to the teams and backwards. Also failing is an important part of an agile culture. The operative team should never be afraid to fail as it is part of a learning and improvement process to succeed in the end. But it is also important to fail fast and to have a lean setup making sure to waste as less money and time as possible. Fail fast and learn even faster!

Implement ANALYTIC PROCESSES for decision making

How to make product related decisions is also something that defines a part of the company culture. Those decisions should not be made by “gut feeling” of single persons, but are also not the result of a grass-roots democratic process. Product related decisions should be mainly based on data and an established analytic process. You will need tools e.g. for tracking, testing and segmentation (or market data), but also need to make the decision process transparent showing numbers that support the results. Of course there might be sometimes strategic decision (also product related ones) that you cannot verify directly with data, but that are based on the company’s vision, mission and core goals.

Use TESTING to prove and optimize

Testing is an important quantitative tool to support the analytic decision process. E.g. simple A/B tests can bring significant improvements in conversion and revenues. But also testing needs an elaborate setup, a transparent workflow process and experienced analytical professionals. A scruffy setup can easily generate wrong data and misinterpretation. The consequence are wrong decisions.

Create PERSONAS to visualize your target groups

Personas are fictitious individuals that are representing typical users of a specific target group. A persona should illustrate core attributes and attitudes of that target group and helps to get a visual perception of users and better understanding of their needs. The tool was developed “offline” in the 80s, but shave great benefit especially for online target groups as the relationship to users and customers is mostly virtual. To give a target group representative a name, age, education, salary and specific user behavior makes it easier to gain understanding for users’ needs and changing needs in the whole organization. Although personas are a qualitative tool, the creation of those is mostly based on deep analysis of existing data from users and customers.

Use COLLABORATION to distribute knowledge and to create joint responsibility

Collaboration between teams and departments is an important part of agile culture. Somehow it is the consequence of applied empowerment and lived trust in organizations with well-balanced digital maturity. All participants in the collaboration activities need to have a similar joint mindset.

These nine tasks do not claim to comprehensively address all important aspects of digital transformation or to be completed. More they hopefully can inspire managers with similar transformation challenges and support as checklist or orientation for user centricity.

Customers‘ involvement into open innovation process (Kunden im offenen Innovationsprozess)

14 Apr
14. April 2013

The open innovation process

Users and customers are able to participate actively in companies‘ open innovation process in different roles during every single stage. The infographic shows a simplified schematic overview of these different potential roles in function and result. The function and tasks are variable and differ depending on industry, product type, goals and objectives of companies and also depending on the capabilities of the involved users and customers.

It is possible to match the roles with specific member types in online communities. In this case we distinguish (1) lead users, (2) pilot users and (3) early adopters. Lead users and pilot users are able to act as “innovators”, while early adopters are more likely part of the member group called “activists”. As explained in the infographic the innovation itself mainly is created in the first three stages of the process.

There are different forms of knowledge, experience and creativity also within the group of lead users. These specific skills have to be assigned to the appropriate phases of the new product development.

According to the industry and product type markets for consumer goods can be divided into two different types. The first type includes markets that drive user innovation more likely by problem pressure and new functional initiatives (eg. extreme sports equipment). In the second type of markets user innovation arises more likely due to design-related issues (eg. fashion products and accessories). For simplicity reasons we differentiate between “extreme markets” and “design markets”. Other terms are to divide into „fun-driven“ innovation (design markets) and „need-driven“ innovation activities (extreme markets). Radical user innovations are often mainly functional creations and therefore user innovation in extreme markets seems to be more common.

The described way of integration helps to involve customers and users within all stages of new product development. Ideally, companies use different types of customers and users in multiple roles within the process. Users and custumers could create, initiate, suggest, rate or test new functions and services. In consequence the flop risk would be reduced substantially to a minimum.

(Janzik 2011, Motivanalyse zu Anwenderinnovationen)

Der offene Innovationsprozess

In einem offenen Innovationsprozess (Open Innovation) können Anwender und Kunden eine Reihe von unterschiedlichen Rollen übernehmen und die Neuerung somit aktiv in verschiedenen Phasen mitgestalten.

Die Infografik zeigt eine vereinfachte schematische Übersicht potentieller Rollen funktional und ergebnisorientiert. Die möglichen Anwenderrollen und -aufgaben sind demnach facettenreich und differieren je nach Branche, Produkttyp, Zielen des Unternehmens sowie Zielen und Fähigkeiten der Anwender bzw. Kunden.

Weist man die unterschiedlichen Rollen potentiellen Mitgliedertypen in Online-Communities zu, so lassen sich (1) Lead User, (2) Pilotanwender und (3) Early Adopters unterscheiden. Lead User und auch Pilotanwender können als „Innovatoren“ agieren, wobei Early Adopters eher zu dem Mitgliedstypen „Aktivist“ zu zählen sind. Die Innovation selbst vollzieht sich überwiegend in den ersten drei Phasen des Prozesses wie die Infografik verdeutlicht.

Auch innerhalb der Gruppe von Lead Usern finden sich unterschiedliche Ausprägungen von Wissen, Erfahrung und Kreativität, die es gilt den passenden Phasen optimal zuzuordnen.

In Bezug auf Branche und Produkttyp kann man bei Konsumgütern generell zwischen Märkten unterscheiden, in denen innovative Anwender eher durch Problemdruck und neue Anwendungsinitiativen getrieben sind (bspw. Extremsport-Ausrüstung) und solchen, in denen innovative Aktivitäten eher aufgrund designbezogener Aspekte entstehen (bspw. Modeprodukte und Accessoires). Zur Vereinfachung kann man eine Einteilung in „Extremmärkte“ und „Designmärkte“ vornehmen. Man kann auch von überwiegend „spaßgetriebenen“ Innovationsaktivitäten (Designmärkte) und eher „bedürfnisgetriebenen“ Innovationsaktivitäten sprechen (Extremmärkte). Bei von Anwendern entwickelten radikalen Innovationen handelt es sich oftmals um funktionale Neuerungen, die demnach eher in Extremmärkten zu erwarten sind.

Idealerweise nutzen Unternehmen verschiedene Kunden-/Anwendertypen mit unterschiedlichen Rollen im Innovationsprozess. So können Anwender und Kunden in allen Phasen der Entwicklung von Neuprodukten eingebunden werden, neue Funktionen oder neue Services anstoßen, vorschlagen, mitgestalten, bewerten und testen. So kann das Floprisiko massiv reduziert bzw. auf ein Minimum eingedämmt werden.

Vgl. Janzik (2011), Motivanalyse zu Anwenderinnovationen, S.47ff

Mitgliedertypen in Innovation-Communities

02 Feb
2. Februar 2013

Nach den Aktivitäten und dem Besucherverhalten von Mitgliedern in Innovation-Communities kann man fünf verschiedene Typen unterscheiden: (1) Innovatoren, (2) Aktivisten, (3) Touristen, (4) Mitläufer sowie (5) Trittbrettfahrer.

Innovatoren veröffentlichen, im Gegensatz zu reinen Aktivisten, eigene Entwicklungen in der Online-Community, müssen dort aber nicht zwangsläufig permanent aktiv sein. Innovatoren stellen dabei ihre Ideen und Entwicklungen ohne erkennbare finanzielle Entlohnung allen Mitgliedern zur Verfügung. Innovatoren und Aktivisten sind als Motor einer Innovation-Community wesentlich für den Bestand und die Weiterentwicklung. Touristen sind Mitglieder, die nur temporäres Interesse am zentralen Thema haben und deshalb weniger Aktivität zeigen. Mitläufer leisten zwar regelmäßig Beiträge, allerdings überwiegen andere individuelle Bedürfnisse, bspw. die Suche nach sozialen Bindungen, deutlich den inhaltlichen Kern der Online-Community. Trittbrettfahrer haben oftmals starkes Interesse am Produkt oder Thema und verfügen teilweise selbst über detailliertes Fachwissen, beteiligen sich aber nicht aktiv an der Diskussion oder Lösungsfindung, sondern konsumieren nur „aktiv“ das Wissen als sogenanntes öffentliches Gut. Trittbrettfahrer lassen sich in Lurker (Beobachter), die in der Online-Community nur mitlesen, und Opportunisten, die neben dem Mitlesen auch aktiv Fragen stellen, aber selber trotz ihres Wissens nicht beitragen, unterteilen. Wissen, Informationen und Ideen werden von aktiven Mitgliedern frei zugänglich gemacht, um mit anderen Mitgliedern kollaborativ Produkte zu entwickeln oder Lösungen zu finden.

Außerdem existiert eine Gruppe registrierter Personen, die vollständig inaktiv sind, aber deren Mitgliedsdaten nicht gelöscht wurden. Solche Mitglieder kann man als „Karteileichen“ bezeichnen.

In privat betrieben Online-Communities agiert der Inhaber auch als Moderator und Mittler und ist oftmals gleichzeitig ein Innovator oder Aktivist innerhalb der Gemeinschaft. Dagegen beschränkt sich der Betreiber in von Unternehmen initiierten Online-Communities meist auf die Moderatoren- und Kommentatorenrolle. In einem solchen Fall gilt es eine moderierende Lenkungsfunktion auszuüben und bspw. den Rahmen einer Idee oder Entwicklung abzustecken sowie Feedback zum Diskussionsverlauf zu geben.

In der grafischen Abbildung werden die unterschiedenen Mitgliedertypen in Abhängigkeit von Aktivitäten und Besuchsverhalten in einer Innovation-Community dargestellt. Während die Abszisse die Häufigkeit der Besuche in der Online-Community zeigt, welche sich bspw. durch erfasste Login-Daten messen lassen, beschreibt die Ordinate die Form der Beteiligung vom Mitlesen bis zum Veröffentlichen eigener Entwicklungen. Die Abgrenzung der unterschiedlichen Typen ist idealisiert und folgt dem Prinzip der jeweils am intensivsten ausgeübten Form von Beteiligung. So geben Innovatoren auch Feedback zu Innovationsprojekten anderer Mitglieder oder äußern sich zu anderen Themenbereichen in der Online-Community. Während der Mitgliedschaft in einer Online-Community durchlaufen Anwender unterschiedliche Phasen und können ihre Rolle verändern, wechseln und weiterentwickeln.

Vgl. Janzik (2011), Motivanalyse zu Anwenderinnovationen, S.84ff

© Copyright - Acadessa - Imprint