When people have a sense of urgency (“Something really needs to happen!”), they are willing to leave their comfort zone. They are open to follow new roads, but where to? To another destination: the vision. A vision is not the same as a strategy. The vision is the goal, the strategy is the road to follow. Designers can deliver important contributions to visions, like images and emotions.
This is the fourth article in a series on UX design and change management. Previous: Part 3.
Thought leaders in change management think differently about developing a vision. Kotter focuses on a single vision (not multiple), developed by a distinct group of people (the leading coalition). Homan wants people to develop their own vision (with multiple visions as a result). I think, designers must create a single vision, develop this vision in cooperation with experts from the organization, and visualize it.
Characteristics of a vision
According to Kotter, an effective vision must have the following characteristics.
- A vision is conceivable – an image of the future
- A vision is communicable – the one-minute or one-page story
- A vision is emotionally charged and service-oriented, for example: “We’re going to better support our customers”
- A vision is attractive – it addresses the needs of employees, customers and shareholders
- A vision is bold – it shows guts and is out-of-the-box
- A vision is visual – an anchor point in the organization
The importance of storytelling
“Image”, “out-of-the-box”, “emotional” … designers are important catalysts for the creation of a vision, because they think out-of-the-box, they sketch images, they are customer-centered and they are good storytellers.
Book suggestion: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
Service design methods can be very useful for “envisioning” activities. A leading coalition can use these methods to create journeys of the future state of a service, as well as stories and blueprints that serve as a future vision for service delivery of the organization. In workshops with various specialists, this vision is developed cooperatively and will be more rapidly supported within the organization.
A vision can be product-oriented (for example, a vision for a new product or service), process-oriented (for example, a vision for a better way of working) or both (for example, a vision for a new service with a supporting process).
A strategy of change
De Caluwé and Vermaak focus heavily on strategies of change. See also, step 7 of this series of posts (“Build on the change“) or the example on the “Total Customer Experience Roadmap” below.
It important not to do everything at once, but step-by-step so people can follow gradually. Just outline a first step; something people can do tomorrow.
The aircraft remains!
Kotter provides a compelling example of a vision in an aircraft factory. The problem was that the aircraft moved to the next position on the production line before the tasks of the previous position were completed. The cause was that suppliers of parts could not deliver on time. The previous tasks needed to be completed later on, resulting in all kinds of quality issues.
One day, a manager ordered to hold the aircraft until all tasks were completed. As a result, negotiations began with part suppliers on their delivery schedules. It was clear for everybody what the vision was. Each day they noted the aircraft at the same position.
Future delivery of e-services
Informaat envisioned a future goal for a governmental institution, using various service design methods. Below are two examples of stories (illustrated as cartoons) describing the new services, from the perspective of the customer.
Example no 1 Storyboard
Example no 2 Storyboard
Total customer experience design vision and strategy
As an example of a process-oriented vision, Sato and Panton (in their paper “Using a Change-Management Approach to Promote Customer-Centered Design” ~ .pdf) modified the design process adding customer experience deliverables to the existing processes.
Their diagram below shows the relationships of documents that are familiar to the project team (in white) and new documents for a customer-centered approach (in blue).
They also created a customer experience roadmap (see below) as a strategy, with feasible objectives for each product generation. This roadmap helps a team understand how customer, business, marketing, and technology requirements can evolve together in successive generations of products.
About the author
Gerjan Boer (@gerjanboer) has 15 years experience as a project manager of UX design teams. Working at Informaat, he currently focuses on the value of experience design for change management in organizations. Gerjan has an engineering degree from Delft University of Technology.