MUSINGS ON EXPERIENCE, TRANSFORMATION, STRATEGY AND MORE
... and what to focus on instead
You may know that I'm hunting for a Transformation Algorithm
Its goal is to help us move beyond the >70% failure rate of corporate transformations and create transformative experiences for employees, customers and society. Ambitious? Moi?
To get there, I’m walking around the problem.
Looking at it from all perspectives (Japan style). So without claiming expertise in any domain, I’m blending systems thinking with neuroscience, behavioural psychology, philosophy and my background in experience design. There’s even a little math (I couldn't resist 🥸.
It's a work in progress, but I'm getting there.
Meanwhile, here are some more thoughts as I put together the puzzle. The article starts a bit gloomy, but it ends more upbeat… I promise.
It's all work in progress, so don’t hold back on comments, compliments or corrections 🙂.
These days it’s fashionable for every company to have a ‘higher purpose’.
It feels good to do the ‘right thing’. It also makes business sense.
Companies with a clear, higher purpose have better financial performance. Employees in purpose-led organisations are more eager to get out of bed and work more. Shareholders and customers vote with their wallets for companies that aim for prosperity instead of profit.
During the lockdowns, I finally got round to properly outlining my Laws of Experience Design. It’s a set of principles I use whenever working on customer, employee or other experiences.
Even the best customer experience has never convinced me to like the taste of truffles.
But I always wondered whether my taste perception would change, if I actually hunted them myself. Would the customer experience of finding the food, transform its taste. Or would I still continue my track record of baffling Italian cooks around the world.
Earlier this year, I had a unique experience. Following a chance encounter with immersive theatre superstar Felix Barrett, I was able to take a group of friends through a one-day, bespoke masterclass on the Punchdrunk immersive experience design methods.
Immersive experience design isn’t just about providing people ‘a good time’. In fact, in Norway, the ‘go-to-prison experience’ has been designed to help those that broke the law reintegrate into society.
Very early into researching transformative experience design, I realised that for real insights I’d have to go off the beaten track. So on a recent trip to London, I booked myself a Tarot experience on Airbnb.
In 2015, Japan introduced us to Henn Na. It was the first hotel in the world completely operated by computers and robots. In January 2019, a growing number of customer complaints led the company to fire 243 of their robotic workers and replace them by humans. While people were ready for a digital human experience, they weren’t ready to completely abandon humanity just yet.
I regularly meet people who want to use the Net Promoter Score as a target in their business. I invariable direct them to the wisdom of Charles Goodhart. In the 1970s, this British economist found that “any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control purposes”.
This statement is pretty dry and hermetic. But it is something that every customer experience professional should be aware of. Because in regular-people-speak it translates as:
“when a measure becomes a target, it stops being a good measure”.
The reason for this is simple. When presented with an outside target, humans will always seek the path of lowest effort to achieve it. Especially if the target is linked to some sort of reward or punishment.
This is a final post with learnings from my trip to The Future of Storytelling (FOST) Summit in New York. My thanks for inspirations offered by Don Hahn, Melissa Kelly, Andrew Peters and my friend and virtual reality savant David Polinchock.
Alain Thys is an experience architect that helps leaders and organisations use experience thinking to drive profit and transformation.