The Busting Bureaucracy Hackathon

Phase 3: Ideas for Busting Bureaucracy (Part 1)

In-source the Customer

By Sean Schofield on July 17, 2021

Instead of perfecting a product or service that meets all the internal demands (the good and the bad), put your best customers on development teams.

First Steps 

The goal is tighten the relationship between the feedback you need and whatever it is you want to accomplish.

So, instead of putting the customer at the end state or middle state, move them closer to the beginning and more frequently into progress - both in terms of what progress feels like, but also how success is defined. Instead of thinking of and treating the customer as an external stakeholder, put them on your team, at regular intervals.

First steps might look something like this.

(1) Identify what you want to achieve (product, service, process, etc.).

(2) Identity the people/talent you need to deliver what you want to achieve (the core team)

(3) Identify your best customers / users / consumers ("best" = top 10% of whatever makes the most sense). Develop a roster of customers to join your team.

(4) Create 5-7 spots on the team for your best customers.

(5) Distinguish which elements, steps, stages, processes etc. are about customer experience / delight and which are not. Invite your customer team members to contribute to this discussion. Explore disagreements. If needed, meet with another set of customer team members.

(6) Work with your customer team members to develop your AAA (triple A) experience criteria. The goal would be to answer "what might/must we need ace to create an experience people love?" If you cannot give all criteria to the customer, see what is possible (e.g., have one from the organization, one from the core team, and one for the customer). The point is to be more obsessed about the customer than you already are, whatever that looks like.

(7) Every two weeks, bring in your best customers to give you feedback on your progress / prototypes / ideas. The more this can be behaviour based in the appropriate context the better. A design based approach may elicit better feedback from your customers.

(8) If possible, rotate who you invite. Try to get a feel for which customers make the best contributions, and under what conditions. Seek a variety to validate / find common themes, patterns, etc.

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alberto-blanco's picture

Hi Sean,

Great hack! Here's a suggestion: be very careful when selecting and inviting your customers so that you avoid the innovator's dilemma: