Thoughts on design, strategy, and innovation.

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Teaching and Writing on Experience Modeling

The design and UX community talks breathlessly about “customer experience” but, in the end, tends to focus more on the details of web, mobile or product design than “customers” or “experience” itself. As I and others have pointed out, an “experience” is not possible to design. With that, I have made a concerted effort to highlight what can be designed (touch points, products, services and systems which power them) and how data from individual customer experiences can be aggregated into valuable experience models in inform design.

Rapid Experience Modeling
Picture: Rapid Experience Modeling Fall 2011 Intercession

I am working hard to push this thinking forward in two ways. First, I’m teaching a class at the IIT Institute of Design on the topic. It is an expanded version of an earlier course (Rapid Experience Modeling) which I have taught a couple of times previously. Earlier incarnations had always seemed rushed in 7 week session, or 5 day intercession, formats. This will be a full 12 week course, enabling both myself and the students to dig deeper and resolve our thinking. Here’s the course description for Experience Modeling:

As the number of touch points with customers have exploded, the challenge in understanding and managing a multichannel customer experience has become increasingly problematic. IDN514 is an immersion course in “Experience Modeling”: the process of illustrating current and future experience for the purpose of design-led innovation. The focus of the course will be in quickly creating different experience models to describe the world, problems and opportunities–both heuristic and generative. Several models will be created each week on a particular “Aspect of the Experience”–people, journey, mode, value, and ecosystem–with heavy critique and discussion in class. Final presentations will consist of a completely integrated story illustrating a set of people, their experiences with an organization, resultant opportunities and a future state experience.

The primary course objective is to enable students to be comfortable in describing and illustrating multichannel “Experience”, illustrating insight from research and providing definition for strategy. More tangibly, the class is built around mastery of five core model types–the “Aspects of the Experience”–that work together to create a complete, compelling and actionable picture of people and their interactions with an organization.

The course itself also relates to the second way I am pushing thinking in Experience Modeling: my second book. I started the book earlier this year and it is coming (slowly) along. The books title at this point is Innovating Experience and sort of starts off where Naked Innovation ends. If Naked Innovation is about all types of innovation (including internally focused facets like core processes), Innovating Experience is a deep dive on how to produce a higher hit rate specifically in customer experience. It’s exciting stuff and makes my return to the US and Chicago even more satisfying. Teaching and writing is easier in the confines of my longtime home, with a large support network of professional colleagues, academics and friends to help me through the dark days of book writing.

While I’ve thought through the structure and outline of the book, I only have three chapters drafted. It’s a 2014 release, for sure. More on that soon...


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