How we design products and services today is fundamentally broken.

 
 
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Why?

It’s all about how we define ‘success’. Let me elaborate. On more occasions than I can count I’ve found myself stuck between a rock and a hard place. The metrics business stakeholders care about, the numbers that drive remuneration, and the way organisations define success is regularly at odds with the metrics their customers care about.

I wrote about this in a previous article and proposed that outdated business models, or metrics, drove design and implementation behaviours that are counter-productive. Products and services should augment human capability. Instead, they’re locking people in.

This isn’t a hard and fast rule—there’s black, white, grey, and everything in between, yet our observations have become clear. Business metrics don’t align to customer metrics. We believe they should.

It’s this very premise that made Greater Than X a thing. It’s why we exist.

Over time this thinking led to the development of model that we believe enables us to capture the essence of why people choose one thing over another. We call this VME Design, a practice that enables us to discover and then design for value, meaning and engagement.

We believe that over time we can help organisations evolve how they think and act. We believe we can help organisations design for value, meaning and engagement. The organisations who demonstrate this focus and deliver it consistently will be the ones who win in people’s hearts, minds and wallets in the longer-term.

 

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This forms the basis of our big picture; a vision for a world in which the stuff people care about is the same stuff that defines an organisation's success.

a vision for a world in which the stuff people care about is the same stuff that defines an organisation’s success.

But we can’t jump straight to that. We see increments of demonstrable progress leading us towards that future.

That’s where >X and our current focus enters the picture

One of the biggest problems we collectively face today is a serious lack of trust. In fact, consumer trust across all industries is at a measurable all time low. Contributing to this are serious data breaches, questionable business models, misinformation and more broken promises than one might care to count.

Whilst all of this is happening we are becoming more and more reliant on data. 1s and 0s drive so much of what we do. They grants us access, enable us to participate and in many situations also discriminate.

 

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Something’s got to change if we’re to realise the potential of using data both economically and socially. We’ve got the change if we’re to transition to a state of widespread trust.

Through our focused work we’ve come to learn that earning people’s trust is the result of transparency, value delivery and consequence acceptance.

In less abstract terms this means an organisation (or person, or I suppose, ‘thing’) communicates their intent, their purpose or their objective. They make sure it aligns to the intent, purpose or objective of the other party too. They then do everything they can to make the potential reality they’ve communicated an actual one. They do everything within their power to deliver value, meaning and engagement to the other party. Then, if things work out they share in the value they’ve helped create. If things go sideways, they own it, take responsibility and find ways to mitigate the impact. They then learn from the mistake and better their model.

This virtuous cycle underpins trust-based relationships. We believe it underpins data-driven organisational transformations too.

 

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Right now this is our focus. We help organisations transition from a people as the product to mentality to a people as equal participants mentality. This impacts culture, workflows and outputs. It completely changes the dynamic of organisation to person relationships and it helps us navigate towards a future where the things organisations care about are the very same things people care about.

We help them learn more about what really motivates their customers. We help them discover how they might create greater positive impact in people’s lives.

And from there we collaborate to design valuable, meaningful and engaging propositions that use data in new and unique ways.

I’m writing this because why we do what we do matters most. It’s also one of the key things that differentiates us.

We’re just getting started on our journey. We’ve been fortunate to contribute to some incredible work already. What’s your why? If it’s similar to ours, you know what to do.

Nathan

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