Vulcan is Dead and You're Next: How Ignoring Emotions Can Torpedo a Promising Enterprise
Are customers beating down your door before the product is even ready? Do you have an inexhaustible number of new ideas on the horizon? And are your teams cranking them out month after month? If you answered no to some or all of those questions, then... your employees are probably afraid of emotions, and it's standing in your way.
Yes, I did just say that emotions are the thing in your way.
And you're not alone. The Age of Reason brought us Scientific Discovery, which is vital to continued survival, for people and companies. It inspired the Industrial Revolution. We reached for the stars, and touched other planets. So we raised up idols like Mr. Spock from Star Trek, and phrases like, "It's not Rocket Science". The Toyota Lean Movement inspired additional data-driven revolutions like Agile and DevOps. We automated our factories, and our stock market transactions. We created machines that can learn, and cars that can drive themselves.
And... we tricked ourselves into thinking that WE also became logical in the process.
But we're still human beings. In 2002 the Nobel Prize was awarded to two economists for research that proved that the decision making part of our brain is not connected to the logical part of our brain. Decision making is still done with our emotional brain. The emotions of your customers prevent them from buying. The emotions of your managers prevent them from making the right decisions. The emotions of your employees prevent them from delivering great ideas. And you can't just remove emotions from the equation. You must understand them, embrace them, and journey through them, to get to the other side. And on that other side you will coincidentally find our old friend, Reason.
If you don't start embracing emotions, talking about them, and designing for them, then you will be left behind. It's what makes Apple and Amazon successful. (It's why Donald Trump got elected.) And it's why your products are failing.
Outline/Structure of the Workshop/Game
The Problem (20 minutes)
We’ll start with a summary of the problem, “People are not logical.” We’ll talk about the Nobel Prize-winning work of Daniel Kahnemann, “learned helplessness” research by Martin Seligman, and reference the work of Simon Sinek, “Start With Why” (referring them to his popular TED talk if they want to learn more). We’ll also walk through a few case studies from Eric Ries, a genome-sequencing company, and a software startup.
Listening to Customers (20 minutes)
We’ll cover three techniques: Problem Interviews, Solution Interviews, and Usability Testing. We’ll write and practice “Cold Openings,” simple phrases that can be used to break the ice with interview subjects, while also weeding out false customers. Participants will coach each other in pairs, using standard usability research best practices. They’ll learn what not to do and say, and how to get the most out of each customer interaction. We’ll also learn the 4-point emotional response scale, used to help identify strong leading indicators of future success.
Questions (5 minutes)
- How to explore customer emotional impact
- How to design problem and solution interviews
- How to conduct proper Usability Testing
- Understanding of the impact of Customer Service on your Business Model
Product Mangers, Product Owners, and UX Professionals
Prerequisites for Attendees
Attendees should already be familiar with product design and testing, and at least begining to explore data collection and metrics design