Fifty six (ii)

To avoid the cognitive load of my challenge, we cracked on making other discoveries.

We developed our own icons for efficiency and consistency. For example, we used a square with “2020” written inside it to indicate where we thought emergent innovations would or could reveal new and useful influence flows: our rudimentary plans to embed sensors in all equipment to enable constant communication in the field; ideas for the development of our nascent enterprise social network; the potential of new database and knowledge management technologies. Another icon had two faces facing each other to represent ‘full gesture communication’ in ‘unaugmented reality’ – opportunities to get our employees and suppliers and customers interacting more productively for example.

Almost without thinking we began to highlight those influence processes where the gap between their potential importance given our strategic priorities, and the corresponding diligence awarded them historically felt too uncomfortable going forward. We needed to up our game.

We double-highlighted influence flows where important arrows were visible by their absence – influences that should be working for us but weren’t.

For example, it had been an embarrassment for us all to consider that we had no process for dealing with Vincenzo’s easier-to-clean-cooker idea; I mean had he not been a friend of mine. None. Apparently we just didn’t get many ideas thrown at us by customers. Apparently, we didn’t encourage them either, I mean beyond insight / marketing research.

Actually, on that note, Yvonne told us that there is a B2B online community forum dedicated to Attenzi products. Steve helped start it, yet no one else in the room knew about it, or had forgotten about it. One of Yvonne’s team members keeps an eye on it and provides links and answers occasionally. We all felt a bit sheepish about our ignorance, and this was compounded when Yvonne told us it hosts over seven thousands posts. (I’ve posted to it now and make sure to drop in regularly.)

We didn’t conduct so-called exit interviews to learn when and why our people decide to move on. We didn’t know when or why customers change allegiance. Nor did we have any way to quantify the effectiveness of internal communications, or external communications come to that. Nor did we feel our design language was sufficiently sophisticated to support consistency across the product development team. Nor did we know how our modular cooktops are actually configured in the commercial kitchen. Nor did we know who exactly last spoke with the likes of Alice B (the celebrity chef we work with) or the editor of catering magazine Big Mouth for example. Nor did we know, beyond the normal talk of margin, what our resellers liked or disliked about our range with systematic precision.

Nor did we have any idea how we might connect a prospective customer in store with their interactions on our website – to mutual advantage. Nor did we know how often or to what extent our suppliers affected product development. Nor did we capture ideas in a way that made them a resource rather than an easily forgotten static record. Nor did we analyze competitors’ digital campaigns and dialogue with their customers and stakeholders. Nor did we know why three of our newest sales engineers had all come from the same competitor. Nor did anyone in product development appreciate or take advantage of the fact that our three newest sales engineers had all come from the same competitor.

Etc. etc.