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Important concepts from the very top

. Mark Schraad

I had an opportunity to participate in an excellent brainstorming session yesterday. What was particularly interesting was a 30-minute or so inspirational address prior to the meeting from our chair, Eddie Lampert. Eddie spoke to three extremely important concepts.

Disruptive Markets. Clayton Christensen has written about market disruption for a long time. His books, The Innovators Dilemma and What’s Next detail the theory of rising as a start up to concur the market leader by addressing over served customers. In most markets, the there is a tendency for the leader to become (at least somewhat) arrogant and complacent. Domination of the market often leads to the dumping of feature after feature onto products that raise the price, but are of little interest to consumers. The big mistake here is not including the user/customer in the innovation process and thinking we are smarter about what they want than they are.

Value chains and market ecosystems. We all know the story about the ipod/itunes delivery system. Apple reinvented how we listen to music with a simple device, but there were plenty of mp3 players. What Apple did that made a difference was tie in the entire value chain into a system that closed out competition and worked beautifully. It altered how many of us purchase and store music. They won that war by thinking beyond the product and beyond the thing. They thought about process, service, and customer’s ease of use.

Systems thinking. One off products and ideas are great, but systems are even better. From pattern libraries to appliances that talk to each other, designing systems can exponentially increase effectiveness and optimize efficiencies. This applies to our process, our products and our services as they blend to provide value to both the company and to our customers.

Most of you who work in the UX group are probably saying to yourselves, “So what, we know about this stuff.” And your right… this is not rocket science. But to most of America this is not the sort of stuff thought about regularly. We sometimes get ‘head down’ busy focused on deadlines and forget to think about the bigger picture and how we can effect things at that level. So it’s helpful to be reminded of very powerful concepts such as these. I would encourage each of you to regularly revisit these concepts, and to bring them up in our meetings and presentations. We have a large corporate culture, some of which does not think about things in the same way we do. Let’s share differing perspectives, new concepts and insights. Let’s help to move this company forward by listening to what is being said at the very top of the organization.


At 3/25/2010 04:58:00 AM, Blogger danny peck said...

This article appears three times @ http://uxsears.blogspot.com/ -- Just a heads up.


At 4/25/2010 04:13:00 AM, Blogger Greg Faulkner said...


As a shareholder I'm excited to hear that these important concepts are being discussed and shared throughout the company.



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