Clients come to me when they realize that they are not sure what to build to create deeper, lasting, customer value because they feel they don’t understand their clients’ key pain points clearly enough. Typically when they are preparing a new product or service, or when they are deciding the direction of the next major feature-set to drive a powerful new lease of growth to their product.
Product Owner Story
An airline wanted to create a round-the-world 1 week luxury cruise for 30 couples in an Airbus A380.
Why would 60 wealthy people choose to take a round-the-world-trip together in a commercial plane ? What common interest would make them leap on the opportunity rather than push back at the prospect of spending a week in close quarters with people they have little in common with ? Can the promise of a round-the-world in a week trip value proposition translate into commercial traction and substantial revenue ?
What need or problem should this trip format address to become a fundable business venture ?
An airplane isn’t a luxury cruise ship : dozens not hundreds thousands of people to choose from to bond with, few onboard activities …
Decisive insight provided in a design thinking interview :
Customer Discover interview with a wealthy, considerate, open-minded tech CEO in his 40s in the target group.
Q How do you spend your holidays ?
A With my family and closest friends away from crowded resorts. I like simplicity, looking back fondly on my student days : backpack, little money, interaction with locals … I don’t want my kids to be spoiled and grow up with privileged people.
Q What kind of holidays do you take ?
A. Living by the sea in Angola with 2 families of friends in a simple villa provided by local providers of diving activities.
Q Have you ever been on a cruise ?
A Yes, I spent 3 weeks last year on a tropical river in 3 boats with the families of 2 close friends. They were quite nice individual boat. I am getting more bourgeois than I realized.
Q How would you feel about going around the world in an Airbus A 380 to see 7 of the wold’s greatest capitals with another 20 couples ?
A Can’t see really why I would.
Q What hobbies or passions do you have ?
A I love old valuable watches with a history.
Q Where do you find them? Auctions are one good way.
Q What do you think of spending a week with 20 couples stopping at the world’s greatest
auction houses over one week ? Pass.
Q What are you passionate about, beyond your kids and family ?
A. Pausing to reflect.
Extreme ski. Being dropped off atop a mountain by helicopter to do a perfect off-piste ski run
with a few friends. Nothing is more exhilirating.
Q Are you interested in spending a week with 30 couples
with a passion for extreme skiing to do 5 extraordinary ski runs over one week in the world’s
hottest off-piste ski spots ?
A. Does this service exist ? Rising, excited, eyes shining : I would love that. How much would it cost ? When could this happen ?
Q (at the end of the conversation). Do you agree to commit a down-payment to be in
the first off-piste round the world trip provided it happens in the next 12 months ?
The key is a common passion to unite the 60 guests that transcends the fear of differences with an offer the clients feel a common passion for that they can share.
With that insight in mind, the key to traction was found and required testing the business model’s riskiest assumptions in client experiments.
The idea was shelved because it was incompatible with the necessity to hold down green-house gas emissions to prevent climate change. The example of how I used Design Thinking to pin-point the precise problem that needed to be solved to create value is of course not the whole story. But a Product Owner who understands the client and his need perfectly is a PO well armed to launch a new product successfully.