North appointed to launch digital platform for BlueScope’s Steel Profile magazine
Apr 20, 2021
There’s no doubt 2020 will be a year to remember. Everything has changed. Isolation and social distancing restrictions are expected to have a lasting effect on the world as we know it. Or should we say, once knew it.
Things might change for the worse, or just be different. No one really knows, and that’s kind of the point.
The question is, are we equipped with the correct culture and processes to evaluate and sustain opportunities for change?
…or are we still afraid of it?
North is a lean management consultancy specialising in creating and optimising digital experiences.
We combine Design Thinking and Lean Start-up methods to create and optimise digital products and services for our clients. Experience across a broad set of clients and projects allows us to test and evolve our thinking. We draw on different aspects of these methods depending on the problem we are trying to solve, the maturity of the product and the phase of the project.
Design Thinking is a customer centric approach to problem solving. We use research techniques from ethnography, sociology and psychology to get a better understanding of your target customer(s). Taking these customer needs and aligning them to your business objectives is a great first step in designing a viable business model.
The Lean Start–up, first developed by Steve Bank, then evolved by Eric Reis, created a movement that transformed how products were created, launched and optimised. In essence, The Lean Start-up, focused on proving product-market fit sooner by prioritising the speed of decision making and getting to a minimum viable product (MVP) through the build-measure-learn feedback loop. We can learn a lot from start-ups that follow this model, especially when considering how to pivot.
Successful start-ups pivot constantly, trialling and testing concepts on scale. While pivoting in the start-up world means to shift to a new strategy, it is often believed to entail drastically changing the business model or product. Conducting customer research and a proper discovery phase helps reduce risk, get stakeholder buy in, get funding and increases the chance of you achieving product-market fit sooner. Done correctly this can significantly save time, effort and cash in the long-term.
We are seeing a range of different challenges in the market. The significance and magnitude of these challenges are dependant on both the industry and how the businesses are choosing to address them. There are always opportunities in every challenge.
As an insider, it’s often hard to understand what the problem is you are trying to solve, and which problem to address first and why. Remote working and isolation also means that having a collective understanding of all the challenges is difficult and addressing them needs to be done in a correctly designed environment.
We are definitely hearing common things from our clients:
Budget and resource allocation has shifted and in some cases tightened with teams choosing to pull back on essential services. We are helping our clients prioritise innovation activities to address new market needs, revisit old initiatives, fix legacy systems, or build better processes for future proofing and delivery efficiency.
PRODUCT & EXPERIENCE DESIGN REVIEW
We are seeing a focus on sales, marketing and repositioning within the current customer base to address a shift in customer behaviour as a way to generate new revenue. We have been working with our client-partners to help them re-evaluate and optimise the customer journey and find opportunities in specific feature sets to address changes in customer sentiment.
BUSINESS PRODUCTIVITY & PLANNING
Team engagement is a significant struggle as uncertainty is driven by an unclear economic environment. Where we are helping our partners is with a reevaluation of the current market and a focus on the near term, testing and learning as we go. This means prioritising initiatives with immediate impact that are linked to longer strategic business goals.
Examples of businesses innovating during COVID-19:
To help businesses address recent macro and micro environmental forces we have developed a method to help better structure and accelerate decision making. We have had great success helping our client-partners with this method, whether that be the portfolio of start-ups we manage, or the larger project based enterprise clients.
There are a series of principles that guide our P.I.V.O.T method. These are key to the preparation of the workshop.
We have been running remote workshops with our client-partners to help them address a number of key challenges and accelerate decision making. The method has 5 key steps.
1. PROBLEM – Focus on one
Leading up to the workshop we will work closely on the target problem you are trying to solve. It doesn’t matter what it is, just that it’s well defined.
2. INVESTIGATION – Looking in
We look to your leaders to showcase business objectives, and to guide us on a framework for decision making
3. VALIDITY – Looking out
We look at macro and micro impacts, what’s pushing you forward and what’s holding you back. We then evaluate your businesses core capabilities, the opportunities and where they intersect.
4. OPPORTUNITY – Explore the landscape
We consider challenges, issues and constraints as opportunity areas, these are positioned as ‘How might we’s’.
5. TRANSITION – From survive to thrive
With our custom decision making framework in hand, we address the opportunity areas and help you prioritise actionable outputs into a roadmap for success.
To find out more about our P.I.V.O.T Workshop offer click here.
Our partners are also our friends. We help them to achieve their goals, and they help us to stay sharp.