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Design a Better Business by Maarten van Lieshout, Erik van der Pluijm, Lisa Kay Solomon, Justin Lokitz, Patrick Van Der Pijl

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Page 98

UNDERSTAND THE CUSTOMER

Once upon a time there was a business. That business really understood its customers. Because of that, the products and services of the business became popular, and it started to grow. Managers came in, processes were set up, and systems were put in place. Slowly, curiosity gave way to efficiency.

For a while, the business kept going well: customers continued to buy its products, and the value proposition stayed relevant. But then, one year, sales started to take a dive. None of the managers had a clue why. It didn’t make sense: the spreadsheets never predicted this would happen. According to what the managers knew, customers should still have been buying the product. Except they weren’t. The company had become complacent, hopelessly out of touch with the customer.

WE’VE ALL SEEN THIS STORY

In hindsight, it’s easy to say that this is not how to run a business. Yet it happens everyday. Business books and articles are littered with stories about once-famous companies that went bankrupt because they couldn’t change: retail warehouses, record companies, telcos, publishing houses, etc. So, why do businesses fall victim to outmoded systems and procedures?

THE FUTURE IS AT ODDS WITH THE CORPORATION.

// Grant McCraken, Cultural Anthropologist

There is a natural tendency to codify what you know about customers, so that the knowledge can be scaled and decision making can become easier. Putting such systems in place is not a bad thing, as long as they’re ...

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