Align: Designing Value

I’m lucky: for a majority of my career I’ve had the fortune to come in direct contact with the customers of the companies I worked for. I’ve observed hundreds of people at their workplaces or in retail stores or in their homes, across many industries. I’ve observed what they experience in context.

Ideally, everyone in an organization would get firsthand contact with customers. But for many this type of exposure is limited. Even frontline personnel, such as customer support center agents, may only see a few of the experiences customers have. Anecdotes come in without context, like notes in a bottle washed up on shore.

A broader picture is needed in order to connect the dots. Diagrams provide such a view. But creating a diagram is not the ultimate goal. Rather, it is a means to engage others in your organization in a discourse. It’s your job to make this discourse happen. Consequently, your role switches from mapmaker to facilitator at this point in the process.

This lesson describes the main components of an alignment workshop, a primary event to bring others together. The session has three parts:

  • Empathize:

    Gain an outside-in view of the individual’s experience

  • Envision:

    Imagine a future that provides meaningful value

  • Evaluate:

    Articulate ideas quickly and test them for immediate feedback

You won’t come out of the workshop with fully fleshed-out concepts ready to implement. In a final step, you’ll plan experiments. Test your hypotheses and measure outcomes in the weeks ...

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