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Subject To Change: Creating Great Products & Services for an Uncertain World by Brandon Schauer, Todd Wilkens, Peter Merholz, David Verba

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Chapter 6. The Design Competency

The act of design gives form to a powerful idea that many can rally around.

So there we have it: the secret sauce is to focus on experiences by delving into the complexities of people’s lives, and then to create elegant systems to support them. This is where this book could and would end if it were really all that easy to do. Of course, it isn’t easy. In fact, it can be painfully hard.

Obstacles to Adopting Experience Design

Take the Diamond Rio. It was one of the first digital music players to hit the market, well before the iPod, and it was way ahead of the curve. Around the time of its introduction, the market for MP3s and digital music was rapidly expanding, despite the Recording Industry Association of America’s best attempts to squash the trend with lawsuits. Diamond Multimedia had correctly identified a potential market for devices to store and play this enormous stockpile of digital music. But Diamond was never able to rally wide adoption. The Rio’s features made logical sense, but it just never struck a chord with the public.

Diamond had the right business case. They understood the opportunity and had the technology, but they didn’t deliver a digital music experience that resonated with customers. Diamond learned a painful lesson: the ability to create a new technology isn’t synonymous with the ability to craft a desirable customer experience.

Once an organization decides to focus on experiences, it seems that doing so should be easy. There may ...

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