I’m reverting back to childhood skills these days when designing strategy deployment experiences. That may sound odd, but it is so true.
The other day my team was struggling with the design of something. We were neck deep in content and were having a hard time breaking through. One of my closest colleagues said, “Robin – you are really good at this. We need your help to reset this. How should we do it?”
I had been busy processing all the content myself and when prompted like this by someone I trust and admire, I said “Oh, wait…ok. Give me a minute.”
I closed my eyes and imagined us being with the people who would experience our work. I saw in my imagination them approaching me. I saw the environment – what it would feel like and what it would look like. I saw the individuals and got connected to what they would likely feel and want out of the experience. Imagining this from their perspective turned our work on its head. All of a sudden it got clear. The way to architect the experience just rolled off my tongue.
Within a few minutes of talking to my peers with my eyes closed and framing what we could do to best engage our audience on strategy, the team quickly made my thoughts better. We were unstuck! We worked for the next hour and put together a plan that we all were excited about.
We couldn’t wait to build it out further and get additional feedback.
Imagination is at the heart of experience design. Often as professionals in business today, we can get all caught up in the content and forget about what it will feel like to receive the content when our audience doesn’t know as much about the topic as we do. Executive Leaders will usually spend months baking a strategy and then think that since the “hard work is done,” they can simply share the content in a PowerPoint deck to everyone else and somehow the strategy will have the same meaning it had to those who took months to craft it.
I can say from a ton of experience…this doesn’t work! Words on a page to people who haven’t crafted them isn’t going to mean the same thing to people that made the decisions about these words in the first place. At the same time, Executives don’t need to engage everyone in the multi-month process that they went through either. The way to best share the strategy should be designed around the specific audience.
Designing the Strategy Deployment Experience
One of the favorite parts of my work is connecting people with the content they need in a way that is personalized to them. We have found at Root that deploying strategy to thousands of people isn’t about impressing the smartest few with grand decks and business acumen. Successful deployment happens when you focus on designing the strategy experience for the many (not the few) and doing it in a creative way that engages them in what they already know and builds from there to where we all need to go together.
I will continue to close my eyes and imagine. It’s pretty fun…and effective.