What is Lean Design Approach and Handcrafting?
If you want your company to truly scale, you first have to do things that don’t scale. Handcraft the core experience to shit! This means you need to get your hands dirty and serve your customers one-by-one. In this podcast, Reid Hoffman talks to Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, and goes through his early work on handcrafting solution. We called it an MVP or applying a “Lead Design Approach“. A way to discover, learn and validate ideas and design a possible product roadmap. It’s actually what we do at HIVERY. But more on HIVERY later.
In the podcast, Brian shares the imaginative route to crafting what he calls an “11-star experience.” I often call this “Thought Experiments” and it is an important design concept in applying Design Thinking/Human Centred Design (HCD) thinking to your product/service innovation.
Here are my key points of the podcast is this:
- Find passionate users – they can map your product roadmap. I often call them your “Extreme users.” These are those who are passionate enough to give you honest straight up feedback. The idea is to turn these feedback facts into real insights, these, in turn, are your Design Principles for your future product. It is the minimum you need to design into your solution to address their core pain points.
Remember I said “design principles” you are not implementing all their feedback as is. You should not see them as a list of features.
- These are the users who feel the pain the most. These are the users who your product really matters so use to them co-design what is desirable, feasible and viable. The aim is to build your product roadmap for the future but with a focus on what you need to do/build today.
Powerful design question to use: “What could we do to surprise you? What can we do, not to make this better, but to make you tell everyone about it?”
- By getting your hands dirty and “handcrafting” your MVP you gain insight never possible. By handcrafting, I mean you are basically going to “concierge-ing” the shit out of your MVP and later on automate (ie add technology, processes etc) what is important and what you need to do to scale and drive efficiencies.
- This means you need to serve your initial users/customers one by one to gain this insight. Sit with them side by side, shadow them, observe them and build empathy and understanding. How else can you gain this insight to the problem?
- With Airbnb, their first 10 customers were based all in NYC, yet they had their office in San Francisco, so they moved and visited them. Not to feel too creepy about entering their customer home, they say they are wanting to learn more about their users and in exchange, they provided them free professional photos to gain access to their users and insight to their service. They go a lot of feedback and ideas.
In fact, one of the extreme passionate customers had a booklet of notes for the Airbnb guys. This is what I call serious co-designing with your customers.
- Use “Thought Experiment” ( Thought Experiment is a process of the imagination used to investigate what may happen). Einstein is most famous for using this mental technique and help them came up with this his theory of Relativity.
- The Airbnb guys used the concept of “11-star experience“. The “Nirvana product/service“.
- The Airbnb guys went door-to-door, meeting Airbnb hosts in person – and shares the imaginative route to crafting what he calls a “1-star experience” to “11-star experience“. Need to think “extreme product/service” as your Nirvana, but build for today and think to scale up in the future. Example: Elon Musk wants to go to Mars (11-star product). How I get there? Need spacecraft, how do I fund spacecraft? Make it and funded by launching satellites for telco in the short term and build components for Mars.
- In the podcast, they (Airbnb) talk about what “a 7-star experience” Through Experiment looks like…You knock on the door. Reid Hoffman opens. Get in. “Welcome. Here’s my full kitchen. I know you like surfing. There’s a surfboard waiting for you. I’ve booked lessons for you. It’s going to be an amazing experience. By the way here’s my car. You can use my car. And I also want to surprise you. There’s this best restaurant in the city of San Francisco. I got you a table there.”
As mentioned about, this is the framework is actually used at HIVERY. When we start any Artificial Intelligence (AI) initiative with our customers, we go through a Discovery-Experiment-Deployment approach. We essentially, we combine Science with Design and Design with Science.
Unpack business needs, data availability and success metrics conducted Thought Experiments a build data and user empathy.
Co-design small experiments to validate system value
Map out the operational plan for full deployment and support
It’s in HIVERY’s DNA.
Enjoy the audio