Tag Archives: Persona

Use Persona and Storytelling to Drive Service Design Innovation

We have seen a shift from an era of production where the practices we cited were all about making better stuff, to one of distribution (Walmart, Amazon) to the one we are living in now which is an era of experience. For organizations this means delivering a differentiated Customer Experience. As a result we are seeing a much broader interest from roles in the organization that have not had to previously consider the Customer’s Journey.

The challenge is that most organizations don’t have the knowledge, tools or organizational structure to execute a holistic strategy. Most individuals are driven by their functional knowledge and roles (e.g. Marketing, Sales, R&D), with immediate short-term targets and segmented metrics. Persona-based experience design is growing in popularity – it started with websites but now companies are starting to think about how to leverage them to create differentiated experiences.


Creating personas, personifications that represents the various segment of your target audience is a great way to align the teams. Based on primary reseach it includes the attitudes, goals, behaviors of the segment it represents. Give the persona a real sounding name and a photo and write a description that includes the details of your user research. In combination with scenario (carefully constructed stories of the ideal experience) the persona is put into action and bridges the context of use to the implementation. These “stories” enables better decision-making on process changes and contain information vital to the design of good interfaces and solutions.

There is a lot written about how to develop persona so I am just going to highlight an element that we’ve added to the construction of our persona, a technology profile. This is to ensure that when we consider the digital platform options we focus on the ones being used by the target audience.

We have a lot of research at Cisco around people’s technology behaviors. We are able to match the demographics of a target audience against our research to identify where they are likely to fall on the adoption curve. We can also identify the technology usage across device types and where they are engaging in categories such as social media, online banking, ecommerce and online games.

Persona’s enable the organization to move beyond the current care-abouts and metrics to measuring customer satisfaction, product usability and to tying customer-relevant metrics to conversion points. The teams can assess the specific impacts of the customer experience initiatives on each of the “persona” as well as the impact to the bottom line.

P&G: Design Thinkers in Business

Design Thinking is about driving innovation through a better understanding of end-user needs. It’s a problem solving process that identifies and analyzes audience needs and proceeds through a structured sequence in which research is conducted and ideas are explored to come up with solutions.

A.G. Lafley explains: “Business schools tend to focus on inductive thinking (based on directly observable facts) and deductive thinking (logic and analysis, typically based on past evidence),” he writes. “Design schools emphasize adductive thinking—imagining what could be possible. This new thinking approach helps us challenge assumed constraints and add to ideas, versus discouraging them.

He appointed Claudia Kotchta to lead the design transformation at P&G. The efforts of Kotchka and her team to change P&G’s game with design will go down in business history as one of the most challenging cultural transformation efforts undertaken by a major global corporation. Claudia Kotchta, retired recently from GE after 31 years. She said: “Design is going to continue to grow and prosper at P&G. That was my goal when I took this position. Our senior leaders are really engaged in design now; we have amazing global design talent, and design thinking gets all the other disciplines engaged. We have a wait list of people from every function in the company that want to become facilitators in design thinking.”

Design Thinkers are usually most successful when supported by leadership that defines the value at the top and creates great environments. Claudia Kotchka had A.G. Lafley. Ron Johnson, who developed the concept of bringing high-end design to the masses at Target and now the genius bar at Apple, has Steve Jobs. And the teams at GE have Jeff Immelt. He has extended design thinking across his organization, measuring GEs top leaders in how imaginative they are.

The results are compelling. Read more on how P&G Changes Its Game.