Not afraid to admit we got it wrong

By Mark Pearce

Earlier this year I wrote an article on user-centred research and design, a process and set of tools used to create a service that focuses on what users need before balancing this with technical business requirements. They consist of five key steps:

  1. Understanding the user and the context of use
  2. Specifying user and business requirements
  3. Creating potential solutions (using points 1 and 2 as inputs)
  4. Evaluating the effectiveness of your potential solutions (against point 2)
  5. Iterating; although this isn’t really a step, it’s best practice to ensure that your design is always centred on user needs

What happens under different circumstances?

Whilst this is best practice, there are circumstances where you do not get the chance to do this work. One example is when you are responding to a tender and are part of a competitive process. Here, you must carefully consider the requirements set out in the tender documents and then respond in the best way you can, given the information provided.

This happened to us recently. We proposed an end-to-end service that optimises the advice journey for our prospective client and its customers. We got through to the presentation stage and it was there that we hit a big problem!

During the presentation, it became clear that they did not understand what we were proposing or at least not within the context of what they currently do.

This is one of those nightmare scenarios for any organisation and anyone involved in business development, where the proposal misses its mark and the prospect looks confused.

Fortunately for us, everything else we said, including our approach to innovation, social values, and ambition, got us through as an alternative option onto the next stage where we were told what they did and did not like about our pitch.

We now had three weeks to turn this around. What did we do?

We followed our best practice approach to UCD and evolved our original proposal considerably. It showed our stakeholders that we are not afraid to admit we get it wrong, that given an opportunity we can demonstrate how we work with clients to find an optimal solution, and that we can do all of this in a very short period.

Key insights relating to the organisational attitude, appetite, and capacity for IT change; and characteristics of their user community meant that we developed a proposal that better suited their requirements and would give them the innovation they need whilst minimising risk.

This is an engagement that we really enjoyed, ultimately it played to our strengths, and we are pleased to say that we made it through to the accelerator stage of the CivTech Programme!

Over the next three months, we will further evolve our service offering so that we can create a new MVP that automatically assesses and processes case data using AI. It will deliver the following benefits to organisations that provide advice:

  • Maximise their reach by increasing productivity
  • Allow advisers to spend more time advising clients
  • Increase the capacity of advice organisations
  • Automatically manage spikes in demand
  • Lower their cost to serve
  • Provide valuable insights from improved data

If you would like to know more about the MVP we are building, and you would like to virtually attend our demo day on 8th February, contact us today.