Arcadia in Munich

Another amazing workshop – this time in Munich. Much to learn each and every time I do these workshops. For the first time my team in New York generated a customer journey using an algorithm written by Joe McHeffey that allowed us to harness the cognitive powers of IBM’s Watson. We gathered data from both qual and quant sources and had Watson generate the customer journey. All my workshops done prior to Munich and all the workshops I’ve seen done by others default to subjective interpretations of the customer journey and much of the time in the workshops I’m mediating important discussions. But when you have Watson generate them for you much of the subjectivity is removed and we can quickly focus. Workshop participants can see the gaps in experiences and target those moments that will truly matter. Watson is part of our new workshopping methodology that we are calling Arcadia. We are starting to define a philosophy and methodology that is intent on helping our clients become much more customer centric. Our goal is to use the customer journey and data driven personas generated by Watson in these workshops to help the team uncover moments in the customer journey where we can drive true innovation. Whether a new product or service or marketing campaign we are intent on helping our clients change the relationship they have with their customers to offer valued points of interaction that help people achieve their goals in life. That’s a long winded way of saying that my goal in life is to help my clients suck less. And help people more. It’s a platform with a big promise and Munich was the first time I tried it out. Naturally much more to come as we define and refine our techniques.

Celebrating my 30th Workshop


Celebrating my 30th workshop. I’ve done them now for clients and internal teams, with small teams and with groups as large as 70. And yes, they get a bit unwieldy at that size. And here’s what I’ve learned along the way;

  1. Stakeholder buy-in is essential. Both for the workshop itself and all activities that come after the workshop. If you don’t have that level of commitment – don’t bother with the workshop.
  2. Preparation makes the workshop. The more research, data and analytics you have, the more impactful the workshop. And the more prep you have the better you are able to identify the opportunities to create better products and services. And super bonus if you can present all of it in a manner that is simple and visual.
  3. Don’t bring people in cold. Give participants some homework. Keep it light and easy.
  4. Watch your data. Don’t bog the room down with endless detail. There is nothing more soporific than the sonorous tones of someone spewing endless data points.
  5. Stay on your toes and read the room. Discussions should be lively. Keep it flowing. If eyelids are drooping and laptops and devices start to appear, it’s a pretty likely bet that you are losing your audience.
  6. Make sure to get people out of their seats. Workshops aren’t meant to be passive butt-in-chair experiences. Numerous studies have shown that people think better when they are on their feet. But don’t take it as far as a dance class.
  7. In the workshop make a mental note of those participants who are not participating for whatever reason. Easy to identify them when you are standing in front of the room. Sit with them. Work with them. In the end, they’ll appreciate it the most.
  8. One more workshop doesn’t an answer make. Focus on tangible outcomes. Testable prototypes, a research plan, KPIs, and identifying product owners should just be a few mandatories.
  9. Get to prioritization as quickly as you can.
  10. All eyes are on you. Stand tall. Move around. Drink water. Remember names. And make sure to personally thank and acknowledge everyone in the room.



Story Mapping


This time with a financial services client. Always fun to do with clients whose product or service impacts our everyday lives so directly. We spent several months developing very robust personas – based on data and analytics from a wide range of sources. It’s the best way to go and makes the workshop flow more easily as people get a real feel for the customer.

Story Mapping in Singapore


Spoke to a large gathering of our Asia Pacific team in Singapore this past week. Took them through story mapping and did a quick Jeff Patton style warm up exercise with them. If you look closely enough at the photo you’ll see the yellow stickies. I spoke for nearly two hours and answered a ton of questions. Clearly there is a real hunger for a different way to do things in our world. We are expert at narrative but not so expert at experience – yet. The audience was made up of people from our offices in Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Bangkok and Jakarta, Delhi and Seoul. It was a real pleasure to be met with such enthusiasm. They were super well informed and eager to learn. With a mobile first economy in all these places they are leapfrogging the rest of us. It’s all about delivering an experience of real value. The future of our industry relies upon it. And, more significantly, the future of companies and organizations who are looking for sustainable growth. It’s an exciting time for us and I am eager to come back for another workshop soon to help drive change. In turn I am very keen on seeing how regional sensibilities will affect what I do and teach. Watching locals interact with mobile in Singapore and now Tokyo has been eye opening to say the least. So good to be out here and get mental flossed. A big thank you to all who helped set up the workshop and to those who participated. We are definitely on the way to creating the agency of the future and radically differentiating our service offering.