Test-Run Your Company’s Major Changes
For your company’s next major change, how about creating a prototype first?
In many pilot tests, the pressure to perform outshines ensuring a design’s success, as well as the spirit of experimentation. Instead, consider running an experiment—maybe a hands-on simulation—away from the pressure of performance. In this laboratory, you could try things out, ask the simulation’s users about their experiences, listen to them and redesign accordingly.
Fortune magazine reported how Apple became the best retailer in America, earning $4032 per square foot. From the start, Apple knew becoming a retailer be risky. After all, what did they know about retail? They got advice from an expert who told them to rent a warehouse and build a fake store, so they could learn about retail design.
When they looked at this fake store, they realized it wouldn’t work. Everything was arranged by product. It was boring, and that was not Apple’s image. They saw the computing world changing—digital music, movies, cooler features on phones, etc. So, they decided to make sure the real stores would be designed to focus on people’s interests. They also looked at the customer experience and added a Genius Bar. The so-called geniuses were there to answer questions, not to sell products.
From the Apple experience, one can learn to create a mock-up of the new computer system, reorganize, create a merger integration plan or whatever change is being contemplated. Take the plan off the floor so people can experiment with it without feeling they need to prove anything. Try things out. See what the user experience might be like.
People could experience the unintended consequences that come from making this type of change. They would feel the power struggles, and see where they had to fight for resources. They would understand why people might resist this change, or why people might love to participate in a new initiative.