Customer Focus North @ Normandale Partnership Center (7/17/18)
CX and EX — never the twain shall meet. Enter Customer Focus North on 7/17/18 at Normandale Partnership Center on the campus of Normandale Community College. The two disciplines converged with high energy in the region’s inaugural edition of this behaviorally-oriented event.
As Lee Schafer chronicled recently, MSP has long been a hub of customer experience and employee experience. As Dan Wallace explained to Lee, Joe Pine (author of The Experience Economy), Lou Carbone (founder of Experience Engineering), and Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) all originated here. So the absence of a comprehensive annual event has seemed like a bit of an anomaly. In producing CFN and aggregating the local thought leaders in this field, Dave Mathias filled the gap with a flair.
Lots of thoughtful content and interaction — too much to cover in detail. Some of the highlights from my perspective:
The workshops were the main event. A wide range of practical topics — I felt like a kid in a candy store trying to make my choice. I followed the rules and attended only one workshop — some of my colleagues (who will go un-named) attended as many as three of the practical sessions. In retrospect, I wish that I had been less compliant. I attended “experience happiness” with Nancy O’Brien and Linda Saggau. Maybe sounds a bit funky, but Nancy and Linda are well-established in the serious EX realm and their approach (The Happiness Practice / THP) is both practical and relevant to the challenges of the modern workplace. It was the topic that was least familiar to me, so I decided to venture into foreign territory. It was a worthwhile addition to my portfolio.
An under-current of the event was the potential tension and synergy between CX and EX. I would assert that EX is the basis of CX; happy employees = happy customers. I think that Nancy O’Brien would agree, although there was a diversity of opinion around the event. I would also assert that all of the UX capabilities that we apply in the CX domain are equally relevant in the EX domain.
Other workshops included Sprocket CX on the intersection of customer experience and data science; Rêve Consulting on change management in the context of service design and managing the human side of change; and Kurt Schmidt / Emily Schmidt on experience prototyping. BTW: “Rêve” means “dream” in French. Pretty cool identity.
Elizabeth Yang of Optum Technology came from Boston to share her perspectives on the convergence / integration of service design and agile development. Another case of never the twain shall meet; analogous to the integration of development and operations in the DevOps movement, although a more complex interface. Very thought-provoking and relevant to my current pursuits. I also enjoyed a lively conversation with Elizabeth after her presentation.
Lou Carbone headlined the show with an historical and evolutionary perspective on CX / EX; I resonated with his perspective on CX as a fusion of art and science. Dan Hill, author of Emotionomics, covered guest recovery.
As usual, the spontaneous conversations were often the most enriching. I enjoyed thoughtful conversations with Justin Royer of Sprocket CX at the CXPA pre-event; Brenda Dickinson and Sunny Ainley of Normandale’s continuing education program in the sponsorship area; and Dan Wallace at happy hour.
My current focus is systematic innovation and all roads lead to SI. This brief, yet intense, immersion in the CX world illuminated the potential application of systematic innovation in CX; also the unique potential of systematic innovation to integrate CX / user research with product design and technology development.
It’s a thing. Congratulations and thanks to Dave Mathias and his team for getting this thing launched and I’m looking forward to next year… presuming that Dave Mathias returns from darkest Africa.
I recently presented on systematic innovation in concurrent development at the SCPD webinar series; an audio recording of the session will be available soon.
I will be presenting on systematic innovation in UX at DevJam / Product Agility on 8/14/18.
post @ LinkedIn: “Adventures in Customer Experience / Employee Experience”