Yeah, I know, we hear this all the time. It’s always about the customer (or stakeholder)
Also, customers like simple solutions that solve problems they have.
As human beings we can have a tendency to introduce 2 biases in these types of conversation.
The first is for some reason we introduce our thoughts and solutions before we even hear and explore the actual problem in a deeper more meaningful way. The second, is that we like to overcomplicate things. For some strange reason we think that simple solutions can’t be effective solutions.
A few years ago, I was working with a large publicly listed client and we were looking at creating a space for the innovation team and company teams to use to facilitate different conversations. The first challenge was that there was no office floor space left in their building so this became the first constraint. I love a good constraint. It focuses the mind.
One of the floors had a landing/reception area which was near the lifts and had a high volume of traffic coming and going. If you want a space to collaborate in, make it somewhere not locked away where people can see, listen, get involved, and generally participate in the conversation. Perfect I thought. As an “outsider” sometimes we see possibility where others see the status quo.
Once we had agreed that this could be the space, rather than an unused reception area, together we set about understanding what the customer wanted from the space. This was as simple as putting a large A2 piece of blank paper out on a desk with “Hey you, yes you, if you could do anything with this space what would you do?”
This led to a number of direct customer options and we fitted it out based on this feedback. I was in their offices about a month ago and it’s still being highly utilised. Some of the layout has changed, based on actual usage, but the people using it were all engaged in conversations to solve current and future challenges.