Product Storytelling Canvas is a Product Envisioning and Development tool based on storytelling techniques. The first post about it helps you to clarify your vision: why do you think you can offer a product that can improve the life of your customers? Then it invites you to go outside in the customer world and gain empathy or at least enough observations about your customers. If you’ve completed these 2 steps, you’re ready to start crafting the your product’s story whose heroes are your customers. So let’s get ready for the Customer Journey using the next 2 steps in the Product Storytelling Canvas: from what are the customers needs to how your product may fulfils them. This post journey is about understanding what are customers aspirations to build your product achievements.
Aspirations over Needs
Customer needs are immensely quoted in all Product Development, Innovation and Lean Startup alike approaches. Anyway, disruptive innovation rarely revealed from stating customer needs accurately. As Henry Ford coined it, if we stick to customer inquiry we’ll all get incremental improvement ( e.g. of horses performances) over disruptive evolution. It is highlu probable that no hairy customer asked for a hair dryer before they were invented.
So if not customer inquiry, what else? The first attitude of an entrepreneur that leads to innovation is genuine observation. Observe users ecosystem, be in there world, use the powerful idea of “get out and have walk”. Don’t ask, just see. Then, after have written down your observations, let’s inquire about the behaviours of you’ve seen, and seek what are your customer aspirations.
Turn Problems into Aspirations
Many techniques in Lean Startup focus on identifying customer problems. The bias with “problems” is that it puts us ( and the customers) in a “we’re may be in trouble” state of mind and focuses our brain on task-handling the present. When focusing on what would a great world rather than a list of things to fix about the current world, human beings attitude changes. So customer inquiry, yes, and instead of asking problem focused questions let’s try aspirations focused questions.
So here is an behaviour-aspiration customer interview, with a twist: rather than asking all questions in the category:”What do you need to? What is more important to you?”,
inquire about the actuel behaviour you’ve observed and what customers would like to change about it:
“Why did/do this like this? What would you dream to do differently?What stops today to do it differently”
In every well formed epic story, the characters have a quest. In your Product Story, customers aspirations are their quest. Every story can exist because there is the tension between the current status (status quo) and the quest. When you know what is your customers aspirations and what keeps them in a current user journey they are not happy about, you have the driver of your product story. Eventually you may want to call it Business Model.
Also, when you have an idea of what are customers aspirations are, and you can align your product features with them, you may have found the way to customer’s long lasting delight.
Success Factors : Turn Aspirations Concrete
The most common trap right now is the “getting something done” one. As an entrepreneur, I have vision, who are my customers,what are their expectations so let’s start building!
Here I invite you to take another moment to perform an imaginary conservation. All the questions ans exercices until now was about who are your customers and how looks a better world for them like. Before starting to design the product, let’s focus a little bit more time about this “happy end” : your product allows your customers the access to a better world. To ensure that this has a chance to become true, let’s picture this better world. Project your entrepreneur experience in the future and picture it as a fully successful one. What do you observe? What is now your customers behavior? What is the impact on their ecosystem and your ecosystem as an entrepreneur?
Stay with that moment, write down your imaginary observations and mark down the key elements.
They will be your success factors. And you’d better be clear about those before we dive into the playful world of designing features of your product and implement them. Or with a storyteller’s words, draft how your story will unfold before writing it.
To Be Continued
If you’re happy with this series of posts, let me know, so I’ll go further with the next sections of the Product Storytelling Canvas. If I don’t have any news from you, I won’t ;).