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Assessment Blog

8th August 2022 | What's brewing?

What's Brewing: Working with our customers, not for them

Rob Brewer

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships” – Michael Jordan

Teamwork is important to any team, anywhere. Businesses often talk about breaking down silos and it makes total sense…but it’s not really that surprising, is it?

It’s no different for us designers at RM. Working with our colleagues all over the business is vital, but the magic happens when we start solving problems with our customers, not for them.

I don’t just mean conducting user research with them (which is an absolute given and should happen whatever we’re working on). I mean ideating, user testing, evaluating success and regularly iterating on our solutions. The whole nine yards.

When we work with our customers throughout the entire design process, we can achieve so much more. It also creates a stronger bond because working relationships are so much more capable of achieving something special. Interacting with customers can feel a bit formal but the more we work together, the more organic everything becomes, and that’s great for doing good design.

Working in this way supercharges the efficiency in which we can achieve things too. If we’ve got open communication with key stakeholders and decision -makers, we can get answers to questions, come up with new ideas together and conduct user testing in days instead of weeks. By working with our customers instead of for them, the level of insight we get and therefore the speed at which we understand their challenges, is heightened.

Another benefit of working in this way is we’re better able to find the root of the problem, rather than a symptom of it. We’re able to align everyone with what the problem is and how we’re going to solve it. There are rarely any surprises because we’re all in it together at every stage.

For instance, we’re working with a customer right now and we’ve been able to go from knowing very little about their problem, to creating a fully working proof of concept in just six weeks... All because we’ve worked together throughout the design process. It’s staggering stuff.

It is certainly worth mentioning that it does take a level of commitment from the customer to make this work, and that’s not always possible. However, when it is possible, we grab the opportunity with both hands and make the most of it because the results speak for themselves.

At RM, we’ve got the talent to solve problems and when our customers are involved in the process, we create an environment where teamwork and intelligence achieve amazing things - just like Michael Jordan said.

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