Review: Enterprise UX 2017, Part 3: Conference, Day 2

May 14, 2018

For the concluding day of Enterprise UX (EUX) 2017, on Friday, June 9, we again gathered at the Innovation Hangar in San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts.

In Part 1 of my EUX 2017 review, I wrote about the overall conference experience—including its organization, content, presenters, proceedings, venue, hospitality, events, and attendee community—and provided reviews of the full-day workshops Jim Nieters and I attended on Wednesday, June 7. In Part 2, I covered Day 1’s sessions, which focused on the themes “Crafting Enterprise Experiences” and “Leading Teams That Execute.”

Now, in Part 3 of my EUX 2017 review, I’ll cover Day 2 of the main conference, which focused on two more themes:

  • “Transcending Silos”
  • “Creating a Legacy”

For Day 2, the conference organizers put together another day of strong content.

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Morning of Day 2: Highlights from Conference Sessions

In the morning on Day 2 of EUX 2017, the sessions focused on this theme:

Transcending Silos—“Our work impacts other partners within our organizations, and our success depends on them as much as [their success depends on us]. To operationalize [User Experience] throughout the enterprise, you’ll need to have tough conversations with stakeholders in [Human Resources (HR), Information Technology (IT)], and other critical areas. We’ll explore ways to collaborate across silos, set expectations, establish shared goals, and raise the value of design throughout the enterprise.” Toby Haug was the theme leader and wrapped up the theme by leading a discussion on this topic with the morning’s speakers.

Hack the Org: Collaboration Flows in Product Development

Presenter: Mark Interrante

Mark Interrante, shown in Figure 1, was formerly Engineering SVP for HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprise) Cloud Business. In his talk, he shared some stories and a toolkit he has found useful in improving the way cross-functional teams, including Design and Engineering teams, work within organizations to solve problems together. He remarked, “Many of us are working in very large organizations, and those organizations create areas. Silos is a hard word, but they always create zones. People want to have a manager and a manager’s manager who knows [their] discipline. [They] want to be able to work in a focused area, so [they] create stable zones of work. In the hard case, they become rigid silos. But in all cases, there [are] people who work over there.”

Figure 1—Mark Interrante
Mark Interrante

By “hacking the org,” Mark meant, “Hack in the sense of: we’re going to change the way we do work … to make it better. But first we’ve got to think about what better is for us. So I start with a conversation [about] where we are now.” There are practices, habits, “things we’re doing that we know aren’t effective.” How do we find some of those “practices that aren’t as good and start to change them?” Citing one of his favorite quotations, Mark said, “Culture is what you tolerate. [It’s] the behaviors, the way you work on a daily basis with your colleagues, your partners, and your customers. Those habits. So tolerate less…. Whatever those small things are that you’re tolerating, realize that’s become part of who you are. Pick something … and tolerate it less. … It’s amazing how many little things you can start to make better just within your own team when you start to do that.”

For the remainder of his talk, Mark discussed some valuable tools for dealing with certain issues that result within enterprise organizations:

  1. Find horizontal flow—“When you’re in an org and you’re trying to figure out how work is happening, … look at the flow of work. What are my task flows? … What are the wait states? How much is it sitting in a queue, waiting for things to happen? What are the rocks that are blocking my work? … How do we start to share and get feedback on the model [of work] that we’ve built? … Map it. Version it. It’ll evolve. You can start to find what’s causing bottlenecks. What’s causing latency in your system. Now you can start to identify things to fix and make a little bit better. If you look at unoptimized workstreams, … up to 90% of the time is wait or delay states. So, if you’re trying to get faster output, faster production work, … optimize the work. Make it healthier. … Part of it is engagement, breaking down barriers, and owning your problem.
  2. Ride the fences—This is about minding the boundaries of the organization. “The challenge of any big org is that … [there are so many people and different buildings and locations.] You’re doing your work in a space. You’re collaborating with people on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis, but there are people that are on your monthly cycle … every few months even. Some of those people are in massively important functional orgs. … Whenever you’re working with somebody, assume positive intent from their point of view. … They may be against you on some issue, but they’re not trying to be against you. They’re trying to get their thing done. That assumption is like 99% true. … It works almost all the time, and you see it from their point of view. Given your priorities, where you’re coming from, I can see why this would be something you’d really care about. … What’s a protocol for interacting with us? … Start thinking of your team, your org, as having an interface and make that visible. … What are the boundaries between our teams? How do we work better—more closely?”
  3. Goals and outcomes—“These are probably the four most impactful questions [in figuring out the actual outcome that people want and how to accomplish it in better, cheaper, faster ways]:
    1. What do you want?
    2. What will it get you?
    3. How will you know it’s done?
    4. What larger goal does this support?
  4. Action communications—When “thinking about making change or working through an organization,” how do you get somebody to actually help you? “How do [you] get a call to action that is simple and precise and useful? … First, tell people the situation. What’s going on right now? What’s the complication?” What are the changes, the demands, or the challenges that make an issue critical now? “What are the implications of doing something or not doing something? What’s my position? What do I propose [should] happen? What’s the action I can take next? What’s the benefit of that?” As shown in Figure 2, Mark assesses action communications in terms of what he calls a scipab.
Figure 2—Action communications
Action communications

Figure 3 shows MJ Broadbent’s sketchnotes for Mark’s talk. Mark shared some common-sense approaches to dealing with some problems that are typical within enterprise organizations. I really appreciated his positive outlook.

Figure 3—Sketchnotes of Mark’s session
Sketchnotes of Mark's session

Breaking Barriers with Empathy

Presenter: Ross Smith

Ross Smith, Director of Customer Engineering for Skype, at Microsoft, who is shown in Figure 4, kicked off his talk by asking, “How do we go from early-stage user research and vision all the way to [the] customer and back?” He considered how to accomplish the user research that builds empathy within the context of continuous development or agile development. The answer is empathy. “The thing about empathy is: it sticks with you,” said Ross. “If I tell you an inspirational story about what a customer has done, you’ll remember it.” You’ll think about that user or customer during the course of your work. “Stories are a way to help the organization learn about their customers.”

Figure 4—Ross Smith
Ross Smith

Ross related several stories illustrating the impact of empathy on customer relationships, including a couple about Skype. “The folks on the frontlines have stories … and being able to share these across [the organization] lets people know what their work means. … There are human stories [about] the people who use your work. If I’m a designer or an engineer or a user researcher and I see these inspirational stories, I’m more empathetic and better able to understand our customers. I’m empowered to do a good job and make sure my stuff works because people put it in the center of their lives, and they count on it.” Stories inspire empathy.

“But stories are not enough.” How representative of the customer is one story? “When you think about building empathy across [the organization], you also want to bring data to back up your stories. … As we move to cloud-based services, it’s a lot easier to get telemetry and customer data … to present your story.” For example, customer-feedback data highlights the things people are talking about and helps the designers and engineers and user researchers to prioritize their work and focus. “So it’s really important that you supplement your stories with data. This will allow you to transcend silos, to bridge the organization, to allow the different disciplines to work together in a … focused way.

“When you start to see these things, it’s really important to celebrate. That tells people what’s valued. It allows others to learn [what is] important to the organization. … So, really, in trying to build empathy, it’s this combination of powerful stories, supplemented by product data and user-experience data, [engaging] the teams with your customers directly, and [celebrating] success,” as Figure 5 shows.

Figure 5—What creates empathy?
What creates empathy?

In concluding his talk, Ross offered the following practical takeaways:

  • Build an empathy map.” Figure 6 shows a template. “If you can get a representative picture of the customer, put it up in the middle, then these four quadrants—thinking, feeling, hearing, and seeing. Then, just start to discuss what … your customers think when they hear your product name or have to engage with your user interface. Brainstorm with your team. Involve all disciplines. This really helps the silos see the different perspectives…. Then do the same thing for [seeing, hearing, and feeling.] If you have multiple personas, multiple customer types, do this for each one of them. Then, follow up with the painpoints … [and] the gains. What about your product motivates users?
  • Dogfood your own product or service. At Microsoft, we have this thing called ‘Eating your own dog food.’ That basically means: use your own product. Get friends and family to use [your product], too. Figure out a way to incorporate [your product] into your daily work. It’s not always easy, but depending on the type of product, you can develop rings of users”—according to frequency of use. “This builds a feedback pipeline. On the team itself, it builds empathy…. But, as you move out in the rings, you get users who are friendly, but more like your actual customers.
  • Search for your product in the news and YouTube. If [it’s] an internal, enterprise-only product, search for your product category or product type and just see what people are saying and doing. There are stories out there. Share stories. Having a sense of what people are doing with your product is really important.
  • Create a feedback pipeline. Build that pipeline [to] your actual customers. Make it easy for everyone in the organization to understand what customers are saying.
  • Encourage everyone to read customer feedback. Share [the feedback] in team meetings.
  • [Do] cross-discipline ridealongs with support agents or community chats. Get your designers, engineers, and researchers to sit with the agents and listen in on calls. If you have support chat, get chat transcripts.
  • [Participate] in community forums. Consider building a community. This could be something as simple as a YouTube channel, or Lithium makes a great platform to build community. But put someone out there as sort of the face of your community that people can get used to and friendly with, and the amount and the sincerity of the feedback you get will go up if you have someone answering questions and encouraging users to help other users.
  • [Establish] a social-media presence. Make sure you have the channels that are appropriate for your product [or product category]. Make sure you respond.
  • Respond to app-store reviews. Read and respond to reviews.”
Figure 6—Template for an empathy map
Template for an empathy map

Figure 7 shows MJ Broadbent’s sketchnotes of Ross’s talk.

Figure 7—Sketchnotes of Ross’s talk
Sketchnotes of Ross's talk

Building a Design Culture

Presenter: Ariel Kennan

Ariel Kennan, shown in Figure 8, is Director, Design and Product Experience, at the NYC Mayor’s Office Center for Economic Opportunity, which provides services to millions of New York City residents. She works for a government service whose goal is to end street homelessness and began her talk by saying, “We must put our citizens at the center of every service.”

Figure 8—Ariel Kennan
Ariel Kennan

Ariel told us, “People didn’t understand the service end to end. They were experts at their piece of the service. So we knew we needed to get out there and start talking with more people and start bridging the gaps in knowledge.”

Most of us have experienced situations where “you need to be out in the field … doing discovery, but you have those higher-ups who need decisions, they need materials, and they want it to happen very quickly. … As design leaders in large organizations, we have to orchestrate the design work itself. But we also have to bring others along in the process.

“We were able to talk to people across all parts of the service. People making policy decisions about it, budget decisions. People who are managing programs day to day. It was important that we spend time with the clients directly. … We gained deep insights into the service, which allowed us to start connecting the dots.

“From our transcript-level notes, we began to create our first journey map. Our goal was to give detailed views into the interactions in this service—to really understand the deep complexities.” Initially, they created the journey map using Post-it notes. “[Designers like this method for finding] themes and patterns. But there’s a problem with sticky notes: they’re really hard to share [across locations]. We needed to start sending this out and sharing the insights we were seeing, so we needed to go digital and fast.” Ariel shared the first version of their digital journey map, shown in Figure 9. “It helped us to continue to see some of the bigger process phases and add new pieces, but this was a quick win that allowed us to have some cover to keep working on the deliverable, keep doing follow-up research, and keep everyone up above us happy that we were making progress.” Figure 10 shows a more detailed journey map they created.

Figure 9—Initial journey map
Initial journey map
Figure 10—More detailed journey map
More detailed journey map

“We’re not the subject-matter experts,” admitted Ariel. “We’re really good listeners, so we … needed to bring everyone back together. We hosted a one-day workshop, [with all of the stakeholders] to reflect on the journey map and bring a shared understanding around it. … We asked them to draw on [the journey map], correct our mistakes, add new details. This was a transformational day. … We brought everyone together to help envision what could be the future. … We asked people to go broad—look at policy, communications, digital, data. All the things that are not easy to change. … Coming out of this exercise, we also issued a very detailed, narrative report based around the journey map.” Finally, they created the single-view journey map shown in Figure 11. “It allows you to see the complexity, the sheer number of steps and the number of people that it takes to deliver this service,” said Ariel. “And it’s an invitation to go deeper into truly understanding those details.”

Figure 11—Single-view journey map
Single-view journey map

Ariel shared some of the ways their research has had direct design impact on different parts of the service: performance management and technology, as shown in Figure 12; informing policy, bringing together high-level executives to look at critical issues and challenges around service delivery during case conferences; and the coaching of program managers.

Figure 12—Design informing performance management and technology
Design informing performance management and technology

Ariel’s team has been thinking about ways to build design culture, as evidenced in their design culture building blocks shown in Figure 13. These design culture building blocks are as follows:

  • Mission—“What is your design mission?” asked Ariel. Her team’s mission: “Making public services more effective, accessible, and simple for all New Yorkers.”
  • Principles—“What principles is your design living by?” “We also have a set of principles that further that mission. We believe government services should be created with the people who use and deliver them. They should be prototyped for accessibility and usability. They should be accessible to all. They should be equitably distributed. And they should rigorously tested for impact and effectiveness.”
  • Tactics and Tools—“What tactics and tools are you using to deliver and spread design?” “We have a shared set of tactics. We’ve organized the methods that we use into high-level tactics and created documentation for each of them.” As Figure 14 shows, Ariel’s team employs tactics that fit into the following categories: setting the stage, talking to people, connecting the dots, trying things out, focusing on impact, and getting more help. “We also need the tools to help spread [these tactics],” continued Ariel, “so we’re creating a new service design toolkit, [in] three formats: a Web site, a printed book, and a physical toolkit. This is not meant for people who are already professional design practitioners. … It’s meant for public servants who are design curious and to help add these skills to their toolbox…. The physical toolkit also includes starter design supplies—things like markers and sticky notes.”
  • Goals—“What goals are you setting to know that you have impact?” “It’s really important that we set some cultural goals. We have to know where design is happening across our organization, so we’re looking at things like the number of initiatives that have now been informed by design, the number of public servants we have trained in design, and also the number of staff designers we have. It’s also really important that we have impact goals. It’s not worth doing design if we’re not having impact on our residents.”
Figure 13—Design culture building blocks
Design culture building blocks
Figure 14—Tactics

Ariel concluded her talk by advising, “As you’re building your design capacity, I want you to think about the design culture building blocks. What’s the mission? What are the principles? What are the tactics and tools? And what are the goals?”

Figure 15 shows MJ Broadbent’s sketchnotes of Ariel’s session. Ariel is a polished speaker who is very comfortable onstage. I really enjoyed seeing the beautiful, highly informative deliverables that Ariel presented. She is doing very meaningful, valuable work that truly contributes to the greater good.

Figure 15—Sketchnotes of Ariel’s session
Sketchnotes of Ariel's session

Afternoon of Day 2: Highlights from Conference Sessions

Sessions that took place in the afternoon of Day 2 of EUX 2017 focused on this theme:

Creating a Legacy—“What factors ensure the growth and sustainability of enterprise [User Experience]—or indicate trouble ahead? How can we inoculate ourselves against factors that kill enterprise UX teams and practices? How do we craft a multidecade vision for ourselves and our organization that inspires followership and undying respect? We’ll learn from leaders who’ve been around long enough to tell great stories and teach valuable lessons of what makes or breaks an enterprise’s UX capabilities over the long haul.” Theme leader Colette Vardeman wrapped things up by leading a discussion on topics relating to this theme with the afternoon’s speakers.

Designed to Last: Stop Talking, Start Doing

Presenter: Kaaren Hanson

Long-time Intuit employee Kaaren Hanson, shown in Figure 16, rose through the ranks to become VP, Design Innovation, at Intuit, from 2011 through 2014. She is now a Product Design Director at Facebook. Her presentation told the story of Intuit’s Design for Delight (D4D) program, focusing on some insights that contributed to its success and the lasting impact it has had on the company.

Figure 16—Kaaren Hanson
Kaaren Hanson

Before getting into her story, Kaaren took a moment to define what legacy means to her: “At its core, legacy is about having an impact that lasts. When you think about how [you can] create a legacy, that’s actually the wrong question. The right question to think about is: What is the impact that I want to have? Then, the second question to think about is: How am I going to design that so it lasts? And that’s much harder. It’s hard to have an impact in the short term—much less over a year, much less an impact that lasts for years or … even decades.”

Intuit’s Quest for Customer Focus

Launching into the story of her “adventures at Intuit,” Kaaren discussed some “levers that are particularly helpful to having success and impact that lasts.” In Intuit’s early days, Scott Cook, one of the company’s founders, “actually went out and spent a lot of time observing people and figuring out how they balance their checkbooks—how they do personal finance”—to inform the design of Quicken. “Within five years, not only was Quicken the #1 personal-finance software, it was also the #1 [application on the market]. The company “focused on the customer and ease of use … to win. …

“Over time, a lot of changes happened: the revenue grew—good news—the number of employees grew, the number of products grew. We started to have different business units, which are also known as silos. We started to have a lot more complexity and many more distractions. While Scott continued to be relentlessly focused on the customers and [their painpoints], and how to solve [them], [not] everyone in the company had that same level of focus.”

Kaaren joined Intuit in 2003 because of the company’s customer focus. “But, once I joined Intuit, I realized they weren’t actually as customer-focused as I thought they were,” said Kaaren. “We looked at how we were actually doing, as a company, on customer experience, or user experience. We started to benchmark our products. We called it usability benchmarking. … What we found was that we were not where we wanted to be. We had a goal the nine out of ten people could successfully accomplish their tasks. … We also did usability benchmarking on our primary competitors. … When we looked at Intuit relative to our competitors, we were about average. … So I started to share some of these findings with business leaders around the company. … The general reactions were, ‘That can’t be true! We’re Intuit! We have the best user experience!’ When you think about the history of the company, that made sense. We’d always won by being so much better. We just weren’t anymore.” With her methods and the veracity of her data being questioned, Kaaren fulfilled her obligation to speak truth to power and said, “No. We’re average. If we don’t change this, we’re no longer going to have this reputation.”

Turning Intuit Around

Then CEO, Steve Bennett, and his team “decided to get really focused on ease of use,” said Kaaren. “We started to focus a lot on those tasks and success rates, and over time, they started to go up. … [But], while the success rates and the ease went up, our net promoter scores were not increasing, and our revenue trajectory was not increasing. Ease had always been the linchpin for how we were going to grow our business.” So, Steve “asked the question: ‘What’s beyond ease?’ He put together a small … team”—including Kaaren, Intuit’s Chief Strategy Officer, the General Manager, and others—to look at “some of the companies we admired—the companies that had rabid fans.” The companies they studied included Apple, Nike, Harley Davidson, and the W Hotels, and the team “tried to understand what … they were doing that was so great. What we came up with was: their customers feel delight,” Kaaren told us.

Launching the Design for Delight Initiative

“Once the team understood their goal, they had to figure out how to achieve it. They launched “an initiative … called Design for Delight.” While engaging people’s emotions and hearts is super important in driving change, but it’s “not enough to make it stick. So we also looked at the numbers. We looked at the revenue that these companies were making and their performance against the S&P 500. … Most of these companies were performing better than the S&P 500. …

“I became the leader of this initiative,” said Kaaren. “Scott Cook was my executive sponsor. We came up with a Design for Delight process,” shown in Figure 17. “I worked with many of our designers on this to really unpack what made for a great product experience and what the steps were that we needed for that.” They printed large posters of the D4D process and “put them all over the buildings. … We were feeling pretty good. We had executive sponsorship, inspiration, process, and commitment to new behaviors. … Except, after a year, absolutely nothing had happened. … The products were no better. The word in the hallways was, ‘This initiative too shall pass. … Just duck, and it’ll go away.’ …

Figure 17—Design for Delight process
Design for Delight process

At this point, CEO Steve Bennett, who had been a strong supporter of the D4D initiative, left the company. Kaaren had no idea what the new CEO’s position on D4D would be. Plus, they “had a dearth of design leadership…, and the meme around the company was that designers can’t be leaders. And the meme in the industry was that Intuit is a place designers go to die. Really freakin’ bad!”

So Kaaren commiserated with other design leaders at Intuit—Wendy Castleman, Suzanne Pellican, and Joseph O’Sullivan—who were her “core design partners at this time.” Together, they considered what they needed to do to transform Intuit into a design-driven company. “We felt like we were never going to get this chance again,” acknowledged Kaaren. “How often do you get the chance to try to make a company really great when it comes to design? … So we couldn’t squander it.” They decided to pursue a new, bigger, bolder mission.

Making Intuit a Design-Driven Company

“We were going to make Intuit a design-driven company. … The next step was to go visit Brad, our new CEO. … He said, ‘I am all in on D4D. It is going to be the basis of my offsite. But I have two rules for you: There’s going to be no new content. … Everything you do has to reinforce what we’re doing already. And it had better be amazing.’ … So the day effectively was doing three things,” as shown in Figure 18:

  1. “Getting deep customer empathy
  2. “Going broad to go narrow
  3. “Doing rapid iterations, I would say, with customers, not experiments, because it was actually live with real people—and not in quantities

“These continue to be the Design for Delight principles at Intuit today.”

Figure 18—Design for Delight principles
Design for Delight principles

Creating Innovation Catalysts

Through the discussions that Kaaren and her team facilitated during the offsite, the executives came up with thirty or forty ideas and “were really excited. They wanted to do this with their staffs. Their staffs wanted to do it with their staffs. We realized that, between the four of us, there was no way we could cover the demand that was created. But it was really exciting because we were actually helping people do.”

To create innovation catalysts to help people to do D4D, Kaaren asked for 25% of the time of ten of the best designers and design thinkers in the company. “When we started, we had a couple of learnings,” offered Kaaren.

  1. Give D4D away. When we gave D4D away, we were much more impactful as a group.” They discussed whether to “keep this to designers only” or “have everybody do it.” “Should people be allowed to do this if they’re not innovation catalysts and they’re not designers? … Of course, they should all do it.
  2. Not everyone is a catalyst. We also learned that not everyone can be a catalyst. When I think about those [first] ten designers…, about five of them failed…. Thats because they were the kinds of designers that felt their value came from going off to a mountain, solving the problem, and then coming back down to present the result. Those aren’t the people that are going to help you change the culture. … That helped us as we looked at recruiting further innovation catalysts, and, indeed, we looked for behavioral evidence that they were giving their craft away before they even became candidates.
  3. Power of the posse. Finally, we learned about the power of the posse. We also looked at where the innovation catalysts were the most fruitful, the most prolific in terms of the output they were creating. And it turns out that, when you have a partner…, you’re much more willing to engage in risky behavior, which is a good thing if you’re an innovation catalyst. So, again, we started to recruit people because they were colocated, or we would deliberately train partners.”

“When I left Intuit, there were over 500 innovation catalysts,” Kaaren told us.

Remedying a Lack of Strong Design Craft

“So we’ve got D4D in our DNA,” acknowledged Kaaren. “That was our mantra. We felt really good about it, but we still didn’t have strong design craft. So how do you tackle that? We went at it in two ways: … hiring a lot more designers … and increasing the design leadership.” Kaaren “talked to people at a variety of companies to find out … the ratio of product managers (PMs) to designers”—both companies that she respected and others that weren’t producing great experiences—so she could compare them. As Figure 19 shows, the companies creating the best user experiences “consistently had more than two designers to one PM”—that is, a ratio of ≥2:1—while companies creating less than stellar experiences consistently had fewer designers than product managers—that is, a ratio of ≤1:1.

Figure 19—External ratios of PMs to designers
External ratios of PMs to designers

Then, Kaaren “looked at what was happening internally—particularly with regard to strategic projects—and added designers or up-leveled the seniority of designers on those projects. “Those projects tended to do particularly well,” stated Kaaren. “Then, when a General Manager of that business unit said to me, ‘I want all of my products to be like this,’ I was able to say, ‘Great! Let’s make that happen. Let’s hire you a team. … If you want those great experiences and you have ten PMs in your org, you’re going to need at least 20 designers—and probably at least four or five of those should be design strategists.’

“We also worked a lot on the ladder for design talent,” said Kaaren. Formerly, Intuit’s levels for the Design organization went only up to the Director level and, for individual contributors, one level below that. By the time Kaaren left Intuit, the job ladder went up to the VP level for both managers and individual contributors.

“It was through those operating mechanisms—through those mechanisms of the job levels [and] the calibration … that we were able to really make a sustained difference in the organization. And it became something that wasn’t just design championing, but part of the company’s DNA.”

Being Design Driven

“In 2013, we got recognized as being design driven” by the Design Management Institute and HBR, Kaaren told us. Their data showed, “Design-driven companies outperform the S&P 500 by 228% over ten years.” Since then, Intuit has continued to get a lot of recognition and awards for design excellence.

Kaaren was very pleased to say, “There was enough knowledge in the company that people could spend more time doing their craft”—rather than persuading the organization and teams to do the right thing.

As shown in Figure 20, “Looking at the numbers, you can see that Intuit’s stock price has steadily risen,” said Kaaren. “D4D was launched and then we started to focus on craft and leadership. Obviously, being design driven is not the only piece of this, but it’s one more example of those design-driven companies.”

Figure 20—Intuit’s stock price relative to the S&P 500
Intuit’s stock price relative to the S&P 500

Becoming Design Driven

To become design driven, “what are a couple of levers for you all to be thinking about?” asked Kaaren.

  1. Articulate your vision. We were relentlessly focused on D4D in the DNA when we were looking at design thinking. When we thought about the broader company, it was: how do we make Intuit be design driven? That helped keep us going forward when we were regularly knocked off course.
  2. Win hearts and minds. Make sure people have experiences. Have them viscerally experience that emotion you want your customers to have—or viscerally experience that emotion you don’t want your customers to have. And marry that with numbers.
  3. Give it away. If everybody’s doing this, it’s even better for you because, then, when you are the expert, they appreciate what you’re doing even more. And that change in culture gives you more space to do your best work.
  4. Scale. Use size to your advantage. Some people think, if you’re at a big company, it’s going to be impossible to change it. I actually think the reverse. If you’re at a big company, you have a lot of operating mechanisms that are already helping that company work, and all you need to do is slide right into them. Once you get design thinking or craft or ratios into budgeting or into calibration or into hiring guides, it sticks. When we got Design for Delight into new-hire orientation and into leadership training and into every single executive and CEO offsite we had, it helped it to continue to live.”

As Figure 21 shows, “Together, these are really the four elements that helped us to have an impact at Intuit—and most importantly, an impact that lasts,” concluded Kaaren.

Figure 21—Having impact that lasts
Having impact that lasts

Figure 22 shows MJ Broadbent’s sketchnotes of Kaaren’s talk. Kaaren is a very effective speaker and delivered a well-paced, beautifully designed presentation about the lasting legacy her team created at Intuit. This was my favorite presentation of Day 2.

Figure 22—Sketchnotes of Kaaren’s talk
Sketchnotes of Kaaren's talk

We’re Here for the Humans

Presenter: Bob Schwartz

Bob Schwartz, shown in Figure 23, is General Manager, Global Design & User Experience, at GE Healthcare (GEH). When he joined GE Healthcare, he “realized that the way to reach this gigantic company was to touch them and remind them of their own why. What was their purpose for being in the company? … The outcome is helping people feel better and improve their lives in many ways.” Bob told some stories about the legacy they’ve created over the last decade.

Figure 23—Bob Schwartz
Bob Schwartz

“One of the first things we had to help the company understand is that there are really a lot of differences in the stories of people across the world,” said Bob. “A great leveler for us has been … to touch people and to remind them that this isn’t some abstract throng that we’re all here working for. … It’s not just about the technology stack and price and cost and getting it out by the quarter end. It’s really about a larger mission that we’re on.
… You don’t get that belief system in place unless you could touch people where they are and relate what they’re doing to the rest of their lives.”

“One of the choices we made early on was to help teach and educate as a first part of building this legacy. … All of the great technology that the company produces doesn’t have to stand apart from the emotional benefits that we want to deliver to our patients, … to the doctor, to the nurse, [and so on]. Those things can live together. They can complement and supplement each other. They can be married together—where functional features are connected to the emotional benefits that you want to deliver. That connection, once created, helped us make a better argument [for] more deeply [understanding] what the user, … what the doctor is trying to cope with.”

“The other part of this legacy building that has been important for us is to bring to the company the idea—while constantly delivering on the business—that this is a highly personal world in which we live. … We started to talk about empathy, just inside the team. … In order to teach about innovation, we had to get back to the core. We had to get our own team to talk about their personal stories. … We started to do the same thing with our various colleagues across the company.”

“Unless you’re really willing to risk it all and sort of put your experience and your thinking and your convictions and principles out there on the table with a bunch of people who really only want to talk to you about how soon can you get me cash now, you’re
really not going to accomplish much. … One of the principles that we use … is what I call being subversive with goodness in your heart. People don’t know what they don’t know. They have [their] roadmap, [their] quarter to make. [They] don’t need to talk to you about all of the fluffy-bunny stuff. So we had to do a lot of things under the radar to show people. … In doing so, one tool that we used was to try to identify a big leader who had a huge problem he couldn’t solve. …

“To show the CEO how to understand [a problem and its solution], we built a movie set. We cleared out one of our studios and built a hero’s journey. We dressed the CEO up as a nurse. We gave him a challenge on a card, and we brought him through this hero’s journey. There were antagonists and protagonists—just like a Disney movie. He got to the end, and there were choices he could make. Those choices tied to the challenge. … From that point forward, a thousand people at GE came through this storybase that we had built…. That got the conversation about design and empathy and patient journeys into the [broader] conversation, in a way it hadn’t been before. … We had to create experiences that we were trying to deliver to our own patients and make the people we work for actually feel them first, so they got what we were trying to do. …

“Find somebody else with a really big problem and go solve it for them, using your tools. Don’t even talk about what design is. Just find somebody who is willing to be a … co-conspirator with you, who is willing to take a chance, or has some orientation to what design can do and leverage that. … We’ve invited [Engineering] in. We’ve used our own tools to help them solve their problems…. Now, we have people who work across all of the businesses who come to us and want to be coaches in our workshops for businesses they’re not even a part of. … Making it about everybody else has been a big part of our legacy. Being subversive with goodness in our heart has been a big part of the legacy we’re building. Recruiting the army that you don’t control has been another one that’s allowed us to thrive.”

Bob then talked about things his team does “to take people into other worlds … outside of their own to explain what it is you’re trying to do. If I try to give examples inside healthcare, everybody immediately puts their filters on, they put their guard up. They think about what they have to deliver. If you take them into another place, and you explain these principles by using contrary means, it’s very powerful. … Shifting it back to healthcare, … I’ve taken the story and brought it back to reality. I’ve put it in one of our products. … Getting our colleagues to open their hearts and minds, to take their hands off their ears and to open their eyes and to begin to feel a little bit…, to understand the human journey that they’re supporting in healthcare has been the way in for us and our company.”

There are a lot of negative perceptions about design. Bob shared the Claudia Kotchka quotation shown in Figure 24: “Design was the last decoration station on the way to market.” “Everybody else is considered an investment,” noted Bob. “Design is … an expense. Decisions are often made by functional managers, not by designers, and you don’t have a lot of control.”

Figure 24—Negative perceptions of design
Negative perceptions of design

“When you go into a big company—like a P&G, where design suddenly was a transformative element—or in General Electric, where it was largely unknown except as a creative resource, you can’t work with people who aren’t willing to fly the plane while they’re building it,” as shown in Figure 25.

Figure 25—Building the plane while flying it
Building the plane while flying it

Bob told us, “Another very important principle for us has been to understand how a place is wired,” as shown in Figure 26. “People won’t work with you if they don’t trust you. So building those personal relationships with as many leaders as you can, making it about them and their problems, going to find out, taking yourself on their empathic journey, even though they don’t realize it, is critically important to flipping the conversation to … them coming and pulling on you to please come and help me.”

Figure 26—A relationship-based culture
A relationship-based culture

Once you’ve got their attention, the question becomes: “How big, how fast, and where to play?” Figure 27 shows a journey map of where Bob’s team wanted to go. “We had to have our vision,” said Bob. “We had to understand what mastery looked like that was consistent and integrated. We had to understand how we wanted to grow as a design organization as well. We also needed to create studios everywhere. How do you make the studio itself a destination that everybody else wants to come [and] bring their customers to show them how innovative the company is—how forward thinking it is? How do you open the studio up so it is a place where leaders come to have their meetings? How do you use your design thinking spaces? Not as places where there [are] sensory-deprivation chambers like conference rooms are…. How do you make it really compelling, where people come to you now, to your destination, and become part of the way you think and act.” Figure 28 shows their studio in Bangalore, India.

Figure 27—Where to play?
Where to play?
Figure 28—Inspirational workspaces for designers
Inspirational workspaces for designers

As Figure 29 depicts: “This transformation of culture that we’re on in developing this legacy is very, very turbulent,” acknowledged Bob. “You are constantly trying to teach and educate—in the context of others.”

Figure 29—Transforming culture
Transforming culture

But, as Figure 30 shows, “if, as a designer or design leader, you don’t show up as a business person in the context of your discipline, you’re not going to succeed. We haven’t, as a group of professions, ever really done a good job of that,” said Bob. “We have to meet [businesspeople] where we are. I have to be able to communicate with the CFO or a marketing leader or a CEO to capture their imagination. I have to understand enough about how they think and act and what their challenges are. … Designers need to learn the language of business—a very, very important lesson.” Bob’s team created a journey map that shows what they’ve accomplished, as well as their aspirations. He told us,
“If you want to understand what your legacy is as you’re creating it, make sure you archive what you do. Make sure you keep a record of what you do. You can look back and see where you’ve been, and it helps inform where you want to go. … Understand the stepping stones that will get you to [your goals].”

Figure 30—Being a great designer is not enough
Being a great designer is not enough

“So, today, I wouldn’t say that design is in the DNA of General Electric…,” Bob demurred. “We’re the only cross-discipline team … in design in the company. We’ve done work for all the different divisions at different times. We’re [business] partners now. We’re at all the right tables. We’re in all the right C-suites. We’re seen more as map makers…, in the context of making sure that our businesses understand who their customers and consumers are, that they don’t make the wrong decisions, that they don’t end up in a place they didn’t want to, but [where they want to be].” Figure 31 depicts the role of design in GEH.

Figure 31—Map makers to integrated experiences
Map makers to integrated experiences

“The great myth about design thinking is that it’s relatively new,” said Bob. “In fact, [about 140 years ago, as described in] the book Midnight Lunch, Thomas Edison and his ensemble of inventors were doing all of the things we’re doing now.” Bob’s design team talks to engineers about the behavioral mindsets shown in Figure 32, teaching them how to use them to solve their own problems.

Figure 32—Behavioral mindsets
Behavioral mindsets

Bob told us, “We figured, if we could crack the code on making [children] and their parents more comfortable in a healthcare experience, that would allow us to have principles we could map over for adults. There’s this anxiety journey that everybody goes through when they’re in healthcare, and in the case of kinds, they have their parents projecting lots of anxiety on them. We wondered audaciously what medical play could be like.” Imagining a CAT scan machine that kids wouldn’t see as a scary monster, they envisioned stories that would transform it into something else—an undersea adventure, a jungle adventure, a pirate adventure. “We think about making things architecturally normal. Why does the CAT scanner have to look like this scary tunnel? Why can’t it look like something that’as more familiar to you?” Figure 33 shows some goals for pediatric patient experiences.

Figure 33—Pediatric patient experiences
Pediatric patient experiences

In concluding his talk, Bob said, “[We leave] our legacy behind by showing, not telling, and creating an imagined future even though nobody asked us to do it.” Figure 34 shows MJ Broadbent’s sketchnotes of Bob’s talk. Bob delivered a highly pictorial presentation about enabling his company to humanize the experience of healthcare systems.

Figure 34—Sketchnotes of Bob Schwartz’s presentation
Sketchnotes of Bob Schwartz’s presentation

Driving Organizational Change Through Design? Do More of This and Less of That

Presenter: Sam Yen

The final presentation about legacy was delivered by Sam Yen, Chief Design Officer at SAP, who is shown in Figure 35. Sam called our attention to the troubling view of many people who believe that “the purpose machine learning is to just optimize things—make things really, really efficient—to remove the human from the equation. Are we excited to go to work in the technology industry to eliminate jobs and remove the human from the equation?” he asked.

Figure 35—Sam Yen
Sam Yen

Sam quoted Doug Engelbart, who believed, “Technology should not aim to replace humans, [but] rather amplify human capabilities.” Sam sees keeping the focus on humanizing technology as a more worthy purpose. I heartily concur.

“Executive sponsorship is really, really important for [User Experience] to make an impact,” said Sam, agreeing with some of the earlier speakers. He acknowledged that he has SAP CEO Bill McDermott’s support, but also that SAP doesn’t have a great reputation for design. “What is our vision?” he asked. “SAP will set the standard for enterprise UX within the next five years.”

“How do you lead in enterprise design? We use design thinking,” said Sam, referring to the practice of design thinking taught by IDEO and Stanford’s, which is otherwise known as the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, after SAP’s Founder and Chairman.

“What’s important, if you want to really make an impact, really make a difference, you’ve got to be able to talk to business leaders. You’ve got to be able to speak their language,” again echoing the words of some of the earlier speakers. … You have to be able to articulate the value of design and what kind of value design brings to your company.

“[Design] is certainly in the news. … Harvard Business View, McKinsey, The New York Times, Fast Company, John Maeda when he was at Kleiner Perkins. They’re all talking about design and design thinking.” Sam showed a BusinessWeek cover from 2004, featuring “The Power of Design,” along with a photo of Hasso Plattner who—shortly after reading that article—met David Kelley and invested $35 million in the “What got him so excited about design thinking was that, back in 1972, when he founded SAP, … he did all this stuff naturally. He went to customers. He followed people around. He observed what people were doing. … They polled people at the end of each day [about what was and wasn’t working for them] and kept iterating. … Design thinking was part of [SAP’s] DNA—part of the culture of the company. [But] we totally lost that culture between 1972 and 2004…. The reason [Platner] got so excited … was that, finally, there was a vocabulary, a language, that described what he felt was the DNA of the company. He felt that, with this vocabulary, … with this methodology, … he could scale this and create that culture again within SAP.”

Sam shared the Design Value Index (DVI), shown in Figure 36, to which many of us now refer in making the case for design, saying, “The results speak for themselves. Design-oriented companies also have business impact. They outperform the rest of the market.”

Figure 36—Design Value Index
Design Value Index

“[Companies] that don’t have [Design teams] are acquiring [them],” Sam continued—as shown in Figure 37, from John Maeda’s Design and Tech Report from 2016. “From 2013 to 2016, everybody’s been acquiring design talent.”

Figure 37—Design firm acquisitions
Design firm acquisitions

“Yet most people have difficulty explaining the value of design. Most people don’t have a nice elevator pitch that they could give to their CEO. This is my pitch:

Innovation = Creativity x Execution

“Every single CEO, no matter what industry they’re in, talks about the need to innovate. If we don’t innovate, we’re going to be disrupted. … If you just execute, execute, execute, without any new, big ideas, that’s not innovation. If you have a bunch of big ideas, but you can’t bring [them] out to market, that’s also not innovation.”

In an IBM study, “1,500 CEOs were surveyed, and they said, the most critical thing they wanted to transform in their organization was to bring … cultural creativity across their organization.”

“Execution is about problem solving.” remarked Sam. “How good are you at solving a particular problem? Most organizations will take that skill and … optimize [it]. But is that really leading to breakthrough innovations? We’re all good at this, but it often leads to incremental innovations. … A way to think of creativity is problem finding. Identifying the problem to solve in the first place. Identifying the problem worth solving is what often leads to breakthrough innovation. … That’s the value of design, of design thinking: to help organizations innovate to be able to keep pace and survive. …

“Design thinking is simply doing a little problem finding before problem solving. … If you want businesspeople to understand the value of design thinking, find the right problem first. … In problem solving it’s very easy to divide and conquer. … In problem-finding mode, … you’re trying to find the right problem [and] you need different lenses to look through to be able to identify the problem worth solving.”

Sam cited an Arthur Schopenhauer quotation: “Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.” For him that quotation “totally summarized the value of design thinking, problem finding versus problem solving, creativity, and balancing the innovation equation for our organizations.”

As indicated earlier, SAP
’s journey has been a long one. “We’ve gone through plenty of highs and lows along the way, but we’ve learned a lot, too,” said Sam. “We’re a technically driven company. … First, we applied design thinking to the craft of user experience and … rethought what a user experience could be. … We’ve taken it to another level. In fact, we’re starting to win design awards….

“The next step was … helping our customers. … Understanding the business at our customers. … Our solutions are going to be good only if we’re able to help our customers [through design thinking]. … If you actually get the customers to speak about how awesome this methodology is, that does a lot to really get the momentum going within your organization. … [Our customers] said, this is how you have to engage with us. If you engage with us like this, we’re going to talk much more strategically to you—about taking a step back and understanding the problem to be found, finding the problem to be solved. It becomes a much more strategic conversation than just talking about … the new features and functions [they] expect. …

Their next focus was helping customers. “We were actually able to get C-level people to come in and do design-thinking workshops to figure out how to better run their business,” said Sam. “We started doing consulting for our customers because they liked the methodology…. They started to see that this was something that they wanted to build within their own organization.” For example, Daimler asked SAP to help them build a center of excellence for user experience and design.

“[Delivering] unexpected outcomes is one of the things that we have to continuously do. … [With] design thinking, you produce unexpected outcomes. … You can maximize impact through creative culture. … Improve people’s lives.”

Last year, SAP was included in the Design Value Index.

“What does it mean to create a legacy and how do you create change that lasts? asked Sam. “Here [are some] things that we’ve learned on our journey. … Designers matter.” He showed some designer to developer ratios. “1:10 is what I see in consumer apps—and consumer experiences are really the standard these days—also for enterprise experiences.” In 2012, when Sam assumed leadership of Design at SAP, they had 200 designers, but 20,000 developers, so their ratio was 1:1000.

“Think about what it would take for the enterprise industry just to get the ratio from 1:1000 to 1:100,” suggested Sam. Just for SAP’s 50,000 really big customers, that would require 500,000 designers. Getting to the consumer-experience ratio would require five million designers. “There aren’t five million designers in the industry.”

You’ll need new skills such as “user research, interaction design, information architecture, visual design, copyright, and design thinking.” “If you don’t have any designers in your organization, … there are lots of different skills. You have to communicate that not all designers are the same.

“You need to introduce new processes within your organization because you’re not going to be able to leave a legacy unless you have something that scales, and you’re not going to have something that scales unless you have [changed your] processes.” These new processes include the following:

  • “Start with the user.
  • “Review design artifacts.
  • “Enforce design gates.
  • “Stop shipment of bad experiences.

“Processes work only if you introduce artifacts within those processes,” advised Sam. “Introducing design artifacts—the persona document, the journey map—into the process. Enforcing gates. We’ve also added design gates into the overall process. One of the biggest things that [the Design team] was] finally able to do was to stop the shipment of bad products.” Figure 38 shows their process and artifacts—“introducing Discover, which is the problem finding aspect of it; Design, … the UX craft, or design doing, aspect of it; and … continuing even into the Delivery process.”

Figure 38—Process and artifacts
Process and artifacts

“[Studio] space matters, but don’t start with the space,” said Sam. First, you have to change “people, processes, and mindsets. … Executive sponsorship is necessary, but certainly not enough. It was really important to get things done, get that momentum at the grass-roots level, at the middle-management level, but also, maybe most importantly, from your customers. If your best customers are speaking about the need to do things in a different way, that’s where you’re going to get the most traction. …

“One of the biggest blindspots and one of my frustrations about how design is taught is: you learn the craft, but then you’re dropped into large-scale organizations, and you’re not taught how to make an impact. How do you translate your design language into business language that people actually understand? … From a psychology perspective, our brains are wired to do things in a certain way. … Most organizations are under a lot of pressure to innovate, and that’s when you introduce design thinking. But [you’re asking people who are under stress] to explore [when] you have to first bring people to an area of comfort, until they feel comfortable enough where they’re willing to explore. …

“Patience is required. It’s been a long journey for [SAP],” said Sam. He offered this quotation from Gartner: “Turning the ship around. The next step is to help turn your customers’ ship around.”

“How do we give back? How do we educate our entire industry?” asked Sam. Figure 39 shows some ways in which SAP is approaching this. “We created a group called Design Services. We have about 80 people in four locations around the world. [They] help our SAP customers. … We created … a design readiness survey. … We started noticing patterns. There [are] four stages of innovation readiness that organizations seem to go through. Then, there are patterns that identify characteristics of where you are in terms of [your] readiness stage. … We started to realize that all the stuff we’re doing internally, we should just publish externally and make it available for our entire industry to use.” For example, “we created an online course called ‘Design for Non-designers.’ … Communities of practice: … Together with a bunch of other large organizations, we created a community called Design at Business, … sharing best practices—what does and doesn’t work.” Sam is also committed to “leaving a legacy … of inclusion and diversity. … We talk about diversity and design and how important it is, but … we all probably came from similar schools and have similar backgrounds. … We’re trying to [take] the educational content and actually democratize the design-thinking curriculum.”

Figure 39—Education

Figure 40 shows MJ Broadbent’s sketchnotes of Sam’s talk.

Figure 40—Sketchnotes of Sam Yen’s talk
Sketchnotes of Sam Yen's talk

Closing Keynote: Creating a Legacy: The Ultimate Experience

Presenter: Mark Templeton

Day 2 of the conference closed with an inspiring keynote address by Mark Templeton, who is shown in Figure 41. Mark was formerly President and CEO at Citrix Systems. In his role as CEO, Mark had real impact on many lives—starting with Citrix employees, through fostering an “understanding of how to communicate values and … embed them in business, [as well as] thousands of partners and many thousands of customers that relied on us.” He takes joy in “the ongoing relationships that we were able to build … around doing something purposeful and meaningful for real people in this world.”

Figure 41—Mark Templeton
Mark Templeton

Mark said, in preparing his keynote, he “struggled with the whole notion of legacy because it can sound like a story about yourself, and this is not about myself. It’s about thousands of people who came together, over a long period of time, to have significant impact on the world and leave it a better place than they found it.”

Reminiscing about the early days of the software industry, Mark said, “It wasn’t about making money. It was about making a difference. It was a time when software was new. PCs were new. Everyone imagined what could be possible if we could make [software] do new things that have never been done before. The goal was to make an impact. What I learned is that, if you focused on making an impact, you could actually make money. The way I think life usually works is: you can’t receive value until you create it.”

Mark told us, “I really believe in role models. It’s one of my design principles.” Throughout his talk, he spoke about how the band The Moody Blues has served as a role model for Citrix. The company was born in South Florida, and Mark said, “I’m pretty sure we couldn’t have built Citrix in Silicon Valley because of our value system and what made the company tick. One of the things we believe in is the whole notion of being a rock band. We don’t believe in rock stars. We believe in being a rock band. … You’re a team. … This is the underpinning set of ideas to the company….”

Mark shared some of the different meanings of the word legacy, as shown in Figure 42, saying, “My preferred definition is that legacy is a gift. Legacies are gifts … of insight, … of leadership, … of experience, and gifts that last long beyond the time anyone remembers who actually give it. That’s the magic.”

Figure 42—Legacy

“When I think of Citrix, what really is the gift? asked Mark. “A lot of the discussion we’ve had about craft is thinking about how we design the gift kind of from the bottom up. … Thinking about the gift that you are leaving as part of your organization, what’s the gift? At Citrix, our gift was about authentic human outcomes. Our gift was to help people fundamentally live a better life by being able to work in much more flexible ways. …

“Human outcomes. That’s what we’re designing. And your company—everything that you do—connects to a human outcome. The question is: do you know what it is? Do you make it visible? Do you talk about it? [Is] your CEO, your management team, connected with it? Do they understand the why, the purpose of your business? … At Citrix, I’m very proud that we were able to articulate the kind of gift that we got up every single day to give to our customers—this whole notion of living better and working better.

“My journey … started at North Carolina State University College of Design,” Mark told us. “I’m an impostor CEO because I’m actually a product designer. The NC State College of Design was built and based on the Bauhaus pedagogy and had distinguished lecturers and professors … that really shaped the whole notion of how you teach design in a world where people are trained to think inside of boxes. … It was an incredible, intimate experience, and it was life changing. The reason it was life changing [is]: this kind of education freed me from the limitations of my prior education. The focus of this education—at first based upon the Bauhaus—is to help you unlearn the box that you have been put in around how you frame problems. How you thought about problems. How you found problems. And how, ultimately, you solve problems. … I’ve always been a dreamer—a dreamer trying to actually do something that I enjoyed, that would be impactful to the world. …

“I went to business school at the University of Virginia where I had another experience around the Socratic process—the case-method experience—around learning. An experience just like a design experience where there’s an assignment and a project and a goal, but there really isn’t a correct answer. There are only answers that create other problems that need to be solved. It’s a choice of problems that you want to be working on…, in every single decision you make. So again reinforcing what I learned in design school. …

Mark learned to code to solve a problem he encountered in his work and found that he loved software. “That’s what launched me into the software industry, and I’ve never looked back,” said Mark. After working for various startups, he became VP of Marketing at Citrix, in 1995, about six months before they went public. “It was a really important time to join … to really build on the whole idea that the company was based on and that is to enable remote access.” He became President in ’98; CEO in ’99. “[By] 2001, we knew … we were in trouble. We had one product and one route to market. We had a incredible distribution network, but what we didn’t have was a great idea about the future. How can you design the future if you don’t have an opinion about it?

“We had to do the kind of discovery that now there are great processes around. … [We had to] predict what the future would look like. We decided that the future that we were going to pursue looked like … a workplace that was virtual. … We decided, like great designers, to prototype it. In this case, we were imagining so many things that were unprototypable in the sense of software, we decided to make a video of it. We called this video the ‘Virtual Workplace,’ … and it’s a day-in-the-life story about businesspeople that are trying to solve problems, using multiple devices as they smoothly roam from office to car to home. They’re able to collaborate securely, with data and applications coming from all over the world simultaneously. We believed that there would be a whole new kind of user metaphor around it. You can see video, screen sharing, remote access. …

“Luckily—because luck does matter—this prototype made a huge impact on our development team. … What was underneath this video was a lot of work putting into words what we believed in, then turning that into a script.” The ideas and beliefs are shown in Figure 43. “#10 turned out to be the most important point, and that was to be the company we wanted to be, we would actually have to move from inside-out thinking, technology-out thinking, to customer and business outcome in. It’s the hardest thing on this list for any tech company to do.”

Figure 43—Core ideas and beliefs for the virtual workplace
Core ideas and beliefs for the virtual workplace

Mark said, “We articulated our purpose: To enable people to be able to work and play from anywhere, so they could live better and work better.”

This is one of my favorite statements from Mark’s talk: “User experiences and customer experiences are feelings.”

In 2008, Mark again realized that the company was “in trouble because we started to have real competition…. I knew that we had spent all this time with pretty poor UX practices and disciplines,” admitted Mark. “It was good enough to get us to where we were, but it wasn’t good enough to compete in the marketplace. The second realization that I had was that we were screwed if we didn’t do something about it.”

In that period, consumerization of IT had begun. “Users started bringing in software to do their own tasks. … This was reinforced by the iPhone, then … the iPad. … The post-PC era began,” said Mark. “The post-PC era has had more influence on the expectations that users have and has had more impact on change in enterprise UX and enterprise computing than any [other] single factor. … I said, we better start investing, and we got started. …

“We made a really important decision to make UX design part of our DNA.” They began by hiring Catherine Courage to lead User Experience, initially as a design team of one. Around the same time, Mark attended the Microsoft CEO Summit where he heard A.G. Lafley, then CEO of Proctor & Gamble, speak about how P&G were transforming from being a product technology company to a design-driven experience company. When he told Catherine about this, she brought Claudia Kotchka of P&G to Citrix, where they spent half a day talking about the P&G journey. “[Claudia] helped us set expectations right,” acknowledged Mark. “She said, ‘This is a six-to-seven-year journey. If you’re not really in it for that, don’t start.’ She also offered to help—show them where P&G had gone wrong and all the problems they had, the people, and the process.

“Then, we formed a partnership with IDEO and the,” said Mark. “We couldn’t have done it without this partnership. … We trained catalysts. … After the course, they had two responsibilities:

  1. They had to bring the design-thinking process that they learned into their organization. And this wasn’t about sending designers to this program. This was about sending people from every organization in the company.
  2. To hold seminars and training sessions. We trained about 6,000 people in the company, inside about 18 months.

“It made a profound impact, and we actually started by expressing our design principles and explaining them, but we taught people the difference between the craft and the thinking. The craft is much more about the aesthetic—a purposeful blend of capability, usability, and delight—and the thinking is much more about reframing ideas—reframing problems, challenging inertia and the status quo—and using those skills on a broad basis in the company. … What is the largest obstacle to getting design thinking advanced in your organization? … It’s because people think design is about the craft—about the aesthetic.”

They began putting processes in place to bring design into the company’s DNA. “One of the things we did right and early was that we actually got quickly to the whole notion of customer experience and taught people that every single person in the organization has a customer,” said Mark. “Everyone serves someone else. … Focusing on the experience you’re providing for them really mattered. … We had principles. We trained a lot of people. We made it clear that we were serious about moving this into our DNA and why—for business purposes, for competitive purposes—and that we cared about the experience of employees, customers, and partners, in the sense that they were all customers.…”

They were running Citrix for employees and customers first, not shareholders. “Employees invest something much more precious than other people’s money,” stated Mark. “[Their] career. [Their] time and the opportunity cost of the thing [they’re] not doing. So we built a culture that was based upon values of integrity, respect, humility, and conviction. … Humility is about putting someone else first. Respect is about accepting hierarchy as a necessary evil of managing complexity, but not a proxy for respect of the individual. Integrity is about doing the right thing every single time—especially when it’s the hardest thing to do. Conviction is about never, ever giving up on what you believe in. So employee experience, and we added that to focus on customer experience. … It’s about empathy. It’s about understanding and finding problems that customers have—oftentimes, before they even know they have them.

“We base this on some very simple ideas: That work is not a place. That human outcomes are important. … The most important outcome is that culture plus empathy equals pride. The most successful organizations in the world run on pride. If there are self-powering, virtuous cycles around pride in what they do and who [they] work with and the kind of outcomes [they] create every single day. … It turned out that this also equaled a lot of shareholder value. … If you get up every single day [focusing on culture and empathy], fantastic things happen—like growth, profitability, amazing experiences for employees, and incredible human outcomes for customers.

Citrix imagined UX “as a competitive differentiator. … Back then, when you said enterprise software that was a euphemism for crappy, complex software” that doesn’t provide a good experience, but just works and scales. So their goal was to beat competitors around experience through UX. “But by the time we got there, UX became more and more table stakes,” acknowledged Mark. “Where I think things have moved and are moving is CX—in the more holistic sense, where everyone’s a customer and understanding—whether you’re building internal systems or external-facing systems, whether you’re building a service or a product—you really are thinking about customer experience. … I don’t find a lot of argument against this from business leaders. What I find is a dearth of tools to actually do it and measure it. … This is the frontier of UX and design going forward.”

Figure 44 shows the growth Citrix experienced as they pursued their evolving product strategy and design focus. “We put together that set of technologies and solutions that really were in the virtual workplace, but by the time we got to 2013, we started talking about mobile instead of virtual—and work styles and how people were changing the way they worked. … But it’s the same idea.”

Figure 44—Citrix growth
Citrix growth

In concluding, Mark reiterated, “The ultimate experience is not only the gift. It’s when the gift has that incredible impact and outlives the knowledge of who created it.”

Figure 45 shows MJ Broadbent’s sketchnotes of Mark’s keynote.

Figure 45—Sketchnotes summarizing the key points of Mark’s keynote
Sketchnotes summarizing the key points of Mark's keynote

Mark generously shared the gift of his experience. I really appreciated Mark’s authenticity, idealism, and humility. I also enjoyed his self-deprecating humor. I wish there were more CEOs who truly live the values they espouse, as Mark seems to do.


In this concluding part of my EUX 2017 review, I’ve covered the highlights of Day 2 of the conference. This is the conference for designers and other professionals who create enterprise-software systems. I hope to see you at EUX 2018! 

Discount for UXmatters Readers—To attend EUX 2018, register using the discount code UXMATTERS and you’ll get 15% off the price of your conference ticket.

Principal Consultant at Strategic UX

Founder, Publisher, and Editor in Chief of UXmatters

Silicon Valley, California, USA

Pabini Gabriel-PetitWith more than 20 years working in User Experience at companies such as Google, Cisco, WebEx, Apple, and many startups, Pabini now provides UX strategy and design consulting services through her Silicon Valley company, Strategic UX. Her past UX leadership roles include Head of UX for Sales & Marketing IT at Intel, Senior Director of UX and Design at Apttus, Principal UX Architect at BMC Software, VP of User Experience at scanR, and Manager of User Experience at WebEx. Pabini has led UX strategy, design, and user research for Web, mobile, and desktop applications for consumers, small businesses, and enterprises, in diverse product domains. Working collaboratively with business executives, multidisciplinary product teams, and UX teams, she has envisioned and realized holistic UX design solutions for innovative, award-winning products that delighted users, achieved success in the marketplace, and delivered business value. As a UX leader, she has facilitated conceptual modeling and ideation sessions; written user stories; prioritized product and usability requirements; established corporate design frameworks, standards, and guidelines; and integrated lean UX activities into agile development processes. Pabini is a strategic thinker, and the diversity of her experience enables her to synthesize innovative solutions for challenging strategy and design problems. She is passionate about creating great user experiences that meet users’ needs and get business results. A thought leader in the UX community, Pabini was a Founding Director of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA).  Read More

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