Three letters that, when used properly in the form of a well placed question, can alter the course of a conversation in a second: Why?
Problem solvers are fueled by, "Why?". In the toolbox of the problem solver, "Why?" is the intellectual power drill. "Why?" opens up doors. "Why?" gets people talking and thinking about things that might otherwise not get discussed in detail. "Why?" is the match that lights the flame of Discovery.
There are numerous approaches to how one performs Discovery in today's digital marketplace. At COPIOUS, the approach is rooted in design thinking and made truly collaborative with our clients. We don't just go to the whiteboard and diagram our thoughts, we take clients to the board with us giving them a marker too. We choose to collaborate in the deepest sense where we provide the objectivity and critical listening skills to traverse the clutter of client challenges through thoughtful conversation, whiteboarding with Post-It Notes, and dot voting. These tools are augmented by digging deep into client issues and goals through asking, "Why?" — probing on points of view and statements of fact.
We know that clients have problems to solve whether they are obvious ("I need to sell more products") or not so obvious ("The site I built last year is underperforming but I don't know why"). Thoughtfully working through problem solving with clients is essential to crafting solutions that meet their needs and solve their challenges. Building deep understanding in the client's business allows us to provide value at the decision making level. Partnering in strategic decisions creates work that truly solves problems. This is the intersection where an agency can be a real asset to a client. COPIOUS takes this mantra to heart putting it to practice every day we come to the office.
So how does COPIOUS solve client problems?
We recently partnered with a company who was looking to solve a unique problem for a niche audience. They felt the problem could be solved by providing them with an online destination that assists in solving problems in their space. The challenges for this client are many, as there are multiple players in this possible destination all benefiting from different aspects of the users interactions and data provided.
Our client as the project owner came to the table thinking the solution was a CMS-driven website. This assumption was based on their existing experience with a popular open source CMS and similar web experiences solving their assumed problems. Through problem solving dialog, we posed the question, “Why do you think this is true?”. Through that one simple question, a dialog unfolded deconstructing the project using design thinking tactics.
Through this problem solving dialog, we discovered together:
- Who are the audiences?
- What are they here to do?
- What will they be doing?
- What do we want them to do?
- What do we NEED them to do?
- What kinds of services are required to facilitate these wants and needs?
By deconstructing the audiences, their needs, and the types of services and experiences we want to facilitate their involvement we helped our client understand that the CMS-driven website was but a component of the true need. We were embarking on creating a unique platform for this audience that was rich in machine learning, user applications, collaboration, and unique document generation.
Had we not probed their assumptions, asked, "Why?" to their initial project request, the client would have grossly mistaken what their audiences require, and the stakeholders would have failed in their endeavor — not to mention missed out on a unique opportunity to capture a market need.
This same approach has been leveraged across the agency with clients dealing with other challenges bound to a degree by assumption, and tightly coupled with the unique nature of their businesses. COPIOUS has delivered multiple solutions with ecommerce, tightly coupled to clients unique products as well as back office proprietary systems. In all examples, regardless of how complex a client’s products can be (non SKU based, custom all the time) to how challenging the back office systems are (custom CRM with enterprise ERP systems integrations), not a single engagement began without thoughtful discourse predicated on asking, "Why?" while sitting in front of a white board. It is essential to our business that clients participate in the problem solving so that the solution is as much theirs as it is ours.
I have found a kindred spirit in the COPIOUS team, whose members each apply the same problem solving approach to helping clients as I do. For the last 18 years, whether I was solving enterprise integration challenges, designing first to market products, or assisting a branded manufacturer move their non-SKU based corporation into an online business, "Why?" has proven to be the proper catalyst to finding solutions to problems. Through design thinking and problem solving dialog, COPIOUS can help you navigate the clutter of assumption unpacking the truth of what you need to create.