Consumer Experience, Design Thinking, Human-Centered Design, Innovation, Leadership, Power of Yes, Teams

“The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” of Innovation – Video Blog

What I Learned…

Recently, I shared my experience around what it is like to start a center for innovation. Here is a 7-minute video where I answered some of the following questions or statements:

  • State of mind when starting a center for innovation
  • How have I personally and professionally changed?
  • What encouragement would I give leaders?
  • Words of caution or wisdom

What I Learned…

The past five years have been an incredible journey and roller coaster. As I look back on them, I realized I would not change a thing. If it were not for the good, the bad, and the ugly, I would not be who I am today as a leader or as a person. I have followed my passion and my dreams – and WOW, it is empowering!

What I Will Do…

On this journey, I have learned one thing about me as a person. I have the ability to connect and build relationships and see things in leaders that they may not see in themselves. My mission now as a leader is to equip others with the courage, passion, and resilience to do this thing call INNOVATION!

What Can You Do…

So, what can you do? Take 15 minutes today and think of the one person you can encourage in life or help find their passion. Call them, text them, or write to them!

Share your experience as a word of encouragement.

Share your experience so they may not have to go through the same things you have.

Share your experience to help them get to the next step.  

I would love to share your story on the POWER OF YES in INNOVATION in my upcoming book! Send me an email with your story.

Thank you to Mark McFerron for your creative mind in this video and Brownrygg Woolls for your mad video skills!


Consumer Experience, Design Thinking, Innovation, Leadership, Power of Yes

“No, We Can’t Do It!” – The POWER OF YES In Innovation!

What I Was Doing…

“No, we can’t do it!”  This is the most common phrase I have heard in my years as a leader in innovation. From big organizations to small ones, from the government to educationresilient-quote. It seems that it is easier for people to say, no, instead of YES!

This week I began working with a new client that comes from a very strict and regulated organization. The team is faced with more opposers than supporters at times. Their mission is powerful to help change the lives of those they serve and make them better. You would think it would be easy to innovate, but it’s not for this team.

What I appreciated during my time with them was their passion to keep moving forward, their passion to make a difference and not let the organization take them down. I would love to say in my own personal walk that I always had that attitude, but I did not. I allowed at times for the organization to overpower my passion. To distract me from the greater good of what I was called to do. NEVER AGAIN!

What I Learned…

The team this week taught me again what it means to have RESILIENCE. Resilience is the ability to become strong, healthy, or succeresiliencessful again after something bad happens. In my world, many times that is focused on failure or the failure of a new idea, solution, product, or service.

As I look back on my experiences, there have been times where resilience was the only thing that got me through what I was doing. I had to have a mindset that nothing would distract me from the purpose or mission in front of me. I am not going to lie; innovation is not for the faint of heart. It is for the person who is willing to take the biggest challenges, opportunities, or frontiers not yet explored and go after it.

What I Will Do…

This week as I was traveling I viewed an infographic published by The Center For Creative Leadership  entitled, 8 Steps To Become More Resilient. Here it is:


As I read through the infographic, I realized it really did come back to simply saying, YES!

Yes, I will accept change!

Yes, I will learn!

Yes, I will take charge of my destiny!

Yes, I will find my sense of purpose!

Yes, I will be me!

Yes, I will have relationships!

Yes, I will reflect!

Yes, I will shift!

Yes, I will shift!

This is truly the essence of the POWER OF YES IN INNOVATION! You have to say, Yes to yourselves some mornings when you get up, or when you walk into that meeting where you know you are gong to face opposition. You have to have RESILIENCE!

So, over the next week, I am going to focus on these eight steps to becoming more resilient. I will encourage all those that I come into contact with to do the same. Say, YES first, then take action!

What Can You Do…

So, what can you do? I am going to ask that you take 30 minutes and identify one area where you are facing opposition or challenges – whether it is at work, at home, or anywhere you are a leading a project. Look at each of the eight steps above and identify how you can say YES in that situation! It may simply be to accept the change. Or, maybe you will need to work on building a positive relationship. After, you spend these 30 minutes, GO DO IT!  

II would love to share your story on the POWER OF YES in my upcoming book! Send me an email with your story on being resilient.



Consumer Experience, Education, Healthcare, Innovation, Leadership, Power of Yes, Wearable Tech

#CES2017 & Beyond: Where Has The Consumer Gone?

What I Was Doing…

Well, #CES2017 is history! This past week over 175k people ascended on the Las Vegas Strip to see the coolest and newest technologies for 20gallery-1483544485-hair-coach-photo-1-credit-withings17. I have to say, in three days, I walked over 50k steps and saw some amazing technologies. I mean, who doesn’t love drones choreographed to the macarena or a personalized hair coach. Or, the amazingly new sleep number 360 bed. And of course, my new sleep machine by ResMed the S+. I have used the S+ for two nights, and my sleep score is not good at all. Time to decompress and start focusing on my sleep habits.

I had the honor to sit on a panel for the Digital Health summit and as well, moderate a panel during the TransformingEDU summit. As I moved between both ballrooms, I splus-androidheard innovators and industry leaders within healthcare share innovations around attacking cancer, conquering chronic conditions and even one company, Omron Healthcare has a “moonshot”  for zero heart attacks or strokes.

I then looked at connected health, artificial intelligence, and how messaging will be the backbone of healthcare connectivity. In education, I witnessed how virtual reality and augmented reality could change the education experience.

Now, these are incredible ideas – but I could not help but wonder if this exciting maker movement is a trend, a fad –  or is it here to stay? I had witnessed all of these amazingly cool things, but I kept asking myself one question: Where has the consumer gone? 

What I Learned…

Why was I asking myself that question? I wasn’t sure, but then at dinner that night, a colleague of mine asked the same question. Here is my learning:  We have amazing, life changing technology both in the wings and in the marketplace – however, if the consumer is not involved in creating it, testing it, and using it – it is nothing more than technologyThe value in technology is at its highest when it is inextricably linked with the consumer experience.

As I was on the plane home, I read a recent report put out by, Startup+Health. The report shows the amount of money being invested in the digital healthcare space and the areas of interest. Here are a couple of graphs:



As you can see, there is still a huge demand on patient / consumer experience. The healthcare industry continues to struggle to get it right – to put complete focus on the #consumer. Yet, we as consumers, demand more and more every day from the industry.

Further, the correlation of healthcare to the education industry is mind-blowing. The biggest question I ask is, when will we actually treat students like a consumer and not some second class citizen? Educators need to understand who is paying the bill. In April of 2016, there was an article written about the Ed Tech Cool Down, and it had reached an all time low from an investment place. I am anxious to see where the year ended.

What I Will Do…

This is simple! What I am going to do in 2017 is to keep saying, YES! 

Yes, to innovation! Yes, to the consumer! Yes, Yes, Yes! 

I will listen to the consumer! I will spend more time with consumers, patients, and members! I will take time to hear their story. Remember this, we are all humans. We all have a story to tell – whether it is in healthcare or education – we must involve the #consumer in everything we do.

From the beginning to the end of the process: We need everyone’s voice. I have said it numerous times in my blog. Know Me! Surprise Me! Make It Easy! Focus on this and we will all win!

Spend time this week with your customer, consumer, patient or member!


Consumer Experience, Design Thinking, Excellence, Innovation, leaders, Leadership, Power of Yes, Strategy, Teams

The POWER OF YES In 2017!

What I Was Doing:  My Story…

Over a year ago I wrote a blog post titled, The Power of Yes In Innovation. I wrote these words:

Each day I try to live the POWER OF YES–the power to give people the freedom to explore, test, and win, the power to let my children be all they want to be, the power to allow innovators the freedom to create what has never been created before, and most importantly, the power to say yes to life.

At that time, I had no idea the profound impact these words would have on me as a leader, executive, friend, husband, father, or overall person. Those words became more and more important to me every day as I walked through 2016.

I’ll share a brief story about the POWER OF YES in my own life. I had the privilege to be a part of a new organization this year as the Chief Transformation Officer. When the opportunity was presented to me, I could have said no. I knew the role would be hard and a challenge for me, but I also knew I could not run from it. So, I said YES – and in doing so, learned so much about my capabilities as a person, and as important, my capabilities as a leader!


What I Learned…

First, I learned that as a C-Suite Executive, my word and actions could empower a culture to change. I did not need to be the decision maker. I did not need to know everything. I did not have to be at every meeting. All I had to do is say the word, YES!

Yes! You Can Make That Decision!

Yes! You Can Take That Risk!

Yes! You Are Able To Do It!

Second, as a leader, I learned that I had the ability to see talents and skills within associates that they may not see or they may not have had the opportunity to share.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to tell you yes.”

Simple! But yet, so hard for so many leaders. As a leader, we have the power to say no – but being able to say yes opens the door for engaging collaboration, opportunities for growth and the realizing of untapped potential.

Now, saying yes has it risks – but you cannot empower your organization, your team, and your associates unless you are willing to take the first step. By doing so, you will equip your teams with their own courage to say, YES!



Lastly, I learned that saying Yes doesn’t always mean that I am right or that it is going to go the way I want it to go.  I have to provide my team members the ability to fail or take risks that I may not take myself.  This means I must empower and support my teams to make decisions that may not necessarily be the ones I would make. As I worked with my teams over the past year, I did my best to get out of the way and provide the freedom for them to be their best. By doing so, I was able to help them to be better leaders and stronger team members.

What I Will Do With It…

For 2017, I am determined to live by the POWER OF YES! How? By following these three simple steps:

Y – Yes, I can! Yes, you can! Yes, we can! Yes, Yes, Yes! In all circumstances, opportunities or challenges, I will do my best to say Yes first!

Equip and Empower all those around me to not only reach for their dreams but for the things they may feel are unattainable.

S – Succeed! There is a measure of success within each and every opportunity. Even if I fail, I learn and I move forward.

In 2017 I will be fulfilling a dream of my own to write a book. Be on the lookout for it! Also, I will be launching a website on the POWER OF YES!

As 2016 comes to a close and we all begin to look forward to the New Year – my challenge to you is simply this: Live by the POWER OF YES in 2017! 


Design Thinking, Engagement, leaders, Leadership, Leadership, Strategy

Silos: The Trees Are Your Solution!!!

Last week I shared what I believe to be three key principles a leader needs to embrace when setting forth to break down organizational silos. I would like to take this week and dig a bit deeper into this subject.

For many leaders, while they understand their organization is siloed and this is stagnating their growth, finding direction can often feel like one is deep in the forest – unable to see through the trees. But herein lies the magic – the trees are often where the solutions stand. You already know “your trees” – those key stakeholders within your organization who will champion, disrupt and cultivate dynamic open collaboration and empowered decision making necessary for culture shifts and sustained organizational growth across all business units.  Many trees – one forest. Many voices – endless potential!


 Over 25 years ago Jack Welch championed what was then a groundbreaking concept – working across organizational boundaries and disrupting operational “norms”.  Welch felt that by designing shorter decision cycles, increasing employee engagement and building a strong network of collaboration, companies could experience greater success. His theory became the GE Work-Out process and it centered around creating a “boundary-less organization.”

 His idea was – and remains – genius.  Provide the organization with a forum in which to collaborate and problem solve –  bringing key stakeholders together to share their skills, expertise, experiences, and insights. Use your internal talent. Innovate, inspire and collaborate: all in real time with the people are invested in the success of an organization!

 Decades later far too many organization still struggle from within their legacy driven organizational structures. As Ron Ashkenas wrote in his 2015 Harvard Business Review Article Still Works:

 Fast forward to today, and we live in a different world. Our communications technologies have dramatically improved. Welch’s “boundary-less organization” should seemingly be the de facto reality for most companies. To the contrary, however, many organizations still have hierarchical, siloed, and fragmented processes and cultures. In fact, having to cope with a fast-changing global economy has led many companies to create even more complex matrix organizations, where it’s actually harder to get the right people together for fast decision-making”.


Recently read the book Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans. Bill & Dave lay-out five mindsets for us as individuals to use, but they are also key for organizations in helping break-down silos:

  1. Curiosity – Be Curious
  2. Bias To Action – Try Stuff
  3. Reframing – Reframe Problems
  4. Awareness – Know It’s A Process
  5. Radical Collaboration – Ask For Help

Here is what Bill says about Radical Collaboration:

This is perhaps the most important design thinking mindset in Life Design. The best designers know that great design requires radical collaboration. You are not (and should not be) alone. An artist can create a masterpiece holed-up in a cabin in the woods but a designer cannot create the next global, behavior changing piece of hardware solo. Your life is more like a great design than a piece of art. It is a collaborative process. Many of the best ideas will come from other people, you just need to ask. Essentially, Life Design, like all design, is a team sport.

Silos have no place in our lives, let alone as an operational foundation of any business or corporation!

The sooner you build your Life Design team, the better. Engage the people you love and admire to work together to design a better lives individually – and as a community.

My challenge to you today is this: BREAK DOWN THE SILOS, both in your life and in your business!


Consumer Experience, Design Thinking, Empathy, Human-Centered Design, Innovation, Leadership, Strategy

Tap Into Your Talent: The Power of Empathy!

Recently my team and I met with a healthcare organization to discuss transformative change around their consumer experience practices. Their CEO handpicked the attendees – and they represented all aspects of the company. Each one, in their own unique and specific way, held responsibility for consumer and employee experience. It was this CEO’s hope that by bringing everyone to the table at once, collaboratively, they would begin to understand where they are, as opposed to where they should be – as an organization.

We met for three half days and worked through unique, thoughtful experiences designed to open eyes and hearts around what it truly means to meet the consumer “where they are’” – what does that look like, feel like and how do we and our organization measure up?

At times, you could hear a pin drop as they watched short videos around empathy-driven, consumer focused care delivery. There were inspiring moments of revelation when they connected the dots between what they do now and what they need to be doing to improve inspire-phototheir consumer’s experience.

For myself and my team, witnessing this connection can only be described as INSPIRING.  I believe that all employees are committed to being the best they can be. Often, and especially in the healthcare industry, people consider their work a “calling” – and with this comes strong passion and focus on making a difference. Herein lies the sweet spot – a gold mine of opportunity for an organization.

Unfortunately, over time business units within well-meaning organizations can become siloed – they unconsciously disconnect from one another in the process of achieving their department specific goals of creating, managing and delivering the customer experience. The fall out is that the customer experience becomes lost or convoluted as the focus become more on meeting a goal than meeting their customer where they are. As well, employees can begin to lose sight of purposeful, meaningful engagement with their work.

As part of the week’s events, we met with key stakeholders identified by the CEO. This is when we recognized where the exciting potential for transformation lies. This company holds a wealth of passionate visionaries, extraordinary talent and invaluable experience in its people. Some have been with the organization for decades – some are new. They all offered candid and thoughtful insights into the barriers, possibilities and strategies they believe are necessary to enact a successful organizational pivot. More importantly, they all are ready to take the next step toward innovating and transforming their customer’s experience – both internal and external. What is needed from this point is where a great many companies fall silent.

If an organization seeks to pivot their strategy, refocus a mission and find their own “secret sauce” that will catapult them ahead of the pack, I believe it requires three key tenants:

  1. Tap into your talent goldmine – KNOW THEM:
    1. Identify and empower your key stakeholders within each business unit. What are their insights? What are their strategies for breaking down the communication and process silos? What do they need from their leadership to ensure success?
  2. Communicate  – SURPRISE THEM:
    1. Build out a solid, strategic and cohesive communications plan for the transformation – “One voice” – for both internal and external customers. Set up a governance whereby all messaging, both for your consumer and your staff, is reviewed and approved prior to distribution.
  3. Engage – MAKE IT EASY FOR THEM:
    1. Meet with the people. Walk the halls. Encourage open collaboration. Tear down the siloes. Require transparency and partnership across all business units.

Transformation can be daunting. Transformation is disruptive. But the only way you can improve your consumer’s experience and build up your brand loyalty – is by embracing change and keeping your eye on the consumer.


Consumer Experience, Design, Design Thinking, Human-Centered Design, Innovation, Strategy

Who Is The System Designed For? Consumerism: The Priority In Healthcare!

What I Was Doing – The Story…

Well, here I go again! I’m going to get on my pedestal and talk about how frustrating it is to hear about patients (consumers) having unacceptable experiences within our healthcare system. As many of you know, my life and career is focused on creating experiences and innovations that focus on the consumer rather it be a provider, patient, nurse, or vendor.

Two weeks ago I shared my encounter with Gary Hoover and his statement, “To make a difference in healthcare we need to study the great service organizations of the past and of today!” Gary was right! I want to share two stories this week.

First, one from my wife, Carla, and our experience on Delta airlines (a service provider). The second, from a colleague of mine and her experience visiting an emergency room in Louisville, Kentucky.

My wife and I had an opportunity to go away this past weekend to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary to Las Vegas. On our return trip we had an incredible experience with a flight attendant. Here is the story through my wife’s eyes:

delta-logoJust got off of Delta flight 1075 from Las Vegas to Minneapolis. We were promptly greeted by our flight attendant, Vincent. Let me just tell you, that he should give a master class on proper customer service. He was so gracious and so accommodating as well as charming. If you are ever fortunate enough to be on one of his flights, consider yourself lucky. He’s a wonderful asset to the Delta family!!!!!

That whole flight was dynamite for both of us! He made us feel like we were #1 the entire flight, while taking care of 14 other passengers. It was absolutely an amazing experience.

Next, my colleague this past Saturday evening needed to visit the emergency room to have her foot looked at. When I read her post on Facebook I was mortified for her, and shocked that she was treated like she was – but the nugget in it all is the end of the story. I will share more on that after you read excerpts from her experience.

Last night I finally reached out to my daughter to take me to a local Norton Hospital ER. The pain in my foot had finally gnawed through my wall and I cracked. I was nauseous and experiencing chills.

norton-healthcareA lack of empathy from the front desk became clear from the moment my daughter struggled to help me into the wheelchair once inside the ER- as a nurse watched from behind the counter and never moved or offered to get help. I was hobbling in on one foot and clearly in need of some assistance. A short time later I was wheeled back to be evaluated. That nurse was disengaged, unsympathetic and her heart elsewhere than in the moment with this pain ravaged, exhausted patient.

Then, the tide turned. Once in the hands of the nursing staff, I experienced true empathy driven care. Rich concern, detailed care and immediately at ease. The x ray techs even wished me a belated birthday. The ER doctor was one of the most kind physicians I have come across in a long time. Factual, but with a warmth and genuine bedside manner. All things a pain baby, embarrassed to be of inconvenience to my daughter who had just worked 12 hours straight – needed at that time.

My daughters both work in patient services in the ER for two different hospitals here. Watching my daughter react to the initial care I received said a lot for how she views her responsibility to the patient. Interestingly, I found myself not wanting her to cause a stir – completely unlike me – and realized that as a patient, I just wanted to be cared for compassionately. How many times do patients just silently accept such blatant lack of compassion? More often than not I would say after my experience!

What I Learned…

That final sentence was my gold nugget. This colleague is a confident, outspoken female, gold-nuggetbut she sat quietly and did not want to disturb the system. She just wanted a compassionate experience. She wanted to be treated with dignity…like a human! That’s all! After I read that post, I knew I had to continue to work passionately toward top-notch experiences for all patients!

What I Will Do With It…

I also learned that the service industry has a lot to offer and inspire us in this space. So let’s study them, learn from them, and implement their methodologies around the consumer experience.

Will you join the cause?

Consumer Experience, Innovation, Leadership, Strategy

The Harvest Is Ready – Are You? Harvest Summit 2016: My Top 10 Takeaways!

What I Was Doing – The Story…

This past 2016-11-04-11-07-52Friday I attended the inaugural Harvest Summit. Over and over again during the event, a verse from the Bible, Luke 2:10, kept coming to mind: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few…” Now, I am not trying to be over spiritual here – so please stay with me!

Christ sent 70 disciples out two by two to strengthen and encourage one another. The Harvest Summit was just that! An action packed day of celebrating, strengthening, and encouraging one other. The only difference is that there were 200+  innovation disciples & evangelists with lots of food & wine, but most importantly, we made some incredible new friends.

2016-11-04-14-33-18I want first to thank, Jessica Kilcullen for the invite to this day of celebration, what a powerful visionary and thought leader (also, her husband John Kilcullen, for standing behind her and this vision.)

The event took place in a “barn” on a hill in Sonoma County. We chatted around a space ship, in a wine cave, and around the olive press – but best of all, under the old oak tree.

What I Learned…

I would never have thought of all the great things I learned in one day. So here are my top 10 takeaways:

  1.  Mark Burnett stated, “Specialists have jobs. Generalists build empires!”  Think 10x – 2016-11-04-18-04-52and 10x doesn’t cost 10X more.  Create the culture to create the big vision.
  2. “An experience can be so good that you don’t want to post it.” Sometimes we just need to simply stay in the moment, enjoy each other and the experience.  Dustin Valette, Doug Keane, and Leslie Sbrocco.
  3. = The ability to imagine alternative realities + the courage to try to implement them.
  4. “Customers are your biggest marketing department. Get them to tell your story.” ~ Christen O’Brien
  5. “We manage two businesses at all times, the business we’re in and the business we’re becoming” ~ Ken Courtright. How do we do this in #healthcare?
  6. “CEO = chief encouragement officer” ~  Mark Burnett
  7. “Design is relationships, the experience, and everything around us. Design is the next competitive weapon.” ~ Clement Mok
  8. “Every startup needs a great idea/product, funding, and marketing. Most people de-2016-11-04-16-26-23emphasize the marketing.  You can’t start any business without being a great storyteller!”
  9. “You must fail to have disruptive innovation!” It’s all about Fast Learning. Fail forward and learn – Don’t just fail and celebrate. ~ Marcus Shingles
  10. I’m not a coffee drinker, but WOW! Thanks for giving me a low-carb cold drink!

What I Will Do With It…

As I drove away that evening my mind, spirit, and soul were so stirred. I felt like I could conquer anything put before me. I had been struggling as an innovator. I had lost my passion to dream, my passion to change the world, my passion to take people around me on the journey.

The Harvest Summit allowed me to be free – to be myself! What I will do with that is everything! I will push the boundaries! I will challenge the status quo! I will plant, water, and grow the Harvest!

Thank you Harvesters at the Harvest Summit 2016!


Consumer Experience, Design Thinking, Excellence, Human-Centered Design, Innovation, Leadership, Strategy

Who The He** Are We Designing For? Healthcare: The Future Is Now!

What I was doing…

This past week I spent three days with 70+ future forward movers and shakers in Austin, Texas. Our group, Innovation Learning Network focused on becoming Architects of Better Futures & the Rites of Passage of the 21st Century: the Ten-Year Landscape with The Institute For The Future. Then we looked at Discussing Design Without Losing Your Mind, Smarter Design For Smarter Decisions, and Caregiving 2031.

We also had our minds blown away when we discussed Future Vision from an investment, retail, and culinary arts view. All of these sessions were incredibly thought-provoking and challenging for me as both an innovator and learner. But, what I want to focus on this week is my experience on our Innovation Safari.


Imagine this! You are attending a conference with 70+ healthcare leaders, and you break into  groups of six to trek out into the city. Maybe we will go visit a hospital. Maybe a clinic in an underserved area. It must be we are going to go visit a design studio in Austin. Nope!

We went to visit a restaurant. That’s right a good ole` BBQ restaurant. The question I asked myself was, “How is this going to help me in the future when it comes to healthcare?” Let me tell you this; it was mind blowing.

The BBQ establishment we went to visit was Rudy’s  owned and operated by K&N Management based out of Austin. This was one of the most impactful afternoons I have ever had. Our team had the privilege to spend an hour with the general manager from the location we visited. He had been with the company for 18 years and worked his way up from a cashier in college, to now as a managing partner. We spent that hour learning about PROCESSES, PROCESSES, PROCESSES.  

So What?

So what is this? K&N Management has been honored to win the coveted Malcolm2016-10-26-15-54-31 Baldridge National Quality award. We learned that “The Love of Excellence” is what has caused this great success. Additionally, that afternoon we met with one of the executives who shared the company’s journey with us. In this session, excellence was the theme. The key learning I walked away with was this; if you focus on one thing, and get everyone in the company focusing on it. You can move the needle!

What I Learned…

So that evening I started thinking how could we apply all of this to a system that lives in processes, but is yet so many light years behind. The next morning as we listened to the discussion on Future Vision – it clicked.

Gary Hoover was speaking to us about consumers, and he made one simple statement, “Whenever the consumer is involved, that’s where innovation is!”  Many organizational leaders talk about it, but very few actually practice it. Gary continued and 2016-10-27-10-41-28shared the second nugget from that morning.

He stated, “To make a difference in healthcare we need to study the great service organizations of the past and of today!”

Well, I just had done that the day before. Service at its best.


What I Will Do With It…

From both of those experiences, I knew I had to apply them to my day-to-day life and how I could impact and change healthcare for the better. No longer will I bite off the whole system. We will pick one thing, and one thing only. Focus on that, and make a difference.

My teams will look at the past and learn from those before us, but we will also trek into the future with one thing in mind, the consumer – and only the consumer. Whether it is a member, patient, or provider – Focus on one thing and do it well!!!

So, who the he** are we designing for? YOU!




Consumer Experience, Design Thinking, Human-Centered Design, Innovation, Strategy

What A Toilet, A Car, and A Mouse Can Teach You!

This past week while reading a few blogs by some of my favorite thought leaders, I came across a blog post by Alan Ayers, The Injustice of Bad Customer Service. In this post, Alan talks about how all of us have been “wronged” by bad consumer experiences. We all love to talk about them, post them on social media, and get our friends involved in the experience. Let me be honest here; I have been one of those people.

After many years of working for The Walt Disney Company, I have a very high expectation when it comes to customer service and consumer foodexperience. My dear wife Carla hates when we go into a restaurant, and things start to go bad.

She knows that there is something inside of me that can’t let it go. Maybe it is my years as a server, my years being around the restaurant business, or perhaps it comes down to plain common courtesy. I do not believe I ask for much, but I do expect to be treated like a human and a consumer that matters – whether it be in a restaurant, a store, with a doctor, or on airplane.

It comes back to the three basic principles I preach: Know Me, Surprise Me, and Make It Easy For Me! You can read about this in a blog post I shared last month.

 So, what can we learn about consumer-centered experiences from a toilet? Or a car? Or even a mouse? Everything!

 Let’s start with the car!

teslaThis past week, Group XP released their report results ranking Tesla #1 in customer experience within the automobile industry and 20th overall. You can read the report here. The report speaks of Tesla’s ability to lead in consumer loyalty and engagement.  They are a leader when it comes to consumer impressions, and tied with such brands as Disney & Pampers.

Tesla disrupted an industry driven by traditional companies doing the same ole’ thing. They built an experience where they KNOW who their consumer is and they create a flawless experience for them. This is the KNOW ME in the world of consumer-centered experiences.

 A Toilet!

Andrew Griffiths in his blog post, Japanese Toilets Taught Me A Lot About Customer Service shared his experience of being in Japan and going to a public toilet. He states, toiletsI have never been in any toilet that isn’t spotlessly clean, stocked with toilet paper, the soap dispensers are all full, and all of the hand dryers work.”

He was truly surprised by this clean and properly maintained toilet experience. He goes on to say, “This is a key to excellent customer service. Show customers that you are thinking about them and their needs, and they will notice and reward your business for it.

What I see in his experience is the element of SURPRISE! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every restaurant, hotel, or store would pay that much attention to us as consumers to truly SURPRISE ME in all my interactions?

 A Mouse!

As I mentioned above, I spent many years working for the Walt Disney Company. In those years, although I was not a front of the house cast member, I learned a lot about how to MAKE IT EASY for our guests.

One of the greatmickey-mouse joys for me was to walk out in the park and witness a child seeing Mickey Mouse or Cinderella for the first time. It brought such joy to my day.

Disney is known all over the world for crafting magical experiences, along with meeting and exceeding their guests’ expectations. This is why today my family and I still visit the park even without benefits or discounts.

In an article entitled, How Disney Creates Magical Experiences, Gregory Ciotti shares a story that explains how to MAKE IT EASY:  Many times a guest will ask, “What time does the 3:00 p.m. parade start?” Well to us that may seem like a dumb question, but it is not. What that guest wants to know is, “What time will the parade come by here, where I am sitting or standing?” A Disney cast member could easily say, “It starts at 3:00p.m.,” but they are trained to say, “It should be by here in about 5 minutes, can I help you find a spot so you can see it.

Very simple. Disney cast members are trained to MAKE IT EASY for every guest in the resort.

I hope these examples of KNOW ME, SURPRISE ME, MAKE IT EASY offer further clarity and value as you think about your own organizations consumer experience strategy. Who knew we could learn so much from a car, a toilet, and a mouse!