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- How to avoid (and recover from) failure.
- Essential reading for anyone who wants to be involved in an innovative organization.
- Build successful products based on authentic customer experience.
Few business books on innovation really help the reader understand just how, exactly, innovations happen in the real world of organizations. What are the stories of failure, and success, that we might learn from? This case study shows the critical need to adapt product and business strategy to lessons learned from the customer's authentic experience.
The warning in this book cuts both ways – in the case study, both customers and front-lline teams tried to warn that a new system might fail. When it actually did fail, a small user experience team was charged to help recover from the loss. Fortunately, they succeeded. This book tells how they did it.
The major lesson in the book is not that of learning from failure, but of the value and necessity of adopting informal customer-driven knowledge processes. These processes can guide feedback to decision making and they can feed observations forward to inspire new innovations. In this case, a large systems company moved from a market-leading tech has-been to a customer-responsive leader with a higher market standing.
The theory of We Tried to Warn You is simple: every day, micro-failures of communication and their cover-ups accumulate. This causes a network of decisions that lead to systemic-level failures of organizations.
The "lessons learned" focus on the knowledge-based practices that enable organizations to sense and make decisions from critical feedback from customers in the field. These practices constitute the multidisciplinary field now known as "user experience" (UX).
Peter Jones, Ph.D. is managing director of Redesign, Inc. a design/research firm for human-systems innovation in Toronto and the US. Redesign leads design for complex services and information products, involving field research, prototyping, and concept development, and organizational innovation. Peter has designed leading information resources used in scientific, legal, and medical practice, and conducts ethnographic and design research to help people understand the impact of innovations that will impact these fields and evolve practices. Dr. Jones is on faculty at Toronto's OCAD University, where he is a senior fellow of the Strategic Innovation Lab and teaches in the Strategic Foresight and Innovation graduate program. He is a board member of the Institute for 21st Century Agoras, which promotes the practice and science of dialogic design for democratic, collaborative action on socially complex problems. Peter's research interests also include institutional and healthcare innovation, values-informed design, social publishing and new forms of editorial review, and democratic and dialogic design process.