User first, Technology Later

After having discussed about Last-mile user Connect, it is a good time to delve deeper into understanding the user.

In most companies, most of the time, the solution generation process begins with-

• What capabilities do we have?

• What technologies do we have control over?

Conventional logic says, the above are appropriate questions. They may be appropriate, but they are not the right ones in today’s dynamic times.

Without getting into an intellectual debate over this, let us look at an example

Innovation in a Service-based organisation

A tele-calling BPO was looking at ‘Enhancing the efficiency of the Calling Process’. The initial focus, as is the buzz today, was on ‘Digital Transformation’. They were looking at enhancing the efficiencies of the various processes through the use of technology. The HR folks got in touch with DK seeking a proposal for a ‘Breakthrough Ideation’ workshop for enhancing the efficiency of the ‘Calling Process’.

To begin with they were insistent on having the workshop only for senior management (VPs and above). However, considering that there was a real problem to be solved, DK insisted on having the entire team involved in the workshop. A few back and forths later, it was decided that a team of nineteen would participate in the workshop. This team comprised senior management, techies, solution architects and two tele-calling executives (the ones who actually make the calls).

The workshop began with a ‘Hits and Misses’ session, where participants shared what they thought has worked and what hasn’t in the past. This went on for a couple of hours. A lot of jargon was being thrown around. Many ‘Quality of Service (QOS)’ goals were being discussed. DK noticed that the two tele-calling executives (hereinafter referred to as TCs for brevity) had not uttered a word throughout the discussion.

During the first break, DK made it a point to sit with the two TCs over coffee to make them voice out

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