The Empathy Belly at Ford Motor Company

Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” Despite the lack of hard evidence that Ford actually uttered those words, the phrase is wielded by lots of designers and business owners who want to justify basing decisions on their instincts rather than engage [Keep Reading…]

How “When I…” Reasoning Poisons a Team

Earlier this year I had a client who hired me to redesign the first step in their 3-step process. The page was getting loads of customer complaints and the last three iterations on the design hadn’t helped. As always, I started the project by interviewing key stakeholders: the product manager, the product owner, the head [Keep Reading…]

Designing the Company, Not the Product

In April, I posted a tweet that became one of my most retweeted of all time. Designing the product is all for naught if you don’t first take the time to design the organization. — Whitney Hess (@whitneyhess) April 20, 2012 It was a single statement that was the culmination of 9 months of identity [Keep Reading…]

The Purpose of a Business is to Create a Customer

A customer is defined as a person who pays a business for goods and services. If a person does not pay, they are not a customer. The nebulous term of “user” is assigned when a person is accessing goods and services without directly paying for them. Call them a visitor, a prospect, a constituent, whatever you want. Until they pay you, they’re no customer of yours — and you have not fulfilled upon your purpose as a business.