Turn Customer Co-Design Insights into Action

How to Gain Momentum by Turning Customer Scenarios into Operational Scorecards, Recommendations, and Action Items

May 10, 2013

You spend time, resources, money, and sweat and tears to collaborate with customers in a co-design session. But then all the great ideas die on the vine (or stagnate on to-do lists). We offer a methodology for an Operational Debrief that has worked for our clients to get them moving on turning their customers’ insights and priorities into working projects.


Customer Scenario® Mapping (CSM — akin to Customer Journey Mapping) sessions yield many long-lasting results:

  • You learn what your prospects and customers care about, what outcomes they’re trying to achieve, and what contexts they’re usually in.
  • You learn what really motivates customers to buy and use your products.
  • You discover what road blocks you’re putting in prospects’ and customers’ way and what to do about them.
  • You discover new products and services you aren’t currently offering that customers will value.
  • You build lasting alignment across organizational boundaries around customer- impacting issues and learn how best to address them.

Yet, the twin goals of a) turning these co-design sessions into actions that are taken quickly and b) of delivering measurable results in 3 to 12 months have remained elusive for many. Here is a method that will boost the likelihood of converting insights into action quickly. This Operational Debrief is a three-hour work session CSM facilitators should conduct with their core cross-functional team and key policy-making stakeholders within 24 hours of running each customer co-design session.

For those of you who choose other approaches (than customer co-design) for gathering customer insights and requirements and turning those customer insights into action plans, you’ll also find some useful take-aways.


We’ve been leading customer co-design sessions for over 20 years. We’ve led hundreds of them. All of these sessions have been successful in yielding profound insights into customers’ needs, requirements, and dissatisfiers. In every case, customers have been impressed and grateful for the opportunity to help design better experiences and solutions to achieve their outcomes. All of these customer co-design sessions delivered valuable strategic and tactical recommendations. Each one has built strong and lasting cross-functional organizational and channel partner alignment.

However, too often, the stakeholders involved weren’t able to gain enough traction in their organizations to take action quickly. By the time the recommendations were turned into real game plans and acted upon, months had passed, the organization’s ardor had cooled considerably, and the customers’ fresh new ideas and business opportunities had become embarrassingly stale and overdue.

Time Delay Is Systemic

The time delay from insight to execution and the concomitant decay rate of once-great ideas is a common dysfunctional pattern in most organizations—both large and small.

Small organizations get bogged down due to the lack of time, money, and dedicated personnel to seize the moment.

Large organizations get bogged down due to the number of people who need to be engaged in, and convinced about the need for, execution.

Outsourcing Execution Doesn’t Accelerate Action

Unfortunately for both small and large organizations, outsourcing the execution of customer-impacting services and initiatives to one or more suppliers doesn’t speed things up. Instead, outsourcing customer-critical initiatives slows things down because you’re aiming for a moving target (customers’ needs and context change over time), and you need to iterate until you get it right.

What’s the solution? You need to fast-path customer-impacting initiatives, not outsource them. Of course, once you figure out what works, and have piloted and tested your hypotheses, then you can outsource parts of the execution in order to prevent bottlenecks.

Missing Core Competency: Converting Customer Insights into Action

Identifying and delivering new and improved products, services, and experiences to help prospects and customers reach their goals, and doing so quickly, should be a core competency for all organizations. There are many barriers to action you need to overcome. These barriers include…(more)


(Download the PDF to read the entire article.)


Sign in to download the full article


Be the first one to comment.

You must be a member to comment. Sign in or create a free account.