Teaching a company to test & learn

Bethan - Cause I'd Rather Pretend I'll Still Be There At The End_640 x 427

Flickr Commons, Bethan – Cause I’d Rather Pretend I’ll Still Be There At The End

Last week at ANZ we ran a game changing game. I say that because 500 people signed up for some fun, and left with a thirst for better understanding our customers, and evolving solutions to meet their needs. My plan was to teach our people how to test and learn, so I figured that the best way to do this was to invite them to give it a go!

Before I describe the laughter generated over the three days of game playing, I’d best explain the game. Lifted from a side bar in Jeff Patton’s User Story Mapping, the game, originated by Rick Cusick, is aptly named – Do you need to shower in the morning? We asked folks to individually map the activities of their morning, from the time their eyes sprang open, to when they reached the office.

Next we asked them to form a team and discuss their morning’s activities, creating affinity groupings and naming these. The next step was to create a single persona, and map out that persona’s morning activities.

The fun started when we introduced some drama. “Imagine”, I said, “if on this particular morning, your alarm clock failed to go off, and realising you had a meeting with the CEO, you had only 15 minutes to get ready! What activities would you omit?”

Now it’s safe to say that up until this point, the morning maps painted a rather heart-warming picture of our people. Folks exercised, they hugged their children, prayed and changed nappies. Some checked email, shared a coffee with the bus driver and cycled, walked or caught the train into work.

The 15 minute time restriction changed everything. What was critical and what was not? After putting themselves in the shoes of their persona, each team recalibrated their morning maps.

The most important learning of the game was how critical it is to deeply understand our customers before devising products, processes and experiences for them. At the bank we’re really keen on human centred design, and this game is the beginning of spreading that knowledge further. Our gamers came away thinking about how they could apply the idea of minimum viable solution to everything we do, so that we can test and learn and create great outcomes.

I started with an audacious goal – that an interactive game could be our vehicle for introducing a new way of working. With the help of our change experts and an army of fabulous facilitators, we proved that a game can be a game changer.

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