Archiv der Kategorie: Meaning design

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The Why needs perspectives

The answer to Why is not an easy thing, because it leads to different results due to the different perspectives. With the development of a new product, various aspects of a solution must be questioned. Imagine an app for your smartphone that generates new ideas for your business based on the own online activities. The freemium version offers one idea per day. The paid version has additional features and collects between 0.1 $ and 5 $ for each additionally retrieved idea depending on the contract. Why should you invest money in the development of this app? Why do you need certain functions? Why should customers subscribe to the paid version? To assess the viability of the draft, a set of perspectives can be used. This provides more comprehensive insights into the Why.

In the following, several perspectives are used to understand „Why“ the described app makes sense. In addition, there are still „infinite“ more other aspects that may be relevant. Let’s look at the draft out of some basic perspectives.

  • Customer Perspective
    Customers love Freemium, because they do not have to commit to anything and can use for free more or less of the benefits of the offer. One idea per day adds up to 365 free ideas that allow a real assessment of the benefits. The consideration of the personal attitudes delivers results, which are worth knowing for everybody. Of course, the professional wants to be able to get more needs-oriented ideas. Flexible payment models serve these various needs. If one of the ideas comes to fruition, then the subscription is financed for a long time.
  • Contentual perspective
    The challenges are the topics and the approach to avoid the repetition of ideas. In the freemium version, the Internet activities are evaluated and condensed to one new idea per day. In the professional environment, more settings are needed to align the target area to a current task. Other features are available, such as tracing previous ideas. Evaluations have shown that ideas can be generated without limits.
  • Social perspective
    An important task will be the dispelling of the concerns of individual users, who feel being observed through assessing their Internet activity. They overlook the fact that these traces persist in the net in any case and that they get for the first time the opportunity to use these traces for themselves. The spared time, the advancement of the business and the increased reputation, which is generated by the ideas, should quickly let them be open for conviction.
  • Technological perspective
    This cloud-based service operates based on big data that is already used by major online retailers. You get additional purchase proposals, when you buy a CD appears „Other buyers, who bought this CD …“ The main difference of the app is the controllable semantic evaluation, which generates more and more ideas, and does not serve as a sales hook to buy something. The features can be set in a unique way with the special, multilingual meaning engine. The corresponding patent has already been granted.
  • Economical perspective
    It is common to attract large user groups via freemium offers. The business case assumes that 10% of the free accounts book the paid packages subsequently. This results in revenues that bring the project into the profit zone within three years. Analysts concluded that the effect of conditioning will be driven by the usable ideas that will motivate users to stay an active member for a long time. A small, solvent group will be interested in elaborate additional offers. The critical tipping point is reached after two years. Thereafter, the main task will be to ensure availability and to continuously expand the offer.
  • Political perspective
    So far, the introductory provisions allow a cross-border exchange of ideas. Should there be a tightening of customs regulations, then the supply can be easily nationalized, i.e. the programs are set up nationally and need therefore no longer operating across borders. There are no disturbing distortions to competition since it stimulates the business of key competitors, like consultants and creative firms. The results of the app consist of short ideas, which create comprehensive consulting services for the implementation. The use in crisis regions and authoritarian states could be difficult because the network access is not guaranteed.
  • Legal perspective
    The data that is used consists of the data tracks that the user creates in the net. In principle this data belongs to the users. The ideas that are generated by the app are public domain and can be used free of charge by the users. It is planned to include a legal verification in a premium version. The product liability of the offers resulting from the ideas remains with the manufacturer. From a legal point of view nothing speaks against the app.
  • Ecological perspective
    The impact on the environment is mainly determined by the operation of the data centers – air conditioning, electricity, the fuel of the emergency power generators. The actual ideas are not polluting per se. Ecologically questionable ideas are filtered out to the extent that environmental damage is minimized on a non-dogmatic level, e.g. waste of natural resources and non-recyclable waste is avoided by default. The app has a positive effect on CO2 footprint of the idea scouts, who limit their research to the net.
  • Own perspective
    The developers have reported that they are proud having found these resourceful algorithms, since more and more ideas are needed in the future to make small businesses viable. For them, the program is a contribution to the world of work of tomorrow and after-tomorrow. They already have plans for much more extensive analysis capabilities. The positive attitude of the involved people promises long-lasting momentum for the development of new features.

Bottom line: Of course, the story is fake news. But, the example clarifies that looking at a new product out of only one perspective, e.g. the business case, is inadequate. Additionally each of the indicated perspectives has its purpose. For this reason, it is always beneficial to change your standpoint, to put on a new hat, to walk in the moccasins of others in order to get to an overall assessment. Only then, one perceives the actual potentials and is able to recognize the challenges at an early stage. In order to get better, the Why needs perspectives.

The wind – the ideal metaphor for influencing factors

In sports, personals efforts determine the performance. The athletes exercise for years to release the trained strengths at the right moment. At competitions, however, the results can be distorted by external influences like the wind. World records are only recognized, if the wind speed is less than 2 m/ sec, since the wind can distort the results. In business influencing factors impact the same way on the efforts from all directions – even if it is sometimes an unexpected wildcard in favor of the own outcomes.

Wind is a directed air movement blowing from different directions. The following sections describe some properties of the wind.

  • Wind direction
    The Wind evolves as a result of varying air pressures and blows in different directions (North, South, West, East and all possible intermediate stages). Side winds push you out of the chosen direction. Thermal winds produce additionally vertical winds (upwind and downwash). In an extreme case, the wind direction changes more and more rapidly until turbulences are created, which are dangerous due to their unpredictability and power. The winds can not be produced, but people learned to use them – sailing, propelling mills or flying.
    In business flows arise that affect the activities. These are the employee behaviors, new technologies or unforeseen market changes. They also take effect from all directions. They often come from the side and create an imperceptible drift that ultimately go past the target. If you are able to deal with these trends, you can make use of them for your own benefit by letting yourself being propelled. If, for example, competitors are increasingly using certain software, this reinforces acceptance in the company. However, if the circumstances are working against your direction, they will burden the activities in the form of resistances. If, for example, the use of external workers is increasingly criticized in public, it could quickly lead to a corresponding rejection internally. If new tendencies arise from different directions, special measures must be taken to secure the day-to-day business, like concerted exchange with the concerned people.
  • Wind speed
    Total still air always required looking for other energy sources – on ships rudders or engines are used; mills can also work with hydro power. The force of the wind ranges from a light breeze to a strong wind, or to storms and hurricanes. Over time solutions were invented for using the wind energy. Nowadays container ships are developed that are again propelled by wind energy. The first ships are expanding their propulsion with large sails (see here) and that way they already save about 20% fuel.
    In business, changes influence daily work. At times machines are changed, some other time the business processes are redesigned or the IT is updated. The more extensive the innovations are, the more the influencing factors push. If then even more innovations take place at a time, the dangerous turbulences increase, which can eventually become dangerous. In order not to be overwhelmed by the influences, it is necessary to look at the indicators of change and to use them for the own business. If they push you in the desired direction, you can let yourself carry away. Comes the pressure from the wrong direction and threaten the ongoing operations, you can no longer avoid taking unpleasant measures. These can be strategy changes or at least adaptations in the planning of the implementation, but also measures for exchanging ideas, such as detailed publications of the current situation or staff meetings, in which problems are openly addressed and comprehensibly solved for the employees.
  • Airstream
    A special form of wind, the airstream, is not created by different air pressures, but it comes from your own speed. It is for example created, when you drive fast on the road and the air builds up a wall. This produces similar effects as with the natural wind. The airstream always „blows“ against the own direction. If you move faster than the sound (more than 767 mph), you can even break the sound barrier with a loud bang. The resistance can be reduced by creative adaptation of the form.
    In business, it is possible that too many activities are set up simultaneously. This leads almost automatically to a counter-pressure of the workforce. The unwelcomed changes can be made more „wind-slippery“, especially through open exchange of thoughts. The resistance usually arises from a lack of knowledge of the facts. This resistance is reduced through openness and early involvement of the affected parties. If the management team plans the implementation at a speed that does not allow the workforce to come along, the back pressure increases unnoticed, but steady. Even if many measures go in the desired direction of all concerned people, employees can get too much. In these cases you can only slow down the speed, in order to get faster to the end.

Bottom line: The wind is a natural force which influences the circumstances from all directions. The horizontal and vertical forces and their strength play an important role. Correspondingly, you have to deal with such developing streams also in business. If you can make use of these currents, then you can become faster. If they come from sideways, it is important to take early steps to avoid loosing the path. If it is contrary to your direction, then these resistances slow down, delay or even make the goal fulfillment impossible. Because the business has to deal with similar, difficult to control forces, the wind is an ideal metaphor for influencing factors.