It’s 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and the baby shower is in two hours. So you find yourself roaming in the baby clothes section of a soul-crushingly blank mall. Laid bare before your eyes are colorful, playful clothes all competing for your attention and limited money.
Ultimately, you choose that “BE JEALOUS I have the best aunt & uncle in the world” dinosaur onesie that will probably look cool as hell on photos, and remind viewers that you’re the coolest uncle on planet Earth. Added bonus, it’s done by a local company, very hip and trendy.
During the present unwrapping of the baby shower, everyone marvels at the wit and cuteness of the shirt. One week later, you receive a cute picture of said baby with said shirt. Awesome.
It’s 4 a.m. on a rainy Sunday morning. As a young, red-eyed parent, you list the thousands of things you have to do to maintain that little thing alive after a sleepless night. And you realize that, with the baby growing, the supply of clothes that fit is getting dangerously low. After a brief discussion with your spouse, you also realize the only outfit left is the one from the baby shower. The one with 10 buttons in the back, the dinosaur things, has the “must be washed by hand” dreaded tag on it, and that has that stupid inscription all over. It has been worn once, for the photo, and is already wearing out from the use. One dinosaur spike fell off. You have to take it off completely to change a nappie. The company providing the dinosaur onesie being small and hip, their refund policy is less than stellar.
So you head to your favorite online retailer and search for clothes. “Easy to put, easy to remove, machine washable ” clothes to be exact, and end up buying a white, perfectly good baby cloth that will be delivered on the same day. Added bonus, it’s from a brand name and has a policy of “replaced in the same day if torn”. And it can be opened with one hand for nappie replacement. This item won’t solve everything, but at least it won’t get in the way.
First, the buyer of the first outfit, as a Cool Uncle, has very limited knowledge of the actual constraints of the real user, the parents:
Second, the buyer of the first outfit, as a Cool Uncle, thinks of personal agenda as primary, before actual end-user needs:
Third, the buyer of the first outfit, as a Cool Uncle, is not the end-user, and thus does not have to live with the consequences of the act of buying and gets twisted incentives (the photo and the “novelty” of it) deviating from the actual benefits for the end-user.
On to software development.
When it comes to enterprise software, most BigCos executives are behaving like the Cool Uncle and exhibit the same characteristics:
Here are some examples that we saw over the last year:
Of course, there is light. And it’s actually pretty simple to overcome the situation. At the Studio, we found that only three key success factors can help any executive to overcome the baby dinosaur onesie effect:
In short, behave like a cool mom would: think with empathy of the situation of the end user, listen to the needs of the user over yours, and know you will live with the consequences of what you do for a long time.
Here are some awesome examples that we also saw over last year:
And if you don’t have time nor energy to put that in place: instead of buying clothes, buy gift cards. Give budget to the operational teams, they’ll know how to use it.
Note: the baby clothes metaphor (from what we can tell) comes from this tweet, and it’s brilliant. Credit where it’s due!
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