Archive for July, 2012

Capturing tacit knowledge

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Organisations have both formal and informal or tacit knowledge. The first is written down in training manuals and case studies, the second floats around in employees’ heads. The risk with this is that if those employees leave, that valuable knowledge (often practical know-how) leaves too.

A photocopier company was worried about its staff training. Their copier repair guys operated solo, going on-site to fix jammed printers without much time in the office for formal training sessions. But in this process they picked up experience of specific and how to solve them. A corporate ethnographer shadowing the repairmen found that in fact they did swap tips and tricks at the favoured cafe they met for lunch. Knowledge was being transferred, just not formally.

A famous example of deliberately ‘scripting’ knowledge transfer is Steve Jobs insisting that the Pixar toilets were placed in the centre of the building so employees would be forced to interact with each other (on the way to the toilets not inside them).

Transferring knowledge from employee to employee is a way to keep tacit knowledge within the organisation. This can be enhanced by tools, like nativeye, that allow managers to capture ideas and insight from employees whenever and wherever inspiration strikes.

That tacit knowledge is then constantly being encoded in 1s and 0s and is not at risk of being lost.

Find out more about the nativeye app

Brand promise, customer experience and everything in between

Friday, July 20th, 2012

This article calls on marketers to fix the disconnect between the promises brands make and the actual experience customers receive.

“Essentially, brands are built on promises but it’s the experience you have of an organisation that constitutes reality.” Thomas Brown, head of insights at the CIM

It suggests marketers are falling into the trap of claiming more and more about their brand in order to cut through in the crowded marketplace, but without backing it up in practice.

Is lack of customer insight to blame? Perhaps only on the part of senior marketers:

The CIM report found that while customer insight and research are being shared across business units, and senior leaders, it rarely permeates the ranks of the organisation. Only 14 per cent of the marketers surveyed said it was the main driver of decision making.

Not that this insight should be applied in a uniform way. An advertising campaign can be outrageous and not based in reality as long is this is understood by the audience not to be an actual product claim. Good brand communication and good customer experience can look very different – as long as they both deliver on their respective briefs.

But it may be that when it comes to customer experience, useful trumps engaging. For Google at least:

Google’s problem is also the challenge that many brands now face- given the complexity of media fragmentation, brands want to try and create deeper engagement through social media channels with their creative assets, but there’s a big danger here; brands need to be providing things that are ultimately useful to consumers.


Too specific a focus on communication engagement might lead brands to take their eye of the ball and not continue to innovate their product portfolio, falsely believing that engaging communication is a substitute.

Brand Utility anyone?


The experience economy (links)

Friday, July 13th, 2012

A couple of interesting snippets on the evolution beyond a product economy to an experience economy:


Four blades in your razors are enough. In the language of Clay Christensen’s disruptive innovation framework, the product economy overshot the mass market’s needs.

An economy of experiences is emerging in its place. Experiences make people happier than products (a fact that scientific studies support). The popularity of experiences like music concerts has skyrocketed compared to corresponding products like music recordings. Apple, the most valuable company in the world, maniacally focuses on product experiences, down to minute details like the experience of unboxing an iPhone. Customers want to know where their food and clothes come from, so they can understand the experiences surrounding them. The emphasis on experiences also helps explain other large trends like the migration to cities. Cities have always offered the trade-off of fewer goods and less space in exchange for better experiences.

From http://10×

Tofler ‘Future Shock’ 1971 prophesising the ‘Experience Industry’

Companies need to start thinking about the holistic relationship between their brands, products, and services. Crafting an experience requires design that considers these 3 elements of brand, product, and service in order to generate successful results. Any company can be analyzed through these lenses to evaluate the experience it creates for its customers.

Many organizations face structural challenges that prevent these 3 elements from working together harmoniously. Many brands deliver products and services across hundreds of channels to millions of customers, but few of these are truly integrated. In theory, the brand and its products and services should be designed to work in tandem; a brand’s voice and promise should inform the products that are built and the surrounding services that are delivered to customers.




Happy to help (Part II) – Monitoring the employee experience

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Recording employee experiences as they happen

Traditional Employee Engagement surveys happen once or twice a year and therefore only give a (arguably skewed) snapshot of what employees are feeling and thinking. An alternative would be to take the temperature of the organisation throughout the year, as things happen, which would:

1) capture data while it is fresh and
2) allow HR departments to tie thoughts and emotions to events.

This second benefit would get organisations closer to understanding the impact of their actions (e.g. policy changes, hirings, firings) on employees.

A feedback loop (e.g. live publishing) would encourage response rates, especially if this data was also followed up by visible action on the part of management.

That’s the vision, how might we actually achieve it?

Step 1 – Give employees the means to record their experiences

Capture in the moment employee experiences          Tie feelings and emotions to events & triggers

The nativeye app allows employees to respond using their smartphone or via iPads strategically placed around the office.

Step 2 – Play back what you are hearing to show you are listening

See our Public Assignment, Are you being served? for an example of how to do this with a closed “Employee Experience” web page

Step 3 – Take actions based on the data

This bit’s up to you!


If you are interested in conducting this type of research in your organisation, do get in touch with Ben or check out the nativeye website for more info.