Step 2 Customer Pain Relief Using ‘Design Thinking’

Now the pain points customers encounter have been identified the next step is to establish which are able to be eased by a service from your business. This service will be the ‘pull’ which draws customers to your brand, design thinking is a great approach to establish what this should be.

The objectives of this step is 3 fold

  1. Establish the potential solutions to customer pain
  2. Refine potential solutions to a single solution with the biggest benefit to your customer and your business
  3. Build out foundations and requirements of solution to establish an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

One of the best tools available to achieve these objectives, and very prevalent at the moment, is a design thinking workshop. The purpose of a design thinking workshops is to clear the way to move forward into development.

Design thinking Workshops Purpose and Goals

Focusing on one user (the focus user from customer contact which the experience map was created around) ideation around that users pain points thinking of any ideas no matter how wild or outlandish they are that could have been ignored or silenced in other environments.

Then defining and scoping the ‘single idea’ into a manageable chunk and scope everything down into a testable vision statement and MVP (Minimum viable product). Continuing the workshop to find a clear way to move the MVP forward. This path is one that is built off of user needs from many ideas.

Follow the following steps during the session will help to get to the desired result.

Business Opportunity Discussions

This is born out of the business experience mapping carried out in the previous step. A good starting point is to review Customer experience mapping (sometimes known as empathy mapping) highlight the key pain-points and prioritize which are the most prevalent with the biggest potential impact.

Following this a thoughts session, this is the route to establishing the idea that is decided to pursue and accompanied by an As-is review – what does the landscape look like today – competition activity, current service offerings, etc

Finally create a Prioritization matrix, a simple approach to help quickly and intuitively refine ideas down to one idea.

Design thinking priority matrix
Example design thinking priority matrix

Story boarding

A story board is a graphic representation that provides a high level view of the big idea, this helps to make sense of what is required. Focusing on the Epics (high level, big, sketchy elements or requirements) the big idea can start to be refined into individual elements, an example epic from a community website – As a user I want to manage my profile, due to its size and scale it has multiple smaller elements needed to be completed.

Following on from the epics, more detailed user stories can be created, so if we use the example above “As a user I want to manage my profile” we can add another layer of detail

  • As a user, I want to be able to change my password so that I can keep my account secure
  • As a user, I want to be able to add a photo so that I can show other users who I am
  • As a user, I want to be able to edit my address so that I can ensure purchases are sent to the right address
  • As a user, I want to be able to register my details and login, so that I can keep my details secure

As you will see all stories follow a standard format as shown below

“As a [persona],

I want to [do something]

so that I can [realize a reward]”

I recommend you familiarize yourself with the user story approach with further reading below:

Read more on Epics, Themes and user stories here

How to create the best agile user stories here

Some good tips here

Vision statement

Creating an overarching vision statement is critical and a core output from a design thinking workshop, it helps others to understand the product and also ensures a clear direction for the product. This vision also becomes your ‘elevator pitch’ if you had 30secs to pitch your idea to a customer, key stakeholder or senior manager for example, the elevator pitch serves this purpose.

The following template can be used to create a vision statement, replacing the bracket <> statements with the relent message/content you wish to convey.

For <customer/user>

Who has <needs>

<Product> is a <description>

That will <value statement>

Its important all involved are aligned on the vision and by repeating the same statement to anyone who asks (or does nt ask!) about the product will help to build momentum within your organisation and within your customer base, repeating a message three times may well work however many believe the “Rule of 7” applies. Going even further than this Thomas Smith’s book “Successful Advertising,” makes the observations that 20 times is the optimum messaging frequency:

This momentum is significantly enhanced when these messaging communications are made by multiple individuals (project team), this builds interest, momentum, confidence, curiosity, understanding, etc.

MVP – Minimum Viable Product

A minimum viable product is defined such that its capabilities are Marketable, Useful with Releasable Feature Set which enables the satisfaction of the customer’s pain relief. It is a subset of the overall ‘Big idea’. This does not mean once you’ve created the MVP you walk away from the project, in fact quote the opposite, the MVP is just the start. Agile is about ongoing iterative development and the MVP should be iterated from through the backlog. This is, of course, assuming the MVP release is nt an unmitigated disaster…

So how do we define the MVP? MoSCoW… this does nt mean a trip to Russia, it means the use of MoSCoW prioritisation

Looking at each of the epics first, decided which each of them fall into from the below definitions then look at each individual user stories and define them similarly. Note, an Epic cannot have a lower priority than the sum of its user story parts, i.e an Epic defined as ‘Could have’ but a user story which sits with that epic as ‘Must have’ will need further understanding and changing accordingly.

Must have

These are the epics and user stories critical to the success of the project without which your product would nt work or serve the needs/objectives

Should have

Are as important but not necessary for delivery in the first release, often not as time-critical or there may be another way to satisfy the requirement.

Could have

These are desirable elements or features but not necessary, typically will improve user experience or customer satisfaction which will only be included if time and resources permit.

Won’t have (this time) or would like to have

Agreed by stakeholders as the least-critical, lowest-return elements, or just not appropriate at this time.

Goals and Non goals

Explicitly defining what the goals of the MVP are and just as importantly what its goals are not. These goals come in to types, what the goals for the business and what are the goals for the customer i.e. fulfilling the relief to customers pain.


The output of all the above activities forms the framework from which the next steps can be carried out, the User stories are core and key from which the data can be investigated, the platform can be defined, user experience realized and the insight gained.

Read on for the 3rd step in creating Intelligent Customer Experiences

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