Come lie on our couch...

Tell us your problems… Let’s work them out together...

An article by Kit Hunwicks 19-02-2018

People come to Edo because we’re experts in our field and they have faith that we’ll use the best methodologies and an experienced team to deliver work that exceeds their needs. As a consultancy we’ve hundreds of combined years of digital and business expertise that we can bring to bear to drive success, to help organisations become future fit, more efficient and more effective.

So far, so sensible (and amazingly humble!)

We’ve experience of running a huge a variety of projects client-side and consultancy-side for a varied set of businesses, public sector organisations and charities. This lends us a breadth of knowledge about what works and what doesn’t, how to solve problems, what lessons we’ve learned from others’ (and our own) failures. We’re always keen to share this learning.

So… when we receive a brief (while we’re always delighted), we often like to challenge it. A brief that is too prescriptive in detailing what needs to be delivered, or how it is to be delivered, can be restrictive and won’t necessarily elicit the best work. Saying “we need a better form” or “build me a blog feature” is sometimes the right thing to do, but often won’t solve the whole problem.

If you know what your problem is - great. Bring it to us and we’ll collaborate with you to solve it (If you got a problem, yo! I’ll solve it). We also enjoy though, helping (to borrow a favourite phrase of our Principal Experience Consultants) to “define the problem space”.

You may have seen the ‘Double Diamond’ design process (if not, check it out as defined by the Design Council here). They state:

Every design specialism has a different approach and ways of working, but there are some commonalities to the creative process. At the Design Council we like to illustrate this with our Double Diamond model.

© Design Council 2014

As far as it goes, it’s an excellent model and one we should adhere to:

  • Gain insight
  • Define the area of focus
  • Develop (and test) hypotheses
  • Deliver a solution that works

All great. But what if you’re gaining insight into, and solving, the wrong thing? That’s just wasted effort. Or what if you’re not allowing yourself the scope to explore the wider opportunities afforded you? You’re missing out.

Our Together We’re Better Conference had a number of inspiring speakers, but both Jane Austin and the team from Barnardo’s: Audree Fletcher and Jason Caplin, extended the double diamond model with a third space to the left - within which they say we need to ask questions around the problem, looking for unmet needs and opportunities which will allow you to create something that truly works for you and crucially, the people you need to use it - and that has to be a good thing, right?

So looking around the problem, not simply focussing on an assumed solution is an exercise which delivers real value. The benefits could be as simple as finding a better way to deliver, or as wide as re-examining what’s being asked for and doing something quite different that serves to solve the problem in a better way.

A couple of examples:

A few years ago, just before the Scottish referendum, we were asked by a huge UK charity to move a homepage CTA to help make nation-specific and regional content more discoverable. This grew into a much wider conversation about the potential impact of devolution, how that may impact content strategy, information architecture and service delivery - highlighting a number of considerations that were more pressing than the need to shift a CTA. By helping the charity to reflect on these we were able to help them to better present themselves and better serve their audiences.

In another example, we were called in to help optimise a donation journey. The discussions grew from there and led to the creation of a cutting-edge fundraising project that has created the potential for a whole new revenue stream.

The point is that focussing on the solution can lead to blinkered thinking and outcomes, whereas focussing on, and exploring, the problem can lead to a widening view and a world of opportunities.

The value of asking questions, even when you think you’ve a relatively simple need can not be overstated. A request to build a thing, deliver a service or refine a service is great - BUT a request to investigate the why, what and how of things is even better. You’ll make more effective use of our skills and experience and get much, much better outcomes.

So if you’ve a problem you’d like us to look at with you, please get in touch - we’d love to help (you don’t have to lie on our couch unless you really want to though).

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