Elevating the Innovation Team to the Customer View

Innovating from a deep understanding of customers' lived experiences

Overview

At Capital One, I embraced the role of a Strategic Designer by leading the creation of a unified Customer Vision that bridges across multiple product initiatives, and serves as a decision-making framework to determine where the highest leverage work lies.

In articulating the Service Value Proposition of the Customer Experience Team, along with a set of Guiding Principles to move forward—I rallied the Leadership to redefine the Team's identity and purpose. As a result, clarity of direction is achieved, and now the entire team is on a mission to solve the real customer problems.

In this case study, I will give a high-level overview of my responsibilities, impact, and output. But first, I'd like to start with the “why” behind all of my efforts.

My design approach

A large part of my work as a Designer is having the ability to discern where people are struggling, and where people are being excluded from opportunities for a better way to live, work, and play.

My natural disposition is to adopt an empathetic posture that is rooted in a deep understanding of customers' lived experiences. This approach has shaped the human-centered perspective that I bring to the design of enterprise services and digital platforms. It has also enabled me to effectively advocate for the true needs of the customer during the design development process.

A Note about Design Artifacts

Due to the NDA nature of my work, I am unable to show the design artifacts of my projects at Capital One. I apologize for the inconvenience and I thank you for undertanding.

Role

Experience Design and Strategy

As the Sole Experience Designer of an entire Customer Experience Team, I am accountable for the experience quality of 4 Digital Tools and Platforms—of which 3 are internal associate-facing, and 1 is external customer-facing.

As I write, all 4 are at various stages of development—ranging from one that is currently in pilot, to one that is presently undergoing several cycles of customer validations. In summary, I execute the design efforts for 3 Innovation Initiatives, and I am involved in several special assignments in various design capacities.

Design Research

To inform my design work, I lead the planning, execution, and synthesis for Customer Research Initiatives. I proactively engage the Product, Operations, and Design Research partners in order to recruit the right research participants, and maximize our learnings in each customer research session. In close partnership with my Product and Business partners, I proactively share the key insights and actionable learnings of each research effort to the Experience Leadership Team and my fellow Design peers.

Impact

Designing for a Seamless Multi-Channel Customer Experience

One of my key responsibilities is to regularly uplevel the product innovation agenda to a unified Customer Vision that bridges the 3 key Innovation Initiatives at a strategic level—so as to ensure a seamless customer service experience across the digital product ecosystem.

In the capacity of an Experience Designer, I lead the Customer Research, Interaction & Interface Design, Customer Validation, and Build-Support efforts for 4 Digital Tools & Platforms—each with its own unique set of stakeholder requirements, functional customer needs, and interface Design Systems.

In the capacity of a Service Designer, I facilitate cross-functional workshops and co-creation sessions to prototype multi-channel experiences in Future-State Service Blueprinting exercises, and Idea Generation exercises. As a representative of Design, I bring a customer-backed perspective to my contributions during several Event-Storming exercises—where I and my Tech, Product, Operations, and Business partners worked towards organizing a set of capabilities that laid the groundwork for the future target-state architecture of our platforms.

Facilitating Cross-Functional Alignment

Because I am involved in all of the Innovation initiatives, I have the rare perspective to see how the end-to-end experience comes together. This enables me to anticipate when one Product initiative is about to collide with another, and drive it towards a convergence rather than a collision.

To that end, I created a system to balance Design Requests from 3 Product Managers. I hold Design Sprint Planning sessions before the start of each sprint, where I partner with Product Managers in defining the conditions for success of each design effort. I make it a point to include my Engineering partners as early as possible. I find that their deep expertise in systems architecture and capabilities make them a consistent source of great ideas.

I regularly facilitate cross-functional requirements-gathering and scope discussions between multiple Product Managers. This ensures alignment across all Product Initiatives, which is crucial in creating a cohesive customer service ecosystem. I make it a point to include the Product Managers and Engineering Leads in prioritization conversations for the sake of transparency regarding which Design Requests are prioritized for the sprint, and for what reason. The outcome is that the Product Innovation Teams avoided a lot of misalignment problems down the road by intentionally having these discussions up-front during Design Sprint Planning.

Output

Key Results at the Experience Leadership Level

I led the Experience Leadership Team through a series of Design Review Meetings for the purpose of aligning on a unified Customer Vision. The outcome is a robust Customer Vision that documents how each Business, Product, Operations, Design, and Tech initiative ladders up to the key Customer Problems, and ultimately contribute to the overarching Customer Vision.

I facilitated each step of the vision-creation process, starting with articulating who the customer is. I engaged the Experience Leadership Team in a Customer Problem-Framing exercise, synthesized the primary customer problems, and initiated a team discussion on the metrics we should use to measure our progress towards solving each Customer Problem. I learned that taking the entire team along on the journey is instrumental in creating a Customer Vision that has the buy-in of the key decision makers of the Leadership Team.

Key Results at the Design & Design Research Levels

I designed the interactions and produced the interface designs for 4 Digital Tools and Platforms—3 of which are internal Associate-facing, and 1 of which is external Business Customer-facing. Each digital tool had their respective set of stakeholders, user groups, and design constraints that I navigated through to produce meaningful output that moves the team forward.

In addition to producing designs, I lead the Research Planning, Execution and Synthesis of learnings for 2 Customer Research initiatives. I am generous about sharing key insights and actionable learnings to the entire Experience Team. I find that these sharing activities go a long way towards making my partners feel included on the journey. Because often times, the Business, Tech, and Operations partners could not make it to these research sessions. The outcome is that it created a culture of conversation around what the true customer needs are. I see the team's growing appetite for customer research as an indicator of growth in the team's overall customer orientation.

Please contact me to learn more

The Capital One Logo is courtesy of Capital One. Due to the NDA nature of my work, I am unable to show my design artifacts. Thank you for understanding.

Next

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