Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A New Approach to Life & Business - The Skool OS Trinity

Heya Everyone,

Lately, everybody is talking about “user experience.” For some of you it might be a new term, so I will explain.
User experience (UX or UE) is a term used specifically in the web design and product design industries that refers to the combined perception of a product (website or otherwise) that a “user” (the person using it) has while interacting with it. Eg. “That website was so easy, it has a great user experience.”
My First User Experience, Experience
The first time I got exposed to this term was in 2012 and I thought it only pertained to “designing” a product. However, after I began to work with +Jose Caballer, Chief Education Officer at The Skool, I learned it is not necessarily referring to just a tangible product, but it also refers to what your experience is when interacting with any part of a brand, across all touch points ranging from customer service, mobile app, marketing, ads, social networks, etc.  You are having a “user experience” when engaging with pretty much anyone or anything from a particular company.
External Orientation
I would categorize user experience as an “external” orientation. Meaning that it is a company focusing it’s organizing principles around the external experiences it is generating with you, its customer. A company that applies a “user-centered” approach when designing and developing a new product or service is rooted in deep understanding of your needs and goals as a human. This is different from the experiences many of us may have had with brands in the past. In the 20th century many brands felt disconnected, the experience of the product was very different from the marketing and advertising, the experience did not deliver on what the marketing and advertising promised. Today we are entering a time where authentic engagement is the most important aspect of a business idea. Making you the customer a partner in the process of developing a new product or service.
Spreadsheet Driven
The industrial revolution gave birth to mass consumption and to the mass media needed to continue to feed the increasingly large number of products we manufactured. This in turn gave way to modern business management theories, modern marketing and advertising and what we know today as the status quo. This became the model we teach in business schools, workshops and seminars. When we talk business we talk “spreadsheets”, “mass marketing” and “economies of scale”. The result is that somewhere along the path to modernity business became spreadsheet driven. Not human driven.
UX Driven
When I first became aware of user experience practices I realized that these principles are the next step in our evolution both on a business level and on personal level. The focus on understanding others, theirs needs and goals and just the relatedness in the approach make it clear to me that   UX practices and principles will be the new framework of how we relate to others interpersonally, employees collaborating within a team (internal), or a brand relating to its customers (external). I believe user experience practices will become the new standard process for creating a healthy, wholesome, authentic and related culture.
UX Über Alles 
User Experience practices do not just pertain to the web design and product design processes as it’s principles and practices can be applied to any environment. We can use them as a new universal practice for creating a healthier society. I have always had a fascination with analyzing the underlying dynamics between people and a society and in my discovery of user experience practices I have found a set of authentic principles that allow me to explore how to design “human experiences” with a new kind of “relatedness” between people. I have come to believe that it is not so much about the “IT” as +Jose Caballer would call it, meaning the “product” that we develop, but rather the “why”. The motivation as to why we are developing a product, service, or even establishing a company to begin with. What’s the purpose behind it all? What’s the mission? What’s the movement? Why should anyone care? To answer the last question you have to start not with “IT”, your idea but with the reason why someone other than yourself (the user) should care. That has always been and will always be the reason for a business to succeed. The user first. UX above all. 
Women’s Experience  
I see a deep desire and need amongst women to pioneer new structures and formats that would allow us to self-actualize and express our full range of abilities as women. My own journey, seeking and striving have been the motivation behind my involvement with The Skool and The MERGE! Conference was a manifestation of my alignment with The Skool’s goals and my needs. I see the same need in many of you, in our community as a whole. Women seeking meaningful ways to build long lasting careers or to start their own businesses.  My journey has had many steps; I went through a process of deep self-inquiry and self-reflection.  I also joined a global online women’s leadership program founded by Claire Zammit and Katherine Woodward Thomas that provided me the support and practices as to how to reconnect with myself, creating clarity around my values, philosophies and what it is that I stand for. This shifted my approach from a 20th century approach of having an external focus, one where the things around me dictated what I did vs being driven from inside, from who I was first, my culture then my community and how we exchanged value. I came to the realization that I was the first “user” in creating my own experience.
The Skool OS Trinity 
The most recent step in my journey brought me to The Skool where one of the first things I learned has been The Skool OS Trinity. It gets it’s name from the Trinity in Cooking - onion, celery and carrot. It consists of a series of group exercises that help you in defining who you are, who your customers are and what your collective goals are. Brand, User Definition and Goals in short. We believe that in order to create a great user experience driven product you have to start by first knowing who you are (your brand) and who your customers are (your users) and what your collective goals are. The secret is never defining any of these alone. Always working with a team or advisors to do this. These are also the same exact elements that you would do in a business plan. Often with different names such as Mission and Vision, Customer Segments and Business Goals.  In this case The Skool developed the exercises in a format that is collaborative and fun. Allowing you and team to work quickly and smoothly to define these often difficult “core” elements. Whether you are doing this before starting a business, or you already have a business but need to take it to the next level this process will help you immensely. I know they have for me.
Introduction Workshop for The Skool OS Trinity 
GABA, the German American Business Association asked me to share The Skool OS Trinity with our collective community of women entrepreneurs on March 19th. Jose Caballer and I will be sharing this with you at the Filter Digital Offices in Culver City. 
This evening is specifically for Women in Business, or women considering developing a product, service, or business. First, we will create clarity and define your brand, its attributes, qualities, personality, culture, and benefits that you are offering. Followed by defining your customers and articulating a clear value proposition to them. 
This process is a tool that allows transitioning from a self-oriented motivation to an “other-oriented” mindset, or “User Driven” approach. In this respect we not only are contributing to a more authentic and sincere culture and helping build 21st century businesses but also we are working to meet the needs of our society!
I cordially invite you to join us on March 19th for this introduction to The Skool OS Trinity co-lead between Jose Caballer, Chief Education Officer at The Skool and myself.
Ticket Price $30
To receive a $10 discount use this code: WIBSkool
How to register?
Purchase your ticket on the GABA website: http://ow.ly/ipnB0
Tuesday, March 19th
6:00 – 9.15pm
Filter Digital Los Angeles
5782 West Jefferson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016
Tatjana Luethi
Skool Lead Coach and Community Builder
Producer of the MERGE! Conference