Direction of Travel for Gym Business Models

New Year, New Gym, New Business Model

Posted Posted in Articles, Strategy, Transformation

The business of gyms is an odd one. It’s full of business principles from the 1970s with a thin veneer of customer service from the 1990s. What’s the modern approach? Let’s look at the typical issues with modern gym memberships. If you search on a few review sites or social media, you’ll commonly see a number of prospects who turned their back on transitioning to customers mixed with disgruntled customers. From a cursory glance, there are significantly more unhappy customers than happy customers and the gap between is wider than in any other industry that I can think of. So what’s the reason behind this? I think it could be due to gym managers and owners applying the wrong business model. The Continuum From a very simplistic viewpoint, we can fit products onto a continuum from commodities, feature-based through to […]

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Look at the Evidence – the Spike and Delay Pattern in Social Care

Posted Posted in Articles, Methodology, Problem Solving, Service Redesign, Transformation

A number of years ago, I was transforming a city’s social care directorate and, as part of that transformation, we aimed to reduce the time it took to do anything when interacting with the service. The transformation was based on a more fundamental need to free up workers to be able to do the work they were meant to do rather than having to fight the fires caused by delays and resulting failure demand. I instigated a methodical approach for identifying which cycles to focus on first. As the team progressed through the cycles, I noticed a pattern; it’s the spike of activity followed by a lengthy delay as discussed in a previous article. As we looked in particular at a few cycles of spike followed by a delay, I routinely advised the team to question the need for that common […]

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The Delay Following the Spike – Issues with Cycle Time in Service Industries

Posted Posted in Articles, Problem Solving, Service Redesign, Transformation

How long does it take you to do what your customers want? Not just the first part, but the whole of it? 1. The Pattern I see this pattern commonly replicated across service industries. It involves a very short spike of activity (e.g. 5-20 minutes) followed by a lengthy delay where something is sent to the customer and the organisation waits for the return. This is followed by a 2nd spike of activity which in turn is followed by another lengthy delay. Depending on the bureaucracy involved, this process may involve several rounds of spike and delay, each adding to the overall delay in service for the customer and, most likely, increasing failure demand on the organisation. 2. Some Samples Let’s have a look at a few industries and see how this pattern plays out: 2a. Retail Industry Take for […]

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Finding a balance between the needs of the organisation and the needs of the customer

Posted Posted in Articles, Methodology, Service Redesign, Strategy

Some companies are immature in their approach to customer relationship management (CRM), but at the heart is a desire to get something for free. And that’s wrong. The scenario You look around a shop, you pick something up, take it to the checkout, wait in a queue. You notice that the queue is moving slowly, despite most customer only having a handful of items and then paying with credit card. Maybe the link to the credit card authoriser is a bit flakey today? It’s your turn at the checkout. Once the greeting and the small talk is out of the way, the dreaded question is delivered by the sales assistant “Can I have your email address please?” or some variant on that request for your email. This may be followed with “can I take your postcode?” or “do you already […]

Business Architecture and Service Design

How Might We Apply Service Design to the Enterprise?

Posted Posted in Articles, Methodology, Service Redesign, Strategy, Transformation

I simplistically take the view that Service Design is the concepts and methods of Design Thinking applied to making services work better for their customers. It’s a definition that works in the circles I most commonly move in, i.e. directors, programme directors, etc. It allows me to set the stage in which service design and design thinking both play. However on the same stage, we commonly find KPIs, OKRs, Business Architecture, etc. And the stage starts to look crowded very quickly. We also start to see people pulling in different directions, like someone has let a mouse loose in the chorus of an Italian opera. Operas and plays have directors, often many directors each responsible for their own domain, but with one artistic director responsible for the overall vision. Envisioning Now imagine what would the stage look like if the […]

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Confirmation bias in design thinking

Posted Posted in Articles, Innovation, Methodology, Service Redesign, Transformation

Every few years another fad comes around. Look back long enough and you’ll see lean, systems thinking, TQM, CRM, structured systems and many, many more methodologies and/or approaches. The problem is in the delivery of the projects when the terms become more widespread. Background What we’re seeing is the climb of two methodologies: Service Design and Design Thinking. You can probably add in Human-Centered Design and Inclusive Design into that mix. Many organisations are adopting these methodologies to solve their existing problems, switching from a lack of methodology or from more formal, structure methods to ones centred around design. I’m increasingly seeing Design Thinking heralded as the way forwards, but there are some issues with that approach. To be clear, I’m a supporter of Design Thinking and many related methodologies. I’m not necessarily a supporter of how those methodologies are implemented in many […]

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How a Simple Change Can Bring Multiple Benefits

Posted Posted in Articles, Innovation, Service Redesign, Transformation

I’m often designing change programmes for large organisations. I’m an external consultant, an outsider coming into the organisation that already exists. There are already governance boards in place, whether for operational, financial or change governance. These boards happen on a regular basis, often on a set day of the month. As an outsider, I’m not going to be able to change those days. At most, I can influence the shifting of one or two on ad-hoc and in very rare occasions, the executive sponsor is senior enough to be able to change the day because it suits her as well. But remember that a lot of other activity is set around these events and most organisations will resist changing the day. So why do we need to change the day? If you think of a typical design sprint, then it’s […]

Designing for Everyone

Posted Posted in Articles, Facilitation, Innovation, Methodology, Service Redesign, Transformation

Whatever system, process, technology we’re implementing, shouldn’t we be designing for everyone? Or at least everyone in the target customer segment? Background In the last couple of weeks, I’ve read a number of articles that have consolidated and made me reflect on my thinking about designing for disabilities and what counts as normal. Having spent a number of years working in the health and social care sector, I’m well-versed in the practicalities of working with people with disabilities. But I still hate the phrase “people with disabilities” and every other similar phrase I’ve ever seen. I don’t like the word inclusion, not that I don’t like the concept itself, but that I don’t like that the concept has to exist. Hence the title of this article as “Designing for Everyone”. What’s an average person? I read The Atlantic’s article on how we’ve ended […]

When is the Right Time to Change Your Mind?

Posted Posted in Articles, Methodology, Strategy, Transformation

When is the Right Time to Change Your Mind? You have many opportunities in life and business to change your mind. Each of us has many opportunities, but we don’t always take those opportunities. We may be conforming to social constraints and expectations or don’t want to risk appearing inconsistent by changing too often. Let’s look at a non-serious example and extract nuggets we can apply in a business context. 1) The Background I’m in a situation right now where I’m having to re-evaluate my aims. Fortunately it’s not a serious situation and there are a few parallels to my professional life. I play guitar and I own a few guitar amplifiers. Each guitar and amp has its own tonal identity and quirks. I pick the right tools for the job; playing in a 60s Motown/soul band requires different guitars and […]