EP039: On Product Design and Solving Wicked Problems with Adam Richardson

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Today’s guest is the multi-faceted and uniquely talented Adam Richardson. He is the author of the book Innovation X: Why a Company’s Toughest Problems Are Its Greatest Advantage, and is a contributing writer for the Harvard Business Review. Adam was formerly a design lead at Frog Design focusing on strategy and user research practices and today, he works as a product manager at Financial Engines. He shares his insights on how companies can continually bring innovation to the market, start solving ‘wicked’ problems and truly understand the customer experience.

Key Takeaways:

[1:14] There are common problems within certain business segments. If your company is able to solve the problems you have the advantage.

[5:44] Instead of attempting to solve problems with a purely internal, operations perspective, bring in an external, customer-oriented perspective for a balanced solution.

[11:48] A wicked problem is a type of problem that is very systemic in nature. You know there is a problem, but the fundamental challenge is trying to figure out what the problem actually is.

[12:26] To understand wicked problems you need to first start forming solutions. It's an iterative process where your understanding of the problem develops as you come up with initial solutions.

[15:35] Ethnographic research is working with a small number of customers in an intimate, emotional way.

[23:08] How can leaders adopt the challenge of the unknown to solve wicked problems?

[27:37] ‘Design Thinking’ is neither universal among designers nor exclusive to them.

[38:11] Leaders have to manage internal and external communications, and reinforce the company’s vision.

[40:54] Customer journey mapping is one of the most powerful tools a company can use.

[45:44] Relinquish some control in order to provide the customer a unique experience.

[50:06] Contact information for Adam Richardson

Mentioned in This Episode:

Adam Richardson

@richardsona on Twitter

Frog Design

Financial Engines

Jobs to Be Done

NPR One

Praxent

Praxent on Twitter

58 episodes available. A new episode about every 10 days averaging 40 mins duration .