Tag Archives: Engagement

Five Crowd-Sourcing Lessons Learned from a Retail Business Moving its Shop Location

Manuka Wholefoods is a remarkable little shop owned by a family of New Zealanders living in Chichester (West Sussex) in the southern part of the United Kingdom.  Manuka Wholefoods retails a full array of organic products such as grocery, dairy products, fruit and veggies, skin and body care, nutritional supplements and organic wines.
 
For personal reasons, the Manuka Wholefoods business owners had to travel right before relocating their shop within Chichester.  Beyond the traditional emails sent to their customer database, the on-site working crew, led by highly capable and motivated Shop Manager Claire Burgess, decided to give customers a little map-flyer helping them to visualize the new location.
 
1. First, start the crowd-sourcing project within your own team
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Creating a readable map everybody could understand turned out to be a challenge. Claire could have printed out the typical Google map, had it photocopied and “voila, here you go customers, take it or leave it!  But insightful Claire Burgess wanted to go a step further. She decided that not only should customers understand and be able to read her map, but more importantly customers should be able to visualize the new shop location.  In order to create the best possible drawing, Claire first sought advice from her own team.  By doing so, she enthusiastically included them in the project while gaining their motivation and support.  
 
2. Crowd-source with own employees for personnel engagement and motivation
 
The three Manuka Wholefoods team members had different views and expectations on what the map should look like.  After briefly conferring with each other, they all decided to try out a Google version.  At that time, the Google map seemed the logical choice since the team could perfectly understand the directions from the old location to the new. 
 
3. Test your idea and ask for genuine feedback from your crowd
 
Claire Burgess went one step further.  She started showing the map to her customers, and asked them if they could visualize and understand where the shop was going?  Although 80% of Manuka Wholefoods’ customer base is from Chichester, most of the customers to whom the map was shown had genuine difficulties reading it and understanding where the shop was moving to.  Claire’s team realized that many of their customers did not know the street names or names of the city landmarks.  The team had to pause and accept the fact that the map they created and perceived as logical and easy to follow, came across to the majority of their customers as confusing.  The quintessential lesson they learned was the fact that they did not find out until they genuinely started to ask.
 
4. You miss the point if your business gets it, but your “crowd” or customers don’t
 
Manuka Wholefoods’ sales team started asking customers for suggestions.  It became clearer that a readable map would have to be made from scratch.  Unneeded street names were removed.  Thanks to the help of many customers, the map became a crowd-manufactured effort featuring four arrows originating from the former shop and ending at the new location.  The customers preferred a map overview with directions along the main roads rather than the most direct route along unfamiliar streets. Furthermore, customers then requested that it would help if pictures of known landmarks and shops could be added to the map to create a complete visual of the new location.
 
ManukaWholefoods is moving-medium 
5. Assume nothing and get your crowd’s attention
 
Although posters announcing the move were strategically placed, these seemed to be of little use unless pointed out to customers. In this day and age, we are all busy, preoccupied and in a rush.  We see but do not read; we hear but do not listen! That’s
why folks, with any message you want to communicate, you’ve got to get people’s attention.  We all are creatures of habit. We often overestimate the relevance of a message by genuinely assuming that people are interested. 
 
Once the map had been finalized, 750 copies were personally given out by Claire Burgess and her team.  Furthermore Manuka Wholefoods will have to distribute additional flyers to encourage its customers to create new shopping habits. How many customers will forget and realize that the location has changed when suddenly faced with the old empty shop?  Over the next three to six months, Manuka Wholefoods will have to remind, coach and reward customers for having adjusted to a major change:  shopping at its new location.
 
What is your crowd-sourcing experience as a business owner?  What are some of the lessons you’ve had the chance to learn? I am looking forward to your comments and suggestions:  Until next time, I wish you all a successful week. 

 

Five Ways Social Business Can Unleash Outrageous, Divergent and Innovative Power (1/4)

 
How do we get creative, divergent and provocative?  How do we forsake our day-to-day fire extinguishing duties (and we all have them), and force ourselves to get physically out of our office buildings, companies, towns, states or countries?  How about forsaking our limited human thinking and consider “bigger” things?  How about thinking out of our continent or our planet earth placed in the cul-de-sac of the Milky Way, one of the universe’s billions or trillions of galaxies?  I often ask myself:  Why does the speed of light travel only 300,000 km per hour?  Why not faster?
 
Stop and meditate on the fact that some studies suggest our universe could have more than 500 billion galaxies, each having 200-300 billion or trillion stars!  How does this equate to our narrow, limited, shallow view of our day-to-day responsibilities?  Don’t you think that the most powerful human computer ever manufactured, pales into insignificance compared to the creation of such a mind boggling space spectacle?  Astronomers in Australia say there are 10 times more stars in the visible universe than all the grains of sand on the world’s beaches and deserts!  Australian astronomers used some of the world’s most powerful instruments to suggest those figures, and reckon that the figures presented to the International Astronomical Union conference in Sydney, is the kind that really can be called astronomical: 70 sextillions, or seven followed by 22 zeroes!
 
Let’s redirect ourselves towards planet earth and make a final stop at the magnificent Sombrero Galaxy, part of the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies.  The Sombrero Galaxy, also known as M104, spans about 50,000 light years across and lies 28 million light years away.  M104 can be seen with a small telescope in the direction of the constellation Virgo.
 
Sombrero Galaxy
The Sombrero Galaxy in Infrared  Credit: R. Kennicutt (Steward Obs.et al.SSCJPLCaltechNASA
 
I hope by now we should all feel energized with an extra portion of motivation, wanting to get out of our building, forget our routines and consider new divergent and creative ways of thinking.
 
How could we do this? 
 
1. Leave your working premises and environment for an unknown destination or activity.
 
Inside-the-building thinking is the hallmark of establishments whose structures inhibit innovation.  Forget your office, your secretary, your assistants, your products and your services!  Ignore your self-centered approach and forget your day-to-day business responsibilities for 48 hours!  Get your creative juices flowing!  Go bungee jumping, if you wish, or scuba diving.  Go fishing but please turn off your smartphones, iPads, phablets or whatever electronic devices you carry with you all the time. Breathe, think, meditate and come to a full stop!
 

2. Bring along outspoken and extroverted co-workers who you mostly disagree with, or might not feel comfortable with.

Overcome your pride, put your ego away and get out of your comfort zone.  Ignore the uneasiness of being with square pegs and strive to make the first step as a leader to break the ice and reach out! Remember, you are the cultural flagship of your enterprise.

3. Do not put yourself under pressure by forcing yourself and your team to expect anything other than letting your thinking wander around and start the creative process.

Putting yourself and your group under the pressure of “delivering” will more than likely destroy any potential creativity you or your group might have!  Remember, creativity kicks in when least expected… walking around, resting, sipping on your favorite coffee specialty, or even day-dreaming.

4. Be humble, personal, vulnerable and real with your  people.

Wirearchy ought to replace antiquated hierarchy and thus establish horizontal points of connection instead of the old vertical leadership lines of authority, which is now completely outdated!  Invite your team to a morning of horse riding lessons and then surprise them with an afternoon of an inter-team polo match.  You will end up laughing your head off as likely most of them may not have ever been on a horse before!  A guaranteed story which will be talked about for days, weeks and years to come.

20121101_John.Husband_From.Hierarchy.2.Wirearchy

5. Promote employee trust by opening the doors to communication and disagreement.

Allow people to vent and complain! Allow trivia, irrelevant things, silly and out-of-reach ideas! The more divergent those are, the more your company will benefit from the event; maybe not right away, but eventually an open co-worker culture will gamify work without expensive gamification software acquisition!  Give employees “the right to bitch” as ING Direct CEO did in Canada!

What is your take on outrageous communication? Will you consider a new format for your next meeting or get together? Looking forward to your comments and suggestions.

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