“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou
One of my best tools in my toolbox for driving digital transformation is what I call a Journey Map.
Journey Mapping isn’t new, but what can be novel is how you use it to change the game.
My primary use for Journey Maps was to help all the smart people swarm around customer experiences end-to-end.
Without a Journey Map, people would naturally focus on a small piece of the puzzle.
The problem is that without the ability to see the “big picture” or the cover of the puzzle box, we would end up with piece-meal, disjointed solutions.
Plus, without a shared view of the challenge, we couldn’t leverage all the smart people together.
In this article, I want to show you how to build better Journey Maps to drive better Digital Transformation.
Journey Maps are a powerful way to innovate to.
How the First “Journey Map” Was Born
The irony is that my very first Journey Map was a conversation.
Friends in the field told me they were sick of slides and just wanted structured conversation tools.
So when I was trying to disrupt the automotive industry, my first Journey Map was simply me walking through the buyer experience.
I would say something along the lines of, “When you’re buying a new car, you do research online, you talk to friends, you go for test-drives, etc.”
This helped everybody wrap their head around the consumer purchasing experience for buying a car.
One day in my office, a colleague asked me if I could whiteboard the Journey Map.
So I went to the whiteboard, I drew a wavy line, and then plotted a few dots on the map and called them “Digital Hotspots”.
The rest is almost history, because that wavy line caught fire and became iconic around Microsoft.
When I shipped the first Book of Dreams, the Microsoft Technology Centers showcased the Journey Maps.
A few days later, a field practitioner sent me a note that with one Journey Map, they were able to identify more than 100+ opportunities with the customer.
The “Bare Bones” Journey Map
The key for me when building Journey Maps is to use a whiteboard if possible.
Slides are OK, but what happens with slides is it’s too easy for people to pile on information, and it quickly gets too complicated to be useful.
Here is a pretty “Bare Bones” of my early attempt to plot out a customer buying a car.
What’s important in the exercise is that you don’t have to be right.
In fact, what you want to do is set the stage to become a “Learn-it-All”.
By putting something down on paper or on a whiteboard, you can invite others to help improve it.
And it’s actually easy to improve really fast, when you have the right people in the room, or remote.
Since I’ve always led remote teams at Microsoft, we built many of our best Journey Maps over virtual whiteboard sessions.
What makes it work is that you’re giving smart people a chance to collaborate around a visual tool.
Multiple Journey Maps for Different Scenarios
In an executive session, my role was to help the Chief Medical Officer reimagine the future of healthcare.
My plan was rather than give him fish, I wanted to teach him how to fish.
I brought to the table 3 Journey Maps to help visualize 3 different journeys:
- Emergency Care for a Patient
- Chronic Care for a Patient
- Clinician Productivity for Physicians
What surprised me was how quickly the Chief Medical Officer understood the power of Journey Maps.
He pointed to his business leaders and said this is our future.
I reminded him these are just examples, but what they can help you do is to get your business leaders to swarm on the end-to-end experience for patients, and to swarm on the end-to-end experience for physicians.
He had stars in his eyes as he was visualizing how his team will reimagine the experiences using Journey Maps.
Example #1 – “Patient Emergency Care”
This is a simple example of mapping out Patient Emergency Care with a Journey Map:
Example #2 – “Patient Chronic Care”
This is a simple example of mapping out Patient Chronic Care with a Journey Map:
Example #3 – “Physician Productivity Journey”
This is a simple example of mapping out Physician Productivity with a Journey Map:
Current State vs. Future State (Before vs. After)
This can be a pitfall when you are first building your Journey Maps. You might find yourself wanting to jump into the future and map out the Future State.
You also might find yourself mired in the Current State.
Well, here’s the reality.
To build deep empathy and to connect and relate to current stakeholders in the process, you need to map out the Current State.
By mapping out the Current State, you build empathy for the customer, and you can identify pains, needs, and desired outcomes along the way.
And, you need to map out the Future State, too.
But do it separately. It is actually a very good thing to first show the Current State of the Journey Map so everybody can identify and relate to the pain.
And then show the Future State of the Journey Map, separately, which shows what an ideal journey for the customer could be.
This will also help you explore the art of the possible.
If you try to mash up your Current State Journey Map with your Future State Journey Map, you might limit bias or limit yourself to the way things “have always been done”.
This is your chance to rif on the future and dream up new experiences for customers that leverage technology and create better outcomes and improve the experience end-to-end.
And slides are cheap. Mock up as many as you need to find the winner.
Multi-Perspective View (Human Desirability, Tech Feasibility, Economic Viability)
When you create your Journey Maps, one of the best things you can do is actually walk the journey and address 3 perspectives:
- Human Desirability
- Technical Feasibility
- Economic Viability
This helps you avoid the trap where somebody creates a journey that’s good for business, but bad for the user. It looks good on paper, but will never fly.
How long does a business last if it creates experiences that don’t have human desirability?
It’s also very easy to impose technology on users or on the business, without considering whether it addresses any user pains, needs, and desired outcomes, and whether it actually helps the business achieve outcomes.
This is your chance to take a multi-perspective view so that you can build better experiences for users and employees and to drive better digital transformation.
On “Customer” Journey Maps (It Works for Citizens, Patients, Students, etc.)
I originally called my framework “Customer Journey Maps”. Over time, I simply called it Journey Maps and Journey Mapping.
I realized that the “customer” could be clients, citizens, patients, students, etc.
I also had scenarios where I had to map out the journey of a widget, when I was walking through supply chains, and upstream/downstream value chains, and manufacturing processes.
Here is a simple example:
You Can Innovate Better with Journey Maps, Too
Imagine what happens when you start walking through Journey Maps and you suddenly realize there is a totally different experience you can create.
Think Amazon Go.
Somebody realized they didn’t like checkout lines. What if you could grab your stuff from the store and just go.
And that’s how big ideas are born and that’s how people change the world.
You can, too.
Just remember to use one of humanities greatest skills—the skill of imagination.
Scratch that itch and wow the world, or, at least, wow your world.
Use Journey Maps to Explore the Art of the Possible and Drive Digital Transformation with Skill
Use Journey Maps to be a better leader of Digital Transformation. You can use them to improve any scenario where there is a customer interaction.
You are only limited by your imagination.
The more you do, the better you will get.
One of the best questions you can ask when you walk a Journey Maps, is “Imagine if…?”, and use that to explore the art of the possible.
Call to Action
- Create your first Journey Map today. Verbally, or on a piece of paper, or on a whiteboard, map out journey you are familiar with. Maybe it’s your drive to work or a trip to the grocery store, or a hunt through the mall.
- Identity your pains, needs, and desired outcomes along that journey. Note that one of my best examples was how I reimagined grocery shopping by walking through the pains, needs, and desired outcomes of my own shopping experience.
- Learn key capabilities of emerging technology and play with possibilities using “Imagine If…” statements to apply your creativity to pains and needs to achieve desired outcomes.
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