Just about every conversation we have on ThoughtWork Studios teams revolve around two questions: “How might we encourage and enable team collaboration?” and “How might we enable teams to focus on customer value?” We also filter all of our decisions through a clear and precise language about the activity a product supports. These questions and the precise language about the activity add up to the single most important question: Who do we want our customers to become?
Henry Ford didn’t just facilitate “mass production;” he enabled the human capital of “driving.” George Eastman didn’t just create cheap new cameras and films; he created photographers. Sam Walton’s Walmart successfully deployed scale, satellites and supply chain superiority that turned shoppers into higher volume, one-stop everyday low-pricing customers. Steve Jobs didn’t merely “reinvent” personal computing and mobile telephony; he reinvented how people physically touched, stroked, bumped and talked with their technologies. Google’s core technology breakthrough may appear to be “search;” but the company’s algorithms and business model is contingent upon creating hundreds of millions of smart “searchers” worldwide.—Michael Schrage
So, I am asking you this question: Who do you want your customers to become?