NEXT Introduction Lab
For more detailed information on how to onboard Sponsors, Teams and Champions, visit NEXT Labs!
In the screenshot, you can see a general overview of how a project in NEXT looks like.
Essentially, NEXT codifies the best practices of Design Thinking and Lean Methodology into an end-to-end process, which project teams can go through to create value propositions that are rooted in customer needs, are systematically creative by combining internal ideas with external inspiration, are prototyped and tested and have a thoughtful plan for their implementation.
Let's now dive deeper into some of the key features NEXT has to offer.
NEXT has broken down the life of a project/initiative into 5 steps to help it grow from an initial insight or challenge, into a fully vetted value proposition / business case.
It all starts with "Briefing", which is where you define the challenge that needs to be solved. It helps answering questions, such as "Why is it important to the client?", "Why is it important to the company?", "Who's responsible for solving it?".
Think about the Brief as a project proposal – "if I want to spend time on elaborating on a certain project or idea I might have, what do I have to show to get approval?"
Then you go into the Discover phase (or: Sensing). The idea behind the Discover phase is to define the problem you're trying to solve in more detail and outline for whom you're trying to solve it. The deliverables of this phase are a "Persona" and "Design Question".
When you're done with the Persona and the Design Question, you take it to the creative part of the process: "Ideate". This is where you will develop a solution for the problem you've identified, with in mind the specific persona you created. Here you start to see certain elements of linearity in the process.
After "Ideate", you Prototype and Test your solution, to make sure that your solution actually solves the problem you've identified for the Persona you selected. Doing so ensure we don't build solutions that don't solve any real problems.
Finally, the Scaling phase – which is where you land the Value Proposition you've created inside the organization. Here you'll answer questions, such as "How do we deliver our solution to our clients/end users?", "How do I bring the proposition to market?", "Which resources do I need to put into place?", or "How do I monetize it?".
The final outcome of the entire process is essentially a business case, which NEXT articulates in terms of a Canvas – which we'll dive into later on. Remember, the process is flexible, and based on the nature of your project/initiative, you might focus more on one phase than the other - you don't have to go through everything.
For every single phase of the process, NEXT provides you with key "Steps" to complete a Phase, which are visualized here as cards.
For example, the cards you see here are the steps you need to take to develop a Persona and create a validated Design Question, which is the main deliverable of the Discover-phase of the process.
To develop a Persona, you need to "Get a first impression", "Take a closer look at the users" and "Take a step back for context". NEXT will guide you through the best practice process of design, so you can explore the problem from a multi-dimensional perspective, step-by-step.
For every single one of the Steps (cards), NEXT gives you embedded content and learnings.
As you've just seen, the first Step to create your Persona is to "Get a first impression" – but what does that really mean? To help you get through the Steps in a better way, NEXT provides you with best practice "Tasks" that you can follow to intuitively accomplish each step in the process.
For instance, to "Get a first impression", you can perform User Interviews or a "Wild Safari" (basically, user observations in the field).
For every of these Task, NEXT has embedded learnings, videos, instructions, templates with example questions and other materials - you'll have all the tools used by the best designers at your fingertips!
NEXT helps you skill-up everyone within your organization on the best-practices of design methodologies as you go through your project, rather than teaching them to you in a classroom.
Step by step, you'll go through the design process to create your deliverables. As you can see here, the different elements I outlined before come together in a single screen.
You can see the process on the left-hand side of the screen and the Persona you've created by following these steps on the right-hand side of the screen.
NEXT helps you create a system of record: when you create something, your deliverables are all recorded in one place – easily traceable for everyone who needs it at any time.
For example, you might run a half-a-day workshop with a customer where you create a Persona – in NEXT you can capture all the data and organize it in a meaningful way.
In every phase, you create deliverables: Personas in the "Discover" phase, Solutions in the "Ideate" phase and later on, prototypes et cetera. In the end, NEXT automatically aggregates and auto-populates all your data into the ultimate deliverable of your project/initiative, which is a Canvas.
The Canvas is essentially the dashboard of the project. No need for filling it out, it automatically gets populated as you go through the process, executing the right steps and tasks and using the content and materials to do it in the right way.
The Canvas becomes the ultimate Business Case or Value Proposition that you produce – the only thing is: you don't actually do it, the system does it for you.
The fundamental promise of NEXT is, that if you follow the process step-by-step, you will create value propositions that are rooted in real customer needs, have well-identified market segments, are systematically creative, have been prototyped and tested and have an implementation plan that is realistic and thoughtful.
The Canvases and everything we've seen so far are at the Project-level in NEXT. This is what project-teams work on to create great Value Propositions and Business Cases.
On top of that, NEXT aggregates everything one level up and aligns your projects directly with the strategy of [your organization].
The strategy of [your organization] is essentially broken down into strategic Themes. For instance, service lines, market segments or divisions. It ensures projects don't just float freely in the organization, but someone is always responsible for them.
What you see here is an overview of Projects (notice the different cards) from a Theme perspective. This means you can, at any point in time, get a dashboard-view of where your projects are, whether they're on track, who is working on it and more.
If you are a Sponsor of a specific Theme, this helps you easily manage and drive innovation within your Theme - all the data you need is at your fingertips.
Besides automating the creation of a business case and providing you with a dashboard overview of your strategic Theme, you can also "cut across" Themes.
For example, if you want to see all initiatives or projects that are centered around "Sustainability" or "Digitization", regardless of the area of the business they're in (Theme), you can easily apply filters, labels or just free text search.
The system will pull the data out and present it to you in a meaningful way. This way, you'll always have the right information at hand, whenever and wherever you need it.
Finally, NEXT does NOT try to become a replacement for physical interactions - rather, the digital should augment physical interactions.
Therefore, NEXT doesn't just help you capture the data, automate the process and guide you through the design process with best-practice steps and tasks.
NEXT gives the data back to teams at critical points down the process, so they can have better conversations and decision-making meetings. For example, if you've created your Personas and you want to review them with your Team or even your Sponsor or other important stakeholders, NEXT allows you to export all your findings in a presentation-ready slide deck that you can use to present your findings back to the team.
No need to worry about where the data is or finding the time to put together a presentation – NEXT does it for you and you can spend your time on things that really matter!
Congratulations, you've successfully introduced NEXT!.
Let's now take the NEXT steps to onboard Sponsors, Teams or Champions!
Enjoy the ride!
PS: Still something unclear? NEXT Support is always there to help.