Innovation: How to Wear the 'Uber Hat'

Companies need to think like Uber about the jobs that consumers want to have done, and how to make the process as simple as possible.

It all began with reports of eroding books of business, price wars and marketing dollars not accounting for conversions of prospects into customers (or not in any visible manner, anyway). Then the CEO made that big "I’m back from a conference speech" and wanted to share. Suddenly, we’ve established a deadline to implement Net Promoter Score (NPS) at the enterprise level, and a whole playbook is being designed. Sound familiar? NPS can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customers. It measures who is promoting our brand versus who is likely to detract and therefore take their business elsewhere. We soon realize that the costs of exceeding customer expectations are high, while the payoffs are minimal. We know from experience that customers are much more likely to punish bad service than to reward good service. Having your problems resolved easily is a much better predictor for satisfaction than the exceeding of expectations. Improving the customer experience by making the customer journey easy is of greater significance to any brand. This philosophy requires different measurements, like the Customer Effort Score (CES), which is superior to Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) in predicting consumer behavior. See also: What Is the Right Innovation Process?   In the end, consumers to have a job done and will back brands that help them get the job done faster, better and cheaper. Achieving this for your consumers not only requires meeting current needs but anticipating future needs by inventing a future that is interesting and sexy and serves a purpose. This requires moving from data to analytics, customer segmentation to ease of doing business and ideas that sell to ideas that are bought. We have started shifting the paradigm, mental models and mindsets. The future is in its making, and the applications are only limited by our imagination. In the world of innovation, which lies at the fringes of most organizations or fills the gaps in between, we keep asking all the wrong questions. We all want frictionless technology solutions, but the focus can't be on which technologies are enabling us or who we’ve partnered with. The focus needs to be on why we are innovating and at what scale. Let’s consider the value proposition for transporting people from A to B. We must ask ourselves, what are the jobs to be done before that journey, during that journey and after that journey from the consumer’s point of view. I call this exercise wearing the "Uber Hat." The jobs to be done before the journey may include finding a driver nearby, knowing how long it’ll take for the driver to arrive and figuring out if the fare is coming out of personal or business expenses. Once on the journey, the jobs to be done may include picking up a friend or colleague, knowing how long the journey will take in real-time or sharing the ride. After the journey, the jobs are knowing how much it cost, receiving a receipt for payment (especially for expense claims on business trips) and recovery of items left behind in the car. Uber has thought about everything! It's even started services that assist people in emerging markets to hail a ride without the app or the need for credit card payments. Who would want to take a taxi when you’ve experienced Uber’s service and quality of care? See also: Is Insurance Having an Uber Moment?   When we are wearing the Uber Hat, we think and act like Uber. We are able to design solutions that are globally relevant, apply to any business or market and withstand the challenges in our way, no matter how big they may seem to others. Throw creative thinking and industry expertise into the mix, and you’ve got a winning formula for the application of human-centered design that has proven its success across borders. This is the difference between a market leader and a follower. I’m only here to present concepts. The choice is yours. If you don’t make that choice, ultimately the consumer will.

Shahzadi Jehangir

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Shahzadi Jehangir

Shahzadi Jehangir is an innovation leader and expert in building trust and value in the digital age, creating scalable new businesses generating millions of dollars in revenue each year, with more than $10 million last year alone.


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