Now, let's think about knowledge management systems as if they were P&G consumer products. What would your intranet look like if Claudia Kotchka was in charge of its design? What about your blogs and wikis? Your document management system? Not sure? Well, here's the test: Would the lawyers in your law firm pay a 400% premium to use your KM system? If not, you should consider applying Claudia Kotchka's design principles as reported by Chas Martin at Innovativeye:
Good design is about problem solving, making things work better, and finding new opportunities. According to Tom Armitage, web developer at Headshift, "Design is not how it looks." A.G. Lafley, the CEO of P&G, understood this when he asked Claudia Kotchka to incorporate design into P&B's approach to business. In his words: "The goal is to transform the company from a place that's good at selling `more goop, better' into one whose products infuse delight into customers' lives."
1. Make it user centric through a deep understanding of user habits [and] need – physical and emotional.
2. Make it collaborative. Never work alone. There is no one right answer, so it’s not cheating to share information. A mix of skills are essential. (See Ten Faces of Innovation)
3. Challenge Mental Models. Ask different questions. The problem will look different, requiring a different type of solution.
4. Abductive. Start with prototype solution and test it. Learn backwards and logic the way to explain the result.
5. Experimental. Designers prototype with visual and tangible models. It’s easier to discuss something you can see. Prototyping starts the dialogue. It’s not the solutions, but [the] first of a continuous series [of] possible solutions. The second version can be radically different.
Are your customers as happy as P&G's? If not, make sure you incorporate the principles of good design at the planning stages of any KM implementation to ensure an end-product that works beautifully and delights your users.