What are you aware of in the experience of your customers?  There’s a concept in Peter Sheahan’s Flip that’s really got potential…don’t think it’s 100% accurate…but with a little tweaking it could be very helpful.  It’s referred to as the Total Ownership Experience and he uses a diagram like this to describe the concept.  The basic idea?

  • Service describes the tip of the experience iceberg.  It’s how it "feels to buy your product or service."
  • Form is how it "feels to use your product or service."  It’s about "design, appearance and ergonomics."
  • Functionality is about how it "feels to own the product or service."
  • Story is about how it "feels for customers to say they own the product or service."

Personal caveat: I’m pretty sure it’s just that I’m not buying the use of the terms "form" and "function".  If you’re into the idea that "form follows function" you can see the dilemma here.  It should be that functionality describes how it feels to use the product or service.  Then I’d use a term that Sheahan uses later for the next layer, "aspirational inside", to describe how it feels to own the product or service.

I’m going to unpack the concept over the next few days, but think about it like an iceberg…not a pyramid.  Makes a lot of sense.  So much more going on in terms of the total ownership experience.  This is more than an interesting concept.  Like in Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow there is definitely something here that all of us could benefit from understanding.  It’s not simple or obvious, but with some thought I bet we can give our customers a better experience.

Total Ownership Experience