It's All About the Journey ... Map

Tim Foley Photo
Chief Growth Officer

3 minutes

These guides help you get where you’re going. Here’s how to create one in just five simple steps.

Imagine visualizing your most broken business processes, breaking down silos and bringing your whole team together around an empathetic, collective mission to make improvements. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?

It’s easier than you think!

If you went to a conference related to business growth and innovation in the past year, it’s likely you heard about journey mapping.

As with any buzzword or trend, journey mapping can be shrouded in mystery. It is, in fact, remarkably simple and can be enormously transformational.

If we break it down, the definitions are as follows:

Journey-the act of traveling from one place to another

Mapping-the act or process of making a map

One of the core values we have at ThinkStack is human-centered design. As such we we practice an ongoing cycle of empathy > definition > ideation > prototyping > testing. 

Essentially what that means is we look at everything we do for ourselves and our clients from a user perspective. Then we use journey mapping in an interactive session to highlight the friction and inadequacies in a process, such as a remote employee connecting to a network.

The five simple steps of Journey Mapping are as follows:

  1. Identify a process that is critical to your business but experiences friction.
  2. Gather the stakeholders that touch the process.
  3. Lay out each step of the journey:
    • Activity
    • Experience
    • People
    • Tech
    • Risks
    • Opportunities
    • Ideas
  4. Plan improvements.
  5. Implement and innovate!

Our journey mapping sessions are vibrant, human-centered experiences full of “ah-ha” moments.

Invariably, people think a process is just a handful of stages because they only ever see it through their lens. As the process unfolds and they can visualize it, we start to hear things like:

  • “Oh my gosh you hate that too?!”
  • “Wow, I didn’t know how tough that was for you!”
  • “You don’t use that software we invested in either?! I work around it too!”
  • “I knew this was broken but I didn’t know it was this broken!”

Many journey maps are related to the front-end user experience and marketing. We’re different because we dig deep into the “back channel”—the technology supporting each step of the journey, highlighting inefficiencies and vulnerabilities.

Once the journey is laid out, all the stakeholders can take a step back to understand each other and come together to plan improvement projects that solve real problems.

Innovation is notoriously hard to measure. Journey mapping helps deliver “innovation by improvement”—positive, ongoing, achievable changes to a process. That’s when collective creativity can really start.

Often in a short period of time, that same process that has been frustrating your people and your customers and has been holding you back is suddenly more efficient and in a constant cycle of improvement.

Don’t just take it from us, here is what CUES member Bob Morgan, CSE, CCE, CEO of $656 million NorthCountry Federal Credit Union, Burlington, Vermont, had to say…

“We participated in an onsite innovation and journey mapping immersion workshop with Think|Stack with the intention of learning the principles in human-centered design. Innovation is a competency that arrives through a disciplined process and Think|Stack has provided NorthCountry with unique tools, skills and learning to enable us to create impactful experiences with our members using human-centered design.”

Tim Foley is chief growth officer for Think|Stack, Baltimore, a CUES strategic partner in Collide.

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