In my previous blogs, I covered the Performance Zone, Productivity Zone, and Incubation Zone within Geoffrey Moore’s framework. In this blog post, I am covering the Transformation Zone and how it impacts the UX strategy within that zone.
The Transformation Zone is empty most years and only active during time of disruption. According to Moore, there is typically 1 transformation every decade. However, since technology enhancements are moving faster and faster, I believe the Transformation Zone will be populated more often than that. An important point is to never have two transformations at the same time, and when it is active, the entire company needs to rally around it.
When active in a company with a strategy to grow, the CEO’s job is to take one (and only one) initiative from the Incubation Zone and grow it to generate at least 10% of the company’s revenue and become a part of the Performance Zone. The time horizon for this is 2-3 years, and during this time there needs to be a significant reallocation of resources, which in turn impacts all the other zones.
The Performance Zone needs to give up resources to support this new initiative at the same time as they ideally find ways to support and integrate the new technology into their initiatives. The Productivity Zone will need to make sure that there are programs to support this transformation and help move the transformation from their “start-up” culture into the core business culture. The Incubation Zone needs to be significantly reduced since resources are needed for the transformation, and there will not be another transformation for several years. This means that most other initiatives need to be spun out or integrated into the other initiatives.
If a company, on the other hand, is in defensive mode (a competitor is disrupting them by use of the transformation zone), the goal is to neutralize this threat as soon as possible. Basically, try to find ways to take the best features and include them in your offering (reverse engineer, partner with other companies, etc.). During the catch-up time, it might be necessary to cut down prices as well.
Because of the Transformation Zone’s infrequent activity and limit of only one initiative at a time, only a small portion of UX professionals work in this zone. However, the activation of the Transformation Zone will have a major impact on UX professionals throughout the company.
If you are working on the initiative that is going through the Transformation Zone, i.e. your company tries to grow an initiative from the Incubation Zone into the Performance Zone, a lot of things will happen. Previously, you worked in a start-up mentality, and there is a significant chance you acquired a lot of UX debt. During this maturity phase, you’ll have to address all of that at the same time as resources are poured into the product/service – often resulting in greater complexity. You’ll also start collaborating with the UX team in the Performance Zone, which might have slightly different processes than you had when you were a “start-up”. At the end of the transformation, this start-up should be aligned with the methodologies of the Performance Zone or have enough influence that the established UX division change their processes to align with yours.
On the other hand, if you are working in a company that is being disrupted by other companies pushing a transformation, you’ll have to protect your market shares. This means that the UX division needs to quickly gain an understanding of the main benefit that the disruption is providing the customer so that the company can respond accordingly as soon as possible. Once the main benefit is understood, your company should aim to deliver the same benefit. This can be by partnerships, reverse engineer, etc., but independent of the approach, the UX division needs to make sure the new features are integrated in a good, usable way. One thing the UX division can do is to run competitive tests against the disruptors’ solution to gain insight of how to deliver the best user experience.
For large corporations, things can become very complex. For example, they might push one transformation within their company that will strengthen their products/services in one way, but at the same time a competitor might have another transformation in their company as well. So, at the same time as they are disrupting in one part of the market, someone else might be disrupting some other parts. Sometimes it will impact all the products/services they provide and at other times only some of them. Therefore, larger companies might need to both play offence (pushing their transformation) and concurrently play defense (coping with the disruption from the competitor).
It is important to understand the larger corporate strategy and ensure that the UX resources are aligned to support the overarching company strategy in the best way. This means that you should not have one UX strategy for the entire corporation, but instead have different UX strategies for each of the four zones (Performance Zone, Productivity Zone, Incubation Zone, and Transformation Zone.
© David Juhlin and www.davidjuhlin.com, 2017