from LA Times 5/12 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
Say “delight” in Silicon Valley, and most people will immediately think of Apple. I note that much of the valley’s current obsession with the word can be traced back to Steve Jobs embrace of it. But there’s another company in the valley that has also come to embody the word: Intuit. While the Mountain View maker of financial software such as TurboTax & QuickBooks hasn’t quite had Apple-like success (but then, who has?), its growth in recent years has been remarkable enough to give the “delight movement” a big credibility boost.
“Design for Delight” was adopted in 2007 by Intuit, as its product development philosophy. The process began under then-CEO Steve Bennett and accelerated under Brad Smith, who has been CEO of Intuit since January 2008. “A great first use experience is the front door to powering growth for a new or existing product,” CEO Smith recently wrote on a LinkedIn post. “Don’t let all the hard work that goes into creating a great product, be sabotaged by not putting in the time & effort of designing a ‘delightful’ gateway.”
Good Company. In some ways, it’s not surprising that Intuit would join Apple among the ranks of “Delight” pioneers. Intuit’s current board chair, William Campbell, was a longtime friend and confidante of Steve Jobs. Campbell worked at Apple in the early 1980s, later served as CEO of Intuit from 1994 to 1998 and has been a board member at Apple since 1997.
Delight is one of Core Values. Under CEO Smith, the company has worked relentlessly to embed the concept of “delight” deep into its culture. That effort has been spearheaded to a large degree by Karen Hanson, VP of Design Innovation at Intuit. “You’ve got to feel it,” Hanson said. “It can’t be in your head. It’s got to be in your heart. It’s got to be in your gut. And we want to put it in our products.”
Delivering the “Delight” message. Smith & Hanson began delivering this message through frequent conversations with employees at all levels of the company. Smith also dramatically expanded the size of the team of Innovation Catalysts working under Hanson who could swoop in and help teams throughout the company work the “delight” concept into their product development efforts. The tricky thing in teaching the concept – of course – is that delight is inherently subjective. It’s hard to measure and quantify. You just know it when you see it. Or feel it.
Three Guidelines to Delight are offered by VP Hanson: 1) The benefit of a product or service should be something a customer really cares about. 2) It should be simple. & 3) it should evoke a positive emotion.
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