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Don’t bring me the solution, bring me the problem

One thing you need to know about me is that I love going down rabbit holes.

You will often find me obsessing over a new thing every couple of weeks. And if you are part of my inner circle, you know when I have found something new, because I can’t stop talking about it.

The discovery of a new interest generally happens randomly, during a conversation, or reading something online. My process of learning about it is highly flammable. Just like a candle’s flame being fed oxygen, I let myself be both fed and consumed by that one subject, dedicating my heart and soul to find out everything there is to know about it on a high level.

But the real magic happens when I step away from it. When left alone to think, my brain makes connections using information already stored in my limbic system.

Last week’s trigger was a conversation with my boyfriend, where he mentioned how the Eames Studio used their ignorance as their biggest selling point to clients like Boeing, IBM, Polaroid and the army.

Suddenly, I wanted to learn more about their office, their projects, their design thinking framework and Charles & Ray as people. I spent the week immersed in art documentaries, blogs, articles, and anything else I could get my hands on.

And after a week of high consumption of knowledge, I finally reached Eames overdose and had an evening of mental rest. Yesterday I woke up with a very clear picture in my head, which you will see further down this article. But before, I must share some context with you.

I exercise a consultative position in the new industry of Customer Success for technology companies. Customer Success is a term coined only about 4 years ago. There are no formal qualifications so far and the Bible with best practices for Customer Success is a work in progress being developed bit by bit by industry leaders such as Intercom, Totango, Gainsight and This is Productivity.

My role is to lead the team that design and implement customer success solutions to tech organizations and ensure the client is happy with the solution proposed.

Some of the clients I work with have designed and implemented great methodologies in-house and come to me with the task to expand their efforts and improve their process. But the vast majority of our clients and prospects, are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.

The fear of not understanding drives them to want more control and to revert back to doing things “like they’ve always done it”, even if the old way didn’t yield the desirable results, with the excuse that we don’t know their business like they do.

Those clients come to me with half designed solutions to their problem, looking for me to implement small changes as a band-aid fix to the issues in hand. This is a counter-productive way to work as it doesn’t allow the client to benefit from both my ignorance and my knowledge.

“Design thinking” and research strategies, a legacy that the Eames Office left to all of us, gift wrapped as the “selling ignorance” philosophy.

Eames clients did not hire them for their expertise in a determined industry, quite the opposite, they hired them for their expertise in the process of discovery. The process of admitting that they knew little, and taking that “beginner’s mind” approach to finding smart design solutions is what created some of the best contemporary architecture, movies, furniture, toys, and exhibitions.

So, clients, please don’t bring me your solutions, bring me your problems, and your pain points.

Trust me and my team’s ability to use our design thinking framework and research strategy to present you with the best possible solution.

That might not feel comfortable at the start but will help your business skyrocket to a new level of customer success excellence.

Image belongs to Eames Office

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