As I dug into the design of the digital platform, I realized there was no way I could design user profiles, menus, or a digital experience when the service itself was as undefined as it was. Any time I had designed a digital platform in the past, it was to accommodate a well-defined workflow. This was uncharted territory.
This also meant I needed to be the one to figure out how the service needed to function. I was responsible for designing the experience for our customers and employees not only with the digital platform, but with the service as a whole.
I worked closely with the operations, management, and sales teams to understand what gaps there were in the existing service. Any time we got confused, we headed into the field to observe how our clients and employees interacted with one another and the service we offered. I learned many of the gaps we had defined within the confines of our office didn't matter and weren't gaps at all. I also discovered that people are creative. I often found that people adapted our service or product so it would meet their needs. I began to call this "crowd source innovation." People are good at taking something that doesn't quite work for them as presented and making slight modifications so that it will.
Our customers had developed so many components of the service for themselves. They defined the mason contracting service. One customer had developed a method for transporting his own building materials in a way that reduced trips to the store and ultimately his own cost. Another customer had found a way to rework our materials to use less of them but still achieve a similar outcome. So many answers were there, waiting for me to gather them and determine how best to fit them into a formal service.