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Unlock new opportunities by re-thinking your users
1 November 2021

Unlock new opportunities by re-thinking your users

Unveiling the Power of User Ecosystem Thinking in Design

In the realm of design, the conventional wisdom often touts the benefits of niching down. While this is valuable advice for honing in on your target audience, it can sometimes restrict the broader vision required to innovate truly impactful solutions. In my latest video, I delve into an alternative strategy that broadens this perspective: User Ecosystem Thinking. This approach not only enhances our understanding of direct users but also sheds light on a myriad of other stakeholders indirectly impacted by our design decisions.

User Ecosystem Thinking encourages us to consider the entire gamut of interactions and influences surrounding a product or service. For instance, take the everyday e-scooter zipping through city streets. It’s not just about the person who rents the scooter (the direct user), but also about the next person waiting to use it, the delivery person who might use it unofficially (surrogate user), and even those indirectly affected by its presence, like city planners and non-users who navigate around parked scooters.

In the video, I introduce a compelling tool I recently discovered: “Rethinking Users – The Design Guide to User Ecosystem Thinking.” This guide offers a refreshing perspective complete with practical tools, such as archetype cards and actionable exercises, which help designers and entrepreneurs visualize and capitalize on the extensive user ecosystems.

Using the example of e-scooters, I demonstrate how various users—direct, indirect, surrogate, dependent, and even generative—interact with the service. The guide’s framework helps us see these connections vividly, with archetype cards that prompt deeper thinking about each user’s experience and influence. This method goes beyond mere user profiles by integrating real-world dynamics and potential conflicts, such as the concerns of a parent or the regulations imposed by local governments.

Moreover, the video explores how this ecosystem approach can lead to more inclusive, innovative, and sustainable business practices. By understanding the complex web of interactions, businesses can discover untapped opportunities, enhance user satisfaction, and potentially pivot their focus more effectively within their market.

This tool isn’t just theoretical; it’s a hands-on guide to expanding our design thinking. It prompts us to question not only who our users are but how they interact with each other and the environment. Such an approach can lead to groundbreaking innovations that might never emerge from a narrower focus on individual user categories.

Whether you are a seasoned designer, a budding entrepreneur, or simply someone intrigued by the potential of human-centered design, I invite you to watch the video and dive into the world of User Ecosystem Thinking. Explore how this perspective might transform your approach to design challenges, making them not just solvable but exciting opportunities to innovate and impact.

For those interested in discussing this further or sharing their experiences with user ecosystems, I welcome your insights and stories in the comments below. Let’s expand our collective understanding and explore new dimensions in design together. Thank you for watching, and I look forward to your engagement in this fascinating discussion!

User Ecosystem Thinking: Unlocking New Opportunities By Rethinking Your Users

The nature of the relationship that we have with our customers is far more complex than we realize. 

Have you heard of “user ecosystems”?

Unlock new strategic opportunities by considering the elaborate linked experiences users have with your product (or service) through user ecosystem thinking.

In this video, I introduce the concept of User Ecosystem thinking and co-experience and Rethinking Users, a toolkit that will help you “re-think” your users and the experiences you are designing for them.