FOR: Quicksand
CHALLENGE: To improve the Customer Experience (CX) for the franchise owner of two global QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) businesses, and catalyse internal innovation through design thinking

Since they bought the franchise rights to a global pizza brand in 1996, our client had been one of India's biggest QSR success stories. They have over 1000 active stores across India.

However, despite sustained store openings across India they had suffered large losses. Share prices were down by half within the year to June 2016, resulting in a significant devaluation of over $1 billion. This devaluation had been some organisational turmoil which resulted in a tendering process.

The brief requested pitches that would support the client to develop projects to:

Improve the customer experience (CX) 'between order placement and the receipt of Net Promoter Score (NPS),' across all delivery channels.

This resulted in a team proposal to the client from Quicksand, which used the lens of people centred design to frame the task of stimulating organisational innovation.

There were two opportunities in the brief.

1. To develop a number of projects to improve the CX across all delivery channels - digital (web and mobile), phone and in-store.

2. To make our design process visible and inclusive of all staff from across the organisation to catalyse an organisational embrace of design thinking.

We proposed to approach the core design challenge by including a cross-section of staff in the process of co-creating potential innovation projects. These potential projects would then be voted on and executed in a second phase.

This kind of is considered very rare in India, and therefore winning the contract reflected well on Quicksand's ability to explain the benefits of our process to a very traditional but willing organisation.

This was a large project for Quicksand, who are a mid-sized studio of <30 between two studios in New Delhi and Bangalore.

Across the whole project, we staffed three teams of three across the two studios with one studio partner in an oversight capacity.

As a senior associate, I was project lead and was responsible for all project management and UX Design inputs.
  • INTRODUCING SERVICE DESIGN // the challenge of innovating consistently across three distinct delivery channels.
  • KEEPING THE PROJECT MOVING QUICKLY // the challenge of maintaining a rapid and agile pace of project work to ensure the speed necessary to innovate in a traditiojal business evironment.
  • ENSURING THE HIGHEST QUALITY OUTPUTS // the challenge of ensuring that all projects incubated were robust and had the integrity to last.
Our usual lean and agile process was complicated by the requirement for so many staff to participate at every stage.

In practice, this meant conducting rapid scoping phases internally to fine-tune our own ideas, before we began the process of exploring the defined problem spaces together.

To ensure momentum, we relied heavily on a regular cadence of large scale workshops. We used these points of contact to test our early hypotheses and insights, as well using them to extract the strategic decisions necessary for progress.

After quick local immersions in Bangalore and New Delhi, we proposed a menu of possible projects and presented them to representatives across the business. Eventually, we determined three distinct projects roughly addressing the three key channels.

Each of these channel-wise projects would have their own team (Quicksand staff paired with relevant stakeholders) and distinct research activities that would inform a final phase of prototyping and execution.

Additionally, each of these were instructed to strike a balance between incorporating new technologies and ensuring user-centricity. This was a recognised tension from within the business.

After involving the client in a series of co-creation workshops - in which we created an interactive environment of our insights, opportunities and assets from our field immersions - Quicksand emerged with several viable and feasible innovation projects.

Because the client had been a part of the design process, as members of each Quicksand team, at this point we were able to move quickly through high and low fidelity prototyping because we had earned the trust of the organisation to make quick decisions.
At the time of writing, as a consequence of the project, the client had publicly committed funding of a new strategy to "cut costs, improve products offering, add more value-for-money products and make customer experience better by using technology."

Quicksand also built an internal "Innovation Quotient" for Domino's to use as a metric to gauge internal innovation levels, this is still in use today.
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