Interview with Roboboogie Chief Operating Officer, Jed Fugle

Jed Fugle, Director of Strategy and Operations at Roboboogie

Have you ever wondered what it’s really like to be a strategist? We sat down with Roboboogie Chief Operating Officer, Jed Fugle, to give you an inside look into the world of data-driven strategy to see what makes him tick – spoiler alert, it’s data! Jed wears many hats in his role here at roboboogie, so let’s consider this interview Part 1: Getting Started With Data.

What data do you look at first when developing strategy for a new client?

I love that data is more intentionally finding its way into business decision making. In the past 5 years or so, the growing conversation around the importance of data-driven decision making has allowed new ways of collecting, analyzing and harnessing information to emerge, and the result has changed the way businesses are run. With that has come new frameworks, systems, processes, models, and of course, more trending buzzwords. But the concept of using data-points to make decisions isn’t a new idea. Every decision made is based off of some data-set, whether it based upon gut instinct (from previous experience with similar types of events) or in a more strategic manner (from pursuing counsel of others, down to collecting and analyzing quantitative data for statistical relevance). The point here is that it is easy to get overwhelmed by the trendiness and the expanse of approaches to using data in business decision making. What is important is to start somewhere and grow from there.

I grew up in a science household with two Biology professor parents, so I know my way around generating a hypothesis, setting up a testable experiment, and ensuring data is reliable. So for me, I tend toward the more quantitative side of things because it is where I am most comfortable. The advance in the tech sector to equip organizations with the capabilities to join the “Big Data” movement – to collect and record all data sets possible for future use without and experiment in mind – is really exciting. It has allowed for hypotheses to be made and tested within historical data sets, allowing for much more rapid observing, learning and application.

The most common first step within organizations toward this idea has been the use of a website analytics platform (like Google Analytics) to collect behavioral data in real time. Because this is becoming such a widely adopted step in the digital space, it is where I prefer starting with clients.

What do you think is the not-so-secret, secret to being effective with data?

Asking really good questions. The analytics gathered by platforms like Google Analytics are valuable at a high level to keep an eye on key metrics like number of visitors, lead generation, revenue totals, and general geo and demographic data. But the real value comes in the ability to historically evaluate hypotheses within data sets. You can then begin to start asking smart questions, to inform future smart decisions: When we added the new product line, how did that affect sales for complimentary products? Was that true for all demographics? Are shopper behavioral trends consistent to our other lines when they purchase this new product?

Don’t worry about asking too many questions, but also learn to adapt the questions you are asking to match the data you already have (And be sure to start collecting the right data! Check out more about the importance of investing in Google Analytics here.) It doesn’t hurt to dream about the ideal data you would like to have within a certain stage of process, because when you know what you would like to have, you can make organizational changes to be better equipped next time.

Asking good questions has other benefits, as well. In order to put together a strong hypothesis about a user’s behavior, you have to put yourself in their shoes. You have to envision the problem they are facing and the challenges along the way that may or may not be being solved well for them by the organization. Sometimes it can be difficult to get into this mindset, but like everything, practice helps. The end result: a data-driven, customer-centric mindset. From my experience, it is in this space that the best problem solving happens.

What opinion do you have about data-driven strategy that others may not agree with?

Don’t get paralyzed by the need for certain data. The pressure to get something right should never prevent you from starting. Use the resources you have and make the best decisions you can with the customer in mind. Failure is a great data point. Learn from your mistakes, and learn from the mistakes of others. Use data whenever you can, but don’t let it inhibit you from getting out there and trying to optimize what is in front of you.

Thanks for letting us pick your brain, Jed! Tune in next month for another interview with a roboboogie pro.

Envisioning Optimal Futures with AIGA’s Salvador Orara

On Thursday, July 26th, Camp Optimization returned, bringing digital marketers together from the Portland and Vancouver areas to discuss optimization challenges, best practices, and wins. This installment of Camp Optimization hosted Salvador Orara, Lead UX Strategist at Jaguar Land Rover and President of AIGA Portland. Salvador spends his days looking to the future, and visioning how to create optimal experiences for users in a world just around the corner. His presentation, “Caves, Clips & Cones” explains the importance of understanding users and their motivations to solution around their needs.

Meet Salvador

Sal graduated with a BFA from the University of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and went on to pursue an MFA in Media Design from the Media Design Practices Program at Art Center College of Design. He’s been a member of AIGA since 2005 and has recently had the opportunity to become President of the Portland chapter this year. For his day job, he is the lead UX Strategist at Jaguar Land Rover, creating experiences for the automotive and mobility domain. He is also an adjunct faculty at PNCA, teaching various courses centered around interaction design and user experience. Needless to say, he’s been designing optimal experiences for quite some time.

The Problem Statement

Sal spends his days at Jaguar Land Rover planning for the future of the automotive industry, which allows him to apply the same thinking to his new role as President of AIGA Portland. The problem at hand in his role as President is to define a strategy for social impact. This problem served as an example scenario throughout his presentation and as an exploration in establishing a framework for envisioning an optimal future of a design-centered non-profit organization.

To begin, Sal dove into some problems faced by the organization. AIGA is a professional organization for design, founded in 1914. Their mission is to advance design as a professional craft, strategic advantage, and vital cultural force. Today, it is a national organization with over 25,000 members across 72 chapters. The Portland chapter’s mission is to unite, educate, and advance the Portland Design Community. They are entirely run by volunteers, including the Board of Directors and the Executive Team.

Sal’s main goal as president of the Portland chapter is to drive memberships. Currently, membership is their lowest-performing revenue stream. The Portland chapter has experienced a decrease in memberships so far this year, and this trend is expected to continue if left unattended. AIGA wants to establish themselves as the go-to resource amongst the design community and is seeking out solutions to help them more effectively empathize with their community, and subsequently increase memberships.

Solving the Problem

Now for the fun part. What kind of methods and tactics can we use to envision optimal futures for AIGA Portland? Sal introduced several exercises to remove bias and place the user at the center of future considerations:

  • Empathy Mapping: A tool to build empathy and understanding of a core audience by looking at what this core audience feels, thinks, says, and does. Empathy mapping creates alignment among the team about who the audience is, and reflects the attitudes and behaviors of an audience related to an experience, service, or product. Empathy mapping also helps to protect a project from bias or unfounded assumptions.
  • Experience Mapping: Exercise that identifies the phases of an end-to-end experience. Experience mapping illustrates the general human perspective across those end-to-end phases and creates a baseline understanding of an experience that is product/service agnostic. This process also creates a system for capturing how each empathy map will be different across various stages.
  • Customer Journey Mapping: Creates a shared understanding of the customer journey, and details the customer’s perspective across all the phases of a specific scenario or goal. This exercise allows for capturing both pain points and opportunities.
  • Diegetic Prototyping: By building on the three methods above, one can move into envisioning how an offering would behave in a potential future scenario. While a prototype exists as a model or representation of a concept, a diegetic prototype exists as a functional piece of technology within a fictional world. Diegetic prototyping tells a fictional story intended to suspend disbelief about change, and articulate nuanced human behavior.
  • Future Cones: The future cone is the latest tool Sal has recently come across. Future cones map all potential realities along a spectrum, creating a framework for understanding ideas. Any point in the future cone can represent one of six classifications for optimal futures: preposterous, possible, plausible, projected, probable, or preferable.
methods of envisioning optimal futures

Call to Action

Ultimately, a user-centric approach is is at the center of envisioning optimal futures. By understanding who an audience is, how they experience a particular product/service, and how their journey with the brand plays out from beginning to end, marketers and strategists can more effectively plan for the future. Sal encouraged the audience at Camp Optimization to take advantage of the tools he discussed, and start putting the user at the center of enhancement considerations.

Thirsty for more Camp Optimization? Save the date for our next event on Thursday, October 11th, 2018. See you there!