Blog Carnival Annual Roundup 2011: Graham Hill at CustomerThink


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Graham works in innovation, service design, value co-creation and private equity with DesignThinkers, Optima Partners, Loyalty Factory, and Nyras Capital. Graham was formally the head of CRM at Toyota Financial Services and can be found at the Customer Insider Blog on the Customer Think website. I am honored this year to be part of John Hunter’s Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog Carnival and equally honored to introduce Graham to this audience. Graham Hill

For several years now, I have been developing concepts and practicing Lean Marketing in conjunction with Six Sigma, and the Theory of Constraints. Lean was always the guiding light but it was not till I started to get involved in Service-Dominant Logic, Service Design and Design Thinking that my thoughts crystallized. In fact, it strengthened and reinforced my Lean Thinking. Lean has developed as the architecture in software over disciplines such as Agile, Scrum and Kanban. Lean has similarly developed as my architecture for sales and marketing. Graham Hill did not start me down this path but he has certainly reinforced my thinking with his comments and articles he presents. I remember few doors that have been opened such a vast amount of knowledge and learned experiences than Graham did when he used 3 tweets to say:

Marketing in highly competitive markets is about exploring new propositions on the innovation fitness landscape. The environment determines where to start and complex marketing environments need EDCA. Complicated ones often start with PDCA ½.” EDCA = Explore, PDCA = Plan, SDCA = Standardize. Marketing Operations is all about moving along the EDCA>PDCA>SDCA pathway.

Another comment of Graham’s that reinforced my journey into Design Thinking and Service Design:

I was taught and used Toyota’s approach to lean, to improve all aspects of Toyota’s and its dealers’ customer-facing business. Toyota doesn’t see lean as a collection of tools (unlike many so-called lean experts), but rather as an organizational philosophy to engage the whole organization in creating more value together with customers. Toyota’s approach to lean is much closer to design thinking than you may think.

You can read the entire explanation on this blog post, Asking the right questions about Lean?

The real value that you derive from following Graham is his cutting edge thoughts and practices that he exhibits in his Customer Insider blog, such as:

Seven Simple Steps Towards Better Collaboration: In an earlier post on CustomerThink I described Ten Principles that Drive Effective Collaboration. And why just implementing collaboration technology would not improve collaboration. Worse, how it would make you into an ‘Expensive Old Organization’; with all the costs of the new technology, but none of the desired benefits. If simply implementing new technology isn’t the way to increase collaboration, what is? Fortunately getting started with collaboration is much easier than you might think. In fact, you are probably doing some of it already.

What’s Your Platform for Value Co-Creation?: A couple of years back I wrote a speculative blog post at CustomerThink entitled How Customer Co-Creation is the Future of Business. In many ways my prediction was right, Customer Co-Creation IS the future of business, but not exactly in the way I had imagined.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has been with us for over 20 years. It is built around using customer analytics to improve marketing, sales and service touchpoints. And it works very well. Or at least it does for companies. But it doesn’t offer much of any value to their customers. And as a result, its effectiveness has started to fall.

Customer Experience Management (CExM) was created about 10 years ago as an antidote to the blatant one-sidedness of CRM. It still uses the same customer analytics, but it applies the insights generated to improve all the…

Social CRM: What’s Right, What’s Wrong, What’s Next? Inside Scoop with Graham Hill: CustomerThink Founder/CEO Bob Thompson interviewed Graham Hill in a discussion about Social CRM.

P.S. In the world of Social Media, I can think of few people that have a more engaged following especially from an individual that uses it to serve his purpose (not meant in a selfish manner) in lieu of having a social media presence. You can tweet him @grahamhill.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


  1. We’re definitely seeing a lot of interest in Lean for sales and marketing, using Kanban for (among other things) pipeline visualization and management of post-sale order execution. We think it’s especially interesting when the sales team and other parts of a company all use Kanban.


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