The Customer Knowledge Map


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This is not a Marketing Funnel

We are in love with our mapping processes from Value Stream Mapping, Process Mapping and Customer Journey Mapping. My problem with most mapping processes is that we are making a prediction about how our customer is going to act. After we make this prediction, we determine the reactionary steps that we take to satisfy this prediction. We are driving towards a decision, resolving issues and concerns. We are trying to solve the problem from the inside-out. We think we can control things and shape the outcome. I think by the time we are done we have invested so much in what we think a customer should do that well, we better make them do it!

I view knowledge mapping as a process of iterative steps that both sides are acquiring knowledge from each other. I have found The Knowledge Vee to be useful in transferring the knowledge-creation activities or thoughts to PDCA. Overlaying PDCA on the Knowledge Vee correlates to what must occur when viewing PDCA as a knowledge creating methodology (Blog Post: The Transfer of Knowledge in PDCA).

However knowledge is a continuous process where new knowledge contributes or modifies new concepts, forming new principles and theories. Or in a graphic way create the start of another Knowledge Vee or PDCA cycle. As a result, we have a “Parade of Vees” to illustrate this process. This is how we learn over time.

Parade of Knowledge Vees

What is remarkable about viewing The Knowledge Vee and PDCA is the resemblance it has to the WV Model of Continuous Improvement that I was introduced in the book Four Practical Revolutions in Management : Systems for Creating Unique Organizational Capabilityclip_image001 by Shoji Shiba and David Walden. This book is the most comprehensive book on continuous improvement that I have found. The WV Model introduces EDCA-PDCA –SDCA, an excerpt follows:

WV Model

Improvements are derived from the use of a scientific approach (and tools) and a structure for team or individual effort. A scientific approach considers a variety of possible solutions until the best—not just the most obvious—is identified factually. Structuring a team’s efforts facilitates the participation of all members, eliciting information from even the more reticent of them. Having made a first step at improvement using these methods, the methods can be repeated to get continuous improvements.

We will use the WV to explain the concepts relating to an improvement as a problem-solving process. The WV model is not a prescription for making specific improvements; it is too abstract for that. Rather, it is an aid to understanding and remembering generally used stages of quality improvement and quality maintenance. It also conveys the idea of moving systematically back and forth between abstract
thought and empirical data during the process of solving a problem. Like all models, it is an abstraction and idealization, useful for figuring out where you are and where you need to go next.

The WV model depicts the overall form of problem solving as alternation between thought (ruminating, planning, and analyzing) and experience (getting information from the real world, e.g., through interviews, experiments, or numerical measurements). The path between these two levels over time forms the shape of a W and then a V; hence, the name WV.

For instance, you sense a problem and then collect data on where it might be; choose a specific improvement activity and then collect data on exactly what is wrong; plan a solution and then collect data to be sure it works; and then standardize on the new solution.

The WV model reminds you not to skip directly from sensing problem to standardizing solution—for example, from “sales are down” to “reorganize the company.”

I am not trying to put the Knowledge Vee into the same framework as the WV Model but instead trying to show the similarities on how continuous improvement cycle relates to a knowledge building cycle. It is this method the Parade of Vees, the Parade of Improvement, the Parade of Knowledge Creation that suits the co-creation process in today’s business environment and in particular the sales and marketing process. It is not a sales funnel or a marketing funnel that are manipulative and steers the customer down a certain path. Instead, it is a learning process that both teacher and learner are willing participants to build upon each others efforts. .

Can a set of Vees replace a Funnel?

Can a set of Vees replace a Customer Journey Map?

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.


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