Saturday, June 27, 2015

Building Data Driven Products - Identify, Intervene, Track, Report

When designing data driven products that are designed to change the behavior of a target audience, there are four steps involved.

The first step is to identify the nature of the people you want to target for behavior change and find out who they are from a larger population. To do this you need two kinds of experts. The first kind is a domain expert. For example, if this is a product for the retail industry, you will need a retail industry expert. This expert will identify the nature of the people you want to target.

The second kind of experts you need are data scientists and product designers who can then design the necessary models to predict who will exhibit the kind of behavior we want to target. After all we are trying to prevent those people from engaging in such behavior or nudge them to engage in the behavior we want them to engage in.

You might be wondering why I added product designers to this mix. Cant the data scientists do all the work of data mining? That is an interesting question. Data driven products not only have to worry about analyzing existing data but also gather data to confirm the hypothesis. Some time the best way to confirm our assumptions is to simply ask someone who knows the facts. For example, we can ask a customer if they bought a certain product directly and get the answer. Such design requires the expertise of human computer interaction specialists.

The second step is to come up with a plan and design to intervene to encourage those people to change their behavior. These interventions are designed by domain experts and behavior change experts. The design of the intervention defines how to intervene. The plan of the intervention focuses on the execution of the intervention.

The third step is to design techniques to track behavior change. These are usually done by communication platform experts, product managers and software engineers. Design of tracking methods depends on the interventions. Tracking methods could also influence the design of the interventions.

The fourth step is to report on the behavior you tracked. The design of such reports is done by metrics designers, analytics product managers and user experience designers.

As you can imagine, building data driven products involves close collaboration and coordination between a variety of experts. The standards for designing a team that can execute well are still emerging in this area. However, when a team gets the design right by quick experimentation, the results are quantifiable and verifiable. Customers will pay good money for such products that save money, increase revenue or simple change people's behavior.

If this kind of work interests you and have expertise in one of the above areas, please contact me via LinkedIn. I would like to talk.

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