EX – the antibiotic to cure Infectious Organisational Paralysis in CX professionals

My “EX not UX” Emotional Experience method is generating quite a bit of interest these days and I am considering potential partners to help me bring it to more industries than banking and make it part of a bigger organisational culture
change suite as part of my “it’s all about the people and keeping it real” obsession. This means that I spent some more time reflecting on what I am aiming to achieve with it while preparing for the last two workshops of which an upcoming one with a large UK bank’s team of extraordinary designers.

The goal of the EX workshop is not to teach human centric design or empathy design but to attemptto make those who are involved in strategy, CX, digital or design prone to naturally, intrinsically create more empathic experiences. It aims to demonstrate the value of deeply and bravely recognising and analysing emotion and gearing their creative process towards enhancing the positive ones and minimising the negative ones.

How do I do this? I spend some time covering the theoretical basis of both the respective industry (in Financial Services it’s a solid2-3 hours of what’s new in FinTech, in Retail it’s a CX perspective, etc) and the basics of why creating delightful experiences is desirable, but then spend the remainder of the time honing attention, observation and empathy as skills through immersive experiences, open dialogue, exercises and roleplay. This is evidently a big ask for a room of 25 people over 2 days and I don’t aim to defrost all the Elsa’s and convert all the Grinch’s to enjoy Christmas, but people are surprisingly human and naturally empathic given half a chance.


Once they understand there is a clear business benefit in being open, caring and feeling and this is not somehow done at the expense of the company but in its best interest, they embrace it with revigorated gusto.

Two days is a long time to talk about feelings. It can get uncomfortable. In fact, the more real we get in personal examples or deeper understanding of someone else’s point of view, the more uncomfortable, but ultimately, what I aim to do with the EX workshop, is show people it’s worthwhile to stay in this state of discomfort if it allows you to understand each other and your consumer in ways you wouldn’t have done before.

I want the teams in the workshops to have an emotionally charged experience themselves so there are props and colours and exercises that often probe deeply into their attitudes and some would argue these are more like group therapy sessions than they are workshops for UX and Design professionals and in a sense that’s true. These teams are typically not where organisations are sick and need therapy, they are vibrant and knowledgeable but even these echelons of creativity are infected with acute corporatitis (also known as infectious organisational paralysis) where they’ve found themselves half courageous and half passionate and the other half has been muddled into stiff language, agile wireframes and rapid prototyping. The EX workshop is like an intensive course of antibiotics to create enthusiasm and reignite that passion.

Everyone should walk out of my EX Workshop a human factor expert with a degree in emotional ergonomics and they will then know how to design their own Wizard of Oz to translate this new confidence in their pre-existent skills into transformative user experience design. IDEO can teach them their Empathic Design method, I only aim to eradicate the corporate culture bacteria that doesn’t let them open their hearts and minds to deeply caring about their consumer’s feelings.

I want them out of there feeling as if they just finished a sauna session (only with more clothes!). Cleansed of the corporate BS and silly Business Prevention Department (JP Nicols TM) objections; relaxed; brave; rejuvenated; supremely passionate and ready to take on the organisation if it won’t let them design and innovate to fit their customers’ emotions.

If all know that if we design to create delight and happiness we’ll all be better off. I can only hope that one day my 5 year old son wouldn’t even know he’s banking or that it was a satisfying happy money invisible experience, as he has just sent 200 pounds to his “New Car Deposit” savings account by simply wishing he drove one like the Top Gear one he’s watching and approving the transfer with a dreamy nod.

You can read more about Emotional Banking here and EX not UX here

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