Solving for customer journeys, not touchpoints in agriculture

© Jelmer de Haas


20. August 2018

Read time

5 min


Service design, Organization change, Customer experience,

No matter what industry we work with, one thing remains the same. The interconnectedness of customer journeys and ecosystems.

While clients and companies may think of touchpoints and individual products, customers think of the complete connected experience.

One of the most difficult ecosystems and customer journeys sits with smallholder farmers in the agriculture industry. The growing of food is connected with time, weather, and market demand. In agriculture solving one problem, if not managed properly, may lead to worse conditions.

During our time at the Thought for Food Summit and Academy, we looked at individual problems through different exercises. The aspect of interconnected problems came up consistently. While many companies are able to tackle problems individually, food products are perishable and time sensitive. Businesses cannot solve one area without understanding the complete journey. A few examples of interconnected problems are:

  • Solving crop yields doesn’t matter if you can’t get to market

  • Finding the right market doesn’t matter if you can’t transport your crops

  • Having the right soil won’t matter if you don’t have the right crops and weather

  • Having the right seeds doesn’t matter if your soil doesn’t have the right nutrients

[For smallholder farmers ]…There is a realization that you can increase yields, but if you can’t actually get them to the market you need to get them to, you’re not going to do any good. You’re going to increase food waste.

Steven Wall

Global Strategy Leader, Syngenta

Agriculture, similar to industries such as Healthcare or Education represents some of the largest opportunity areas designers can offer value. However, these areas are connected in ways that designers can no longer solve for individual touchpoints. They must look ate the complete ecosystem. Service Design, organization structure, and cross-organizational teams will play a strong role in all of these areas over time.

Companies should look at how to adjust their organizations to better deliver against a human-centered process. They should not assume that following Silicon Valley method of product development will work. When customer benefits align with organizational needs, the best outcomes occur.

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