Hassle Maps and Theory of Constraints

In the midst of teaching my human centered design course last fall, I came across Adrian Slywotzkys latest book Demand: Creating What People Love Before They Know They Want it.  I was delighted to find his discussion of the use of Hassle Maps to drive demand. For years, I’ve used Eli Goldratts Theory of Constraints as a way to make sense of complex enterprise workflows.  However, this approach is overkill for making sense of consumer needs.  Hassle Maps fits the consumer user research task.

In getting ready to give a seminar lecture this week on Hassle Maps and the Theory of Constraints and how they affect demand, I came across the wisdom of Calvin and Hobbes:

In the book Demand, I liked the example of the user observation and human centered design explanations of what it takes to drive demand.  I decided to use the Zipcar example for the lecture:

The founders of Zipcar were committed to a new, green economic model for personal transportation that could eliminate the need for owning a car.  However, the company struggled for a number of years, until a new CEO came in and required a fresh look at what users really wanted.  As it turns out, while most users were philosophically aligned with Zipcar, their key desire was to walk less than five minutes to get to a car.  Zipcar experimented with this solution which worked and demand for their product took off far beyond their competition.

As I switched to describing Theory of Constraints, I realized I needed a bridge slide between the two topics.  So I borrowed another example from Slywotzky and a diagram of Theory of Constraints and put them together.  The “Ah Hah” moment came when I stared at the two maps side by side.  I suddenly realized that it isn’t a matter of “either/or” when it comes to Hassle Maps and Theory of Constraints, they complement each other.  In order to solve the hassle map for the consumer, the enterprise has to examine all of their value adding workflows and find the bottlenecks keeping them from fixing the hassle map of the consumer.  Hassle Maps and Theory of Constraints are mirror images of each other.

When I took a break from preparing this lecture, I read a transcript that my colleague Alan Wood sent along as part of our innovation and the university working group.  The transcript was titled “Don’t Lecture Me: Rethinking the Way College Students Learn” from American RadioWorks.  The thesis of the research professors is that lecturing is a very poor way to transfer learning to students.  Wonderful.  So now all my thoughts will be on how to change from a traditional lecture to using “peer instruction.”  Not.  The thoughts will be there, but I don’t have the time to do it right.  Oops.  That is the other main point of the article.

Once again I find myself on the horns of a dilemma.

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2 Responses to Hassle Maps and Theory of Constraints

  1. Joe McCarthy says:

    I, too, listened to the American RadioWorks show, and have wondered how to better facilitate peer instruction in the classes I “teach”.

    Three related sources of insight and inspiration have informed my perspective (though not – yet – my practice):

    Cathy Davidson wrote an unintentionally provocative post 2 years ago on How to Crowdsource Grading (the comments have very high signal-to-noise ratio.

    I recently finished Carl Rogers’ book, On Becoming a Person, in which he applied his three-pronged approach to therapeutic relationships – based on full authenticity, unconditional acceptance and deep empathic understanding – to all relationships, including the teacher-student relationship. There’s a nice summary of his views on student-centered learning in Freedom to Learn.

    After mentioning Rogers’ approach in my HCI class, a student pointed me to Moore’s method for teaching concepts in mathematics, which seems very similar to the techniques described in the American RadioWorks program.

    I think your observation about the time required to successfully implement peer instruction is spot on. All the examples I’m aware of have been instigated by educators with vast experience in teaching the subject matter (presumably, initially gained through more traditional styles of education). I aspire to incorporate these principles into my teaching style, but suspect it will be incremental.

  2. swaltersky says:

    Thanks Joe for your comments. I look forward to reading the great references you supplied. As part of our innovation within the university discussion group we are wondering if the techniques described in the American RadioWorks program can extend beyond the sciences to courses in the humanities, business and design.

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