Not every one is great at listening! What did I just say? Listening? Yes and now that I have your attention, let me make a confession: Listening to others has been one of the hardest lessons of my life! I have heard it said we were given two ears but only one mouth. After considering the moral to that short saying, I think I must have been born with two mouths and no ears? Perhaps you relate; sometimes we can get carried away with leading, with making a difference and easily lose sight of those we are trying to serve or reach!
Everyone thinks they know their audience. Unfortunately it’s just not true!
Design thinking (Human-Centered Design) represents a new approach to the product development process that squarely deals with this error. This system is behind today’s most successful products and services. Think of Amazon, your Starbucks rewards card or WhatsApp. Each of these platforms just work exactly how you as a user expect it to work. Now there is actually a lot of iteration behind those products which is often hidden from users. The point I am making is what drove successful progress for those platforms was a quality user experience that was built on feedback from users. These brands listen to their audience! This is the part where we can all grow!
A month ago Indigitous embarked on getting feedback from users around what our community is all about (our messaging) and where we add value to you personally. We put forward three options for consideration (based on initial user interviews) and let you the people share your thoughts. Here are the results from 152 respondents:
That’s basically a dead heat. Not a decisive majority by any means! After seeing how close your first choice responses were, we added in second choice answers to see if that would help clarify things. As you can see – there is a winner, but not by much!
What does that tell us?
First, we acknowledge that the three options were highly similar – maybe too similar – regarding the mission they described. It was just the wording that was nuanced. I suspect if we had put forward three dramatically different statements pointing Indigitous in three different directions, responses would have been more decisive.
Something that’s not initially obvious on first look is there is potentially more value in the comments users make than in survey data!
This is where you find what people really think, what they like, what they don’t like – but most importantly – the why behind those comments! You have to be able to listen to the why if you are going t understand your audience.
When I drilled into the over 200+ comments from 150+ respondents, I found some striking repetition and resonance around some key thoughts. I discovered how valuable Indigitous is to users who feel that “finding a way to use their talents for God” is where the value is for them. In the human-centered design process, the next step after user interviews and compiling results is to develop insights. Here is an example of an insight I stumbled over in a phone interview with a respondent last week. After talking with a guy called Wes I discovered that:
Most people are not walking around thinking about getting involved in missions (or how to shape the future of missions). So the appeal to “Create the future of missions” is slightly redundant to most.
They are more likely walking around wondering what they are doing with their lives, and how they can be used in a way that makes a difference.
One respondent quit his secular job to be involved in missional work with his data skills, not because he was thinking about missions but because he felt called to use his talents for God.
Having quit his job, he has now at a secondary level realized he has become a missionary (something he never considered possible for him personally). That followed from being faithful to what he was drawn to: Using his talents for God.
So bye bye to the catchy phrase I loved “Creating the future of missions together.” Reality takes us down to two.
Using God-given talents for good in the digital space or Using our talents for God in the digital space.
While many may find God and find value through doing good, which is important, I think at a level of simplicity – the call that resonates with our audience most clearly – is to: “use my talents for God.” We need a simple message that is broad enough to involve Specialists, Leaders and Generalists.
So that’s how things have resolved as we have listened to the Spirit and our audience.
The final result:
Using talents for God in the digital space
Indigitous is a global community engaging with ideas and each other to advance God’s Kingdom through innovation.
Thanks for being a part of whats going on here at Indigitous. We hope this blog helps you connect with the fruit of listening for Indigitous, but also we hope you become a better listener to the audiences your serve. Let us know your thoughts below.
We promised that we would randomly select five people who participate in the survey and send you an awesome Indigitous T-shirt. Well, here are the five winners. We will contact you soon to get your mailing addresses:
- Daniel Burnett
- Franklin Mayfield
- Tawnya Patterson
- Bruce Wallace
- Nick Gibson