Elaine Ann | Defining UI, UX & CX for China, and the Importance of "Xperience Innovation"

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Topics Discussed and Key Points:

● Working in the APAC market

● The differences between UI, UX, and CX

● What is “product-market fit” and how do you know if you’ve achieved it?

● Why neglecting to build the right local team is one of the biggest mistakes a foreign company can make

● Tools that Kaizor uses to collect and interpret data for clients

● Defining the “fractional” C-suite executive

● Elaine speaks on her seven-step methodology to creating products and services that successfully cross cultural barriers between the East and the West

Episode Summary:

Today on The Negotiation, we speak with Elaine Ann, Founder and Fractional Chief Xperience Officer for Tech Startups at Kaizor Innovation, a consultancy that helps companies research, strategize and design new product/services innovation for the China market.

Elaine is the author of the book Xperience Innovation, in which she details a seven-step innovation methodology to guide foreign companies in creating products and services that translate well in the China market.

From 2006-2020, Elaine was the organizer for IxDA Hong Kong. Since January 2021, she has organized events for the Vancouver chapter. The nonprofit aims to advance the discipline of Interaction Design through a series of international events that bring together members of the IxD community. Today, IxDA has over 100,000 members and over 200 local groups around the world.

Elaine speaks on how she helps her clients home in on product-market fit, which includes a good amount of cross-cultural translation, whether the company in question is in the F&B or health & wellness space.

Without understanding differences in the market, a company will not be able to design, much less sell, a product that fits that market. Elaine explains how important this reality is, since even refrigerators and vacuum cleaners in China are designed differently to those in America.

Cars, which are primarily owned by the well-off in China, require different marketing as well. This goes especially for higher-end brands such as BMW, because owners of these cars usually hire drivers instead of driving themselves. “So, now, who is the end-user?” says Elaine. “Is it the person who buys the car or the person who drives the car?”

Key Quotes:

“Sometimes, our biggest challenge is that our clients don’t know what they don’t know. [...] Once they land in a different country and they experience the place for five-to-ten days, they notice all these nuances. But it’s harder than if they’ve never been to China.”

“In the U.S., everybody drives. In China, the people who own cars are relatively well-off. The people who own BMWs most likely hire drivers. So, now, who is the end-user? Is it the person who buys the car or the person who drives the car? And the person who drives the car may have grown up in a village and can’t even read that well. So, the whole context changes when you’re in such a different market.”

“China is very good at micro-innovations and refining something that already exists. But in terms of fundamental innovation, I still think that U.S. companies have an edge, and it has to do with education and culture.”

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