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CX Playbook: A standardised approach for practicing customer-centricity at adidas

Having a sharp focus on customer experience (CX) is known to be a good path to business success, no matter what approach you choose for your product development and innovation. And yet, undertaking a CX transformation project from within an organisation is often far from straightforward. Too often, teams struggle with little or no understanding of their customer needs or knowing how to effectively use customer insights to develop new, agile solutions.

Over the past few years, we have been supporting adidas to put the customer first in their agile transformation. To succeed, we knew we had to anchor and coordinate a multi-tier approach to CX that tackles change at a deeper level of the organisational culture, its processes, and structures. One of our responses to this challenge was the creation of the adidas CX Playbook: a standardised toolkit, designed to enable teams to uncover unknown and unmet customer needs and integrate those insights in the development of (new) services, roadmaps, and strategy.

Scaling a CX approach and practice outwards and upwards in the organisation.

Since our work with adidas began, a key challenge was to root a customer-centric mindset within the organisation. After prototyping and piloting CX improvements and activities across various teams, we realised that in order to embed a CX practice successfully, we had to start by translating what customer-centricity involves for a range of employees. For example, for product owners, business analysts or entire product development teams, we addressed questions like: How does CX provide value to individual employees and how could they align their agile work with customer insights on a daily basis?

Besides introducing a clear CX practice, we developed the necessary infrastructures that enable teams to create valuable customer experiences and improve the way they organise and prioritise their work in the long run. This resulted not only in defining an operating model and CX value metrics but a single-source toolbase that describes the way of doing CX in the organisation in a standardised and interconnected way: the CX Playbook.

Leveraging human-centred design to standardise design methods and tools for product and cross-functional teams.

Using a mix of hands-on coaching, service and organisational design, the CX Playbook outlines a multi-phase methodology for creating an ideal customer experience. We started with the CX framework – a high-level design process teams ought to consider when designing for their customers. We went on to prototype a set of supporting tools (including video instructions and templates) that teams could use throughout their agile development process – moving from collecting and generating consumer insights into creating value propositions and iterative prototyping based on consumer feedback.

As a handbook and guide to CX, it had to provide teams with a set of practical tools and templates to practice with. By aiming to ensure that this could be used by a wide variety of teams and individuals alike, we designed the playbook with agility and scalability in mind – including self-directed digital DIY instructions, introduction sessions and hands-on coaching support.

Empower employees to embark on their own CX journey.



The CX Playbook, as it is implemented today, consists of a landing page, CX introductions and background, a tool catalogue and individual tool pages brought to life by testimonials and case studies. It supports employees in sensing and seizing customer-focused opportunities and is easily accessible on the Adidas intranet. It also tailors to different audiences – from first time explorers, to regular users and CX natives that have the potential to upskill others.

Comprised, these tools articulate the activities that need to be undertaken to develop and execute against an ideal customer experience. However, there is no single way of using the CX Playbook: instead, it is designed to remain highly adaptable to different contexts and departments. At its core, it encourages staff to create better and context specific tools, as they define and embark on their own consumer-led transformative journeys.

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Anne van Lieren Lead Service Designer

I am a lead service designer and a researcher with a strong interest in human behaviour and user research. I work on the crossroads of service design, human behaviour and business to create meaningful customer experiences that deliver value to both the customer and business.

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