Tag Archives: Patagonia

Happy Employees Make Happy Customers

Happy Employees Make Happy Customers

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Often, the best companies to do business with are the best companies to work for. When you look at the Google ratings for Round Room Holdings’ TCC and Wireless Zone, two Verizon Wireless retailers with approximately 1,200 retail stores throughout the U.S., you’ll find they are “hitting it out of the park” in both customer reviews and employee satisfaction. I had a chance to interview Chad Jensen, president of TCC and Wireless Zone since 2019, and he shed light on their incredible success, how they do it, and how any company can have similar results.

We can break down the company’s success into three areas: employees, customers, and community.

1. Employees: It all starts with the employees. Jensen’s company has a 90% employee satisfaction rating and 70% employee retention in a retail industry with annual employee turnover rates that are well over 100%. Why? Because Jensen made it abundantly clear that the company puts employees first. The best example of this came not even a year after he took over as president when he and the rest of the world faced the pandemic. His leadership style was immediately put to the test. He was adamant about taking care of the employees. First and foremost was safety, as well as a concern for mental health. And he was determined to keep people employed, saying, “Even if it meant we took a hit on our financials, we were okay with that.” He understood early on that the decisions they made would define how they came out of the pandemic. Employees knew the company had their backs. In exchange, they were confident, fulfilled, and engaged with their customers, ensuring they had an experience that would bring them back. Employee satisfaction is at 90%. As I’ve mentioned many times in my past articles, what’s happening inside an organization is felt by customers on the outside. Jensen’s strategy shows this concept can be tremendously successful.

2. Customers: A focus on the employee experience turns into a positive customer experience. The goal is to provide “the best customer service.” Being the best is a lofty goal. While it’s not a contest, the comment speaks to the commitment the retailer has to its customers. The numbers tell the story. The company’s Google score ranges from 4.7 to 4.9 out of five. Jensen beams with pride over the customer satisfaction numbers, as companies he admires, such as Disney and Chick-fil-A, don’t have numbers quite as high. Jensen said, “We checked, and Disneyland’s Google rating was a 4.5. We’re literally (making customers) happier than the ‘Happiest Place on Earth.’” While a high Google rating is validating, Jensen emphasizes it’s really about the experience that gets customers to come back.

3. Community: Jensen’s efforts to give back to the community create positive results on several levels. He explained, “The more we give back to our communities, the more presence we get, and the better employees we get.” Many companies have a purpose beyond profit. It’s typically a recognizable cause, such as sustainability, poverty, medical research, or other popular causes. Companies like Ace Hardware have raised more than $140 million for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Patagonia gives 1% of its sales to the preservation and restoration of the environment. TCC and Wireless Zone take a more grassroots approach and give back to the communities their stores serve. They sponsor community events, local pet shelters, food banks, school events, and more. They have given more than 1.3 million backpacks filled with school supplies to kids in their communities. While the corporate HQ is behind this “give back” program, it’s the employees who get the most joy out of being a part of it, once again creating a great employee experience.

By prioritizing the TCC and Wireless Zone employee experience, combined with efforts to create an amazing customer experience as well as support for the communities they serve, the result is a company with some of the lowest turnover in the retail industry, higher Google ratings than “The Happiest Place on Earth” and loyal customers who keep coming back. That’s what happens when you create a company that has what Jensen refers to as “a culture of good.”

Image Credits: Pixabay
This article originally appeared on Forbes.com

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Is Now the Time to Finally End Our Culture of Disposability?

Is Now the Time to Finally End Our Culture of Disposability?Quality used to mean something to companies.

A century ago, when people parted with their hard-earned money to buy something, they expected it to last one or more lifetimes.

Durability was a key design criteria.

But, as the stock market became more central to the American psyche and to executive compensation, the quality of available products and services began to decline in the name of profits above all else.


Ford Quality is job oneThere was a temporary consumer revolt decades ago that resulted in companies pretending that quality was more important than profits, but it didn’t last long. In the end, Americans accepted the decline in quality as outsourcing and globalization led to declining prices (and of course higher profits) and fewer goods carrying the “Made in the USA” label, quickly replaced by Japan, China, Mexico, Vietnam, Bangladesh and the rest.

An Inconvenient TruthAround the turn of the century we had the birth of the Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) movement followed a few years later by Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Perhaps people were beginning to wake up to the fact that our planet’s resources are not infinite and our culture of disposability was catching up to us.

But these movements failed to maintain their momentum and the tidal wave of stores stocking disposable goods continued unabated – dollar stores and party stores spread across the country like a virus. States like New York began shipping their garbage across borders as their landfills reached capacity. Unsold goods began being dumped on the African continent and elsewhere (think about all those t-shirts printed up for the team that didn’t end up winning the Super Bowl).

Is now the time for the winds to shift yet again in favor of quality and sustainability after decades of disposability?

Will more companies better embrace sustainability like Patagonia is attempting to do?

People have been complaining for years about the high cost to repair Apple products and the increasing difficulty of executing these repairs oneself. Recently Apple was FORCED by shareholder activists to allow people to repair their iPhones. Here is their press release that tries to put a positive spin on what they were pressured into doing.

This is the moment for shareholder activists and governments around the world to force companies to design for repairability, reuse and a true accounting of the costs of their products and services inflict upon the populace and the planet. The European Union and Mexico are working together towards this not just because the planet needs this, but because The Circular Economy Creates New Business Opportunities.

Meanwhile, Toyota recently announced that starting this year (2022) in Japan that they will retrofit late-model cars with new technology if the customer desires it. The company aims to let motorists benefit from new technology without having to buy a new car. The LoraxToyota calls this “uppgrading” and defines it as retrofitting safety and convenience functions, like blind spot monitoring, emergency braking assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and the addition of a hands-free tailgate or trunk lid. Remodeling will also be an option and will include replacing worn or damaged parts inside and out, such as the upholstery, the seat cushions, and the steering wheel.

Are these two companies voluntary and involuntary actions the beginning of a trend – finally?

Or will the culture of disposability continue unabated until our natural resources are exhausted?

Do we truly live in the land of the Lorax?

Image credits: Wikimedia Commons, OldHouseOnline

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Human-Centered Design and Sustainable Innovation

Creating a Better Future

Human-Centered Design and Sustainable Innovation

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

In an era where technological advancements are rapidly transforming industries, there is a growing need for sustainable innovation that not only benefits businesses but also society as a whole. At the heart of this endeavor is human-centered design (HCD), a powerful approach that prioritizes the needs and experiences of people. By harnessing HCD in the pursuit of sustainable innovation, we can create a better future that addresses societal challenges while ensuring long-term business success. This thought leadership article presents two compelling case studies that showcase the transformative potential of HCD in driving sustainable innovation.

Case Study 1: Tesla’s Electric Vehicles

Tesla, the renowned electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, has disrupted the automotive industry by placing human-centered design at the core of its sustainable innovation strategy. Understanding that consumers desire both ecologically friendly transportation and an exceptional driving experience, Tesla has successfully combined the demands of sustainability and user-centric design.

Through intensive research, Tesla identified the pain points that discouraged widespread EV adoption, such as limited range, slow charging times, and high costs. By empathizing with potential customers, Tesla designed its electric vehicles to address these concerns. They introduced long-range batteries, the Supercharger network that accelerates charging speed, and desirable aesthetic designs to capture consumers’ attention. By putting the needs and experiences of users first, Tesla has accelerated the transition towards sustainable transportation, inspiring other manufacturers to follow suit.

Case Study 2: Patagonia’s Worn Wear Initiative

Outdoor clothing company Patagonia is renowned not only for its high-quality products but also for its commitment to sustainable practices and human-centered design. Recognizing that a linear approach to product consumption harms the environment, Patagonia introduced its Worn Wear initiative in 2013. The program encourages customers to repair, reuse, and recycle their worn-out Patagonia gear, minimizing waste and extending the lifecycle of their products.

To make this initiative successful, Patagonia employed HCD principles to understand customer behaviors and the challenges they face when maintaining or disposing of worn-out clothing. They developed a mobile repair truck, organized events where skilled professionals would repair garments for free, and created an online platform where customers could trade or purchase used Patagonia items. By involving their customers in the process, Patagonia fostered a strong community focused on sustainable practices, driving both brand loyalty and environmental impact.

The Power of HCD in Sustainable Innovation:

These case studies demonstrate the transformative power of Human-Centered Design when applied to sustainable innovation. The success of both Tesla and Patagonia lies in their ability to recognize and understand the needs, desires, and challenges faced by their target audience. By utilizing this in-depth understanding, they were able to design products and initiatives that align sustainability with user experiences, creating lasting impact.

HCD facilitates a shift from traditional “top-down” approaches to a more inclusive and collaborative model, where the end-users are invited to co-create solutions. This approach ensures that the benefits of innovation are accessible and tailored to the intended beneficiaries, increasing the likelihood of adoption and success.


In today’s world, where society is grappling with environmental and societal challenges, Human-Centered Design emerges as a transformative methodology driving sustainable innovation. Through the examples of Tesla and Patagonia, we are reminded of the immense potential of HCD to create positive change. By placing the needs and experiences of people at the forefront of design and innovation processes, we can collectively build a better future that not only addresses societal and environmental challenges but also offers products and services that improve lives. Let us embrace the power of Human-Centered Design and work towards a brighter and more sustainable future.

Bottom line: Futurology is not fortune telling. Futurists use a scientific approach to create their deliverables, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to engage in futurology themselves.

Image credit: misterinnovation.com

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Innovation Trends to Watch Out for in the Coming Years

Innovation Trends to Watch Out for in the Coming Years

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

As the world becomes more connected and technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, innovation is becoming increasingly crucial for businesses to stay competitive. Companies that fail to embrace new trends and adapt their strategies accordingly risk falling behind and missing out on significant opportunities for growth and success.

In this article, we will explore two key innovation trends that are expected to shape the business landscape in the coming years. These trends, backed by real-world case studies, underscore the immense potential for transformative innovation and offer valuable insights for organizations seeking to stay ahead of the curve.

Trend to watch #1 – Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in Customer Service

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have revolutionized various industries, and their impact on customer service is undeniable. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants are being adopted by businesses to enhance customer experience, streamline operations, and reduce costs.

One prominent case study comes from Amazon, which implemented AI to improve its customer service capabilities. By leveraging machine learning algorithms, Amazon’s AI-powered customer service chatbots are capable of understanding complex customer queries, providing accurate responses, and resolving issues promptly. This has significantly reduced the burden on human support agents while ensuring consistently efficient and personalized customer service.

Another successful application of AI in customer service is seen in the case of Bank of America. The bank launched an AI-powered virtual assistant called Erica. Erica uses natural language processing and predictive analytics to provide personalized financial advice and assist customers with their banking needs. Erica has transformed the customer experience, offering tailored insights and guidance based on individual preferences, driving customer engagement, and increasing customer satisfaction.

Trend to Watch #2 – Sustainable Innovation

As environmental concerns take center stage, sustainable innovation has emerged as a critical trend in recent years. Businesses across industries are increasingly focused on developing eco-friendly solutions and adopting sustainable practices to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a greener future.

One inspiring case study is Patagonia, an outdoor clothing and gear company known for its commitment to sustainability. Patagonia has developed innovative ways to reduce waste and promote recycling. Notably, they launched the ‘Worn Wear’ program, offering repairing services to extend the lifecycle of their products. This initiative not only reduces waste but also fosters customer loyalty by encouraging sustainable consumption habits.

Another example is Tesla, the renowned electric vehicle manufacturer. Tesla has revolutionized the automotive industry by developing high-performance electric vehicles that run on renewable energy. By successfully merging technological advancements with sustainability, Tesla has made significant progress in encouraging the widespread adoption of electric vehicles and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.


Staying up-to-date with innovation trends is vital for businesses to stay relevant and thrive in the fast-paced digital era. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are transforming customer service, while sustainability is becoming increasingly essential. Embracing these trends by leveraging case studies like Amazon, Bank of America, Patagonia, and Tesla can inspire organizations to make informed decisions and embrace innovation to drive growth and success in the coming years.

Bottom line: Futurology is not fortune telling. Futurists use a scientific approach to create their deliverables, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to engage in futurology themselves.

Image credit: Pexels

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Change Leadership and Building Resilience in Organizations

Change Leadership and Building Resilience in Organizations

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, organizations need strong leadership and resilience to thrive. Change is inevitable, and effective change management requires leaders who can guide their teams through transitions and build resilience within the organization. This article explores the concept of change leadership and its impact on building resilience, using two case studies to illustrate successful strategies.

Case Study 1 – IBM

IBM, a global technology giant, faced a significant challenge in the early 1990s when it realized that its traditional mainframe business was becoming obsolete. The company recognized the need to shift its focus towards emerging technologies such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence. To lead this transformation, IBM appointed Gerstner as its CEO in 1993.

Gerstner implemented a change leadership approach that involved creating a sense of urgency, establishing a clear vision, and involving employees at all levels. He recognized the importance of building resilience in the organization by aligning the company’s culture with its new strategic direction. Through transparency and open communication, Gerstner instilled trust in his employees and motivated them to embrace the changes.

IBM’s transformation was successful, and the company not only survived but thrived in the technology industry. This case study demonstrates the critical role of change leadership in driving organizational resilience during periods of significant change.

Case Study 2 – Patagonia

Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company known for its commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. In 2011, the company faced a supply chain crisis when environmental organizations exposed the use of harmful chemicals in its products. This revelation threatened Patagonia’s reputation and market position as an eco-friendly brand.

In response, the company’s founder and CEO, Yvon Chouinard, took a proactive approach to address the issue. Chouinard implemented a change leadership strategy that involved owning up to the problem, conducting thorough research on alternative materials and manufacturing methods, and engaging with stakeholders to rebuild trust.

The change leadership approach also emphasized building resilience by fostering a learning culture and empowering employees to adopt innovative practices. Patagonia introduced its “Worn Wear” program that encouraged customers to repair, reuse, and recycle their garments, aligning with its sustainability values.

Patagonia’s commitment to change and resilience paid off. With its transparent approach and focus on sustainability, the company regained customer trust and attracted new environmentally conscious consumers. The case study demonstrates how change leadership and resilience can not only mitigate a crisis but also be a driver for long-term success.


Change leadership is essential for building resilience in organizations. The case studies of IBM and Patagonia demonstrate that effective change leaders create a vision, engage employees, and foster a culture that embraces and adapts to change. By proactively addressing challenges and building resilience within their organizations, both companies achieved significant success.

Leadership that guides organizations through change and builds resilience enables businesses to adapt to evolving market conditions, seize new opportunities, and navigate crises. In an era of constant change, organizations that prioritize change leadership and resilience are more likely to remain competitive and thrive.

Image credit: Pixabay

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