How a Legacy Phone Book Company Reinvented Itself
An Australian directories company transitioned from makers of the first phone book to digital services and beyond
Revitalize and update the product development process.
Commuter app Skip, which lets customers "skip" the coffee shop line.
The legacy company that produced the first phone book in Australia more than 130 years ago—and the disruptive change it represented—became directories company Sensis. As Sensis made the transition from a print directory to a digital service in recent years, the company came to IDEO to foster a startup mindset.
Together, Sensis and IDEO identified four ways for Sensis to become more agile: Focus on the company’s core skills, revitalize the product development process, develop insights about Sensis’ global competitors, and strengthen connections to current and potential customers.
Not only do we see market success for this product, we see it as heralding a shift in the way we develop products.
Evan Ravensdale, General Manager for Yellow Digital
A customer preorders his coffee and pays through the app.
After prototyping more than 65 ideas, the team decided on an app, Skip, with which a customer connects remotely to her favorite café right from her phone, sends her order, and schedules a time to pick it up. Then she breezes past the line when she arrives at the café.
To understand how this app might work in the real world, the team fanned out across Melbourne, talked directly with café owners and their customers, gathering data, and watching behavior, then launched the live app just 10 weeks after developing the first prototype.
Team members from Sensis and IDEO share their experiences.