Lessons from a Girl Scout: Three Technology Trends Affecting Planning for People and Places

If you know me, you may also know that my daughter, Eva, has been busy selling Girl Scout Cookies for the past several weeks.

Selling cookies to finance Girl Scout activities began more than 100 years ago when—as part of a service project—the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Okla., baked cookies and sold them in a high school cafeteria.

How things have changed. Girl Scouts used to rely solely on strategies like visiting neighbors, standing outside grocery stores, or asking mom or dad to take an order form to the office. Today, online orders, text messaging, and social media—in Eva’s case, a special Facebook page, “Eva’s Girl Scout Cookie Shop”—have transformed how we connect cookies with customers (just in time to derail any New Year’s resolutions they may have set).

Eva is working hard to meet her goal of selling 750 boxes of cookies this year (and she’s more than three-fourths of the way there… #prouddad). Her experience provides several takeaways that organizations can consider as they think about the services they provide—whether to customers, constituents, or employees—and the spaces they use.

1. From face-to-face to screen-to-screen | Eva’s Facebook page allowed her to conduct a large amount of communication and cookie sales online through video. Similarly, many industries are facing—or causing—both major and minor disruptions because of how much business we can take care of by simply using smart phone apps or websites.

Questions to chew on:

  • How does this level of access impact your business, as well the spaces within your facility?
  • How could you use the power of screens to engage stakeholders in the public involvement aspect of your projects?
  • How could you align processes to create seamless online and offline experiences?

2. A mobile (or even global) workforce | Eva’s Facebook page allowed her to extend her reach. She could sell her cookies and interact with customers regardless of her location, whether at our dining room table or even on her way to school. This helped her move beyond the limits of her neighborhood, the homes of family and friends, or her parents’ places of work. Similarly, many workers of today can do their jobs anywhere, and the nature of that work is also changing. The emphasis has shifted from how many hours you’re at your desk to how effective you are. And at CORE, we’re seeing many clients invest in technology so they can continue to engage with their customers and employees without the added time and expense of travel.

Questions to chew on:

  • How are your employees working, and how does that change how you plan and use your space?
  • What programs are changing or could change in the future, and how does that affect the need for facility flexibility?
  • How could your building’s layout accommodate today’s increased reliance on web conferencing and the need for both quiet spaces and audio-visual equipment?

3. Customer customization | Eva took the time to thank her customers publicly through videos shared on her Facebook page, yet she also offered FaceTime or direct phone calls to express her appreciation, depending on the customer’s preference. In addition, while the Girl Scouts have an online portal for ordering, customers can still request that their local Girl Scout deliver the cookies, maintaining that personalized experience. We’re seeing that shift in industries, as well, with companies and organizations working on their customers’ terms and meeting them where they are.

Questions to chew on:

  • How could technology allow you to customize the experience for your customers, constituents, and team members?
  • How could you combine the face-to-face with screen-to-screen to create memorable customer experiences?
  • How could you use technology to keep your stakeholders updated on the status of your project?

Even with Eva’s fantastic cookie-selling skills, she still gets help from Dad from time-to-time. When it comes to managing your facility project, optimizing your processes, or redeveloping your communities, you don’t have to go it alone, either. Contact me if you have questions about how CORE can help your organization achieve a successful transformation.

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