Episode 115 of The Informed Life podcast features a conversation with Norwegian designer Are Halland. Are created the core model, a tool to balance user needs and business goals. He’s written a book on the subject, due later this year.

The model itself is a simple canvas for visualizing user needs and business goals on the same page. You can’t reach business goals if you’re not meeting user needs, and vice-versa. As Are put it,

if you solve the user task, then you are in a much better position to reach your business objectives. And that’s the link, because having a strategy that doesn’t solve user tasks, that isn’t customer-centric, that’s a bad strategy. And making a user experience that doesn’t relate to the business strategy, that’s also a doomed approach. So you have to combine this. And that’s kind of the beauty here is that this model makes these connections clear.

The challenge is that the connection between business and user goals can be vague and abstract. By making these ideas concrete, designers and stakeholders can collaborate more effectively.

Sometimes, alignment calls for reevaluating the project brief. Are mentioned an example from Norwegian telco Telenor: they set out to design a web page to explain their invoices, and the modeling process led them to see the invoice itself needed to be redesigned.

I’ve read a pre-print copy of Are’s book; it does a good job of explaining the model conceptually and practically. This conversation offers a good overview and primer.

The Informed Life episode 115: Are Halland on the Core Model