If you like hearing about how to break down experiences for the end-user, then this Business Smoke Break is for you. This Break is going to systematically create a map for how an experience can go, be it for a customer, employee, or donor. You just have to choose who you want to focus on and work with a specific persona. You can then repeat this process for others later.

Research has found companies that take the time to design out their experiences do better than similar companies that don’t. I have seen well-meaning organizations wing it and end up pissing off its customer and employee base due to poor interactions. And to this day it still haunts those businesses. When I worked with a global media company that consciously worked out ahead how they would be experienced, they found themselves so well received that desired audiences previously closed to them were opened.

So let’s get started!

Assemble your team

The more strategically diverse your team, the better. Ideally, it includes executives,employees and current customers. You want everyone involved there, even if they have to call in. Be sure your place to assemble has a nice large blank wall to work on. Keep in mind that some people may be a bit edgy if you do this too early in the morning and others may feel distracted by what they perceive as more pressing matters.

Gather supplies

Have someone be in charge of arranging each of the following: snacks, drinks, different colored sticky notes, markers, a laptop, setting up video chat, picking some tunes and providing herbals. Make sure the tech has all been checked out and coffee brewed ahead of time. The music choice should help build the anticipation, not the stress.


Someone should facilitate this by using an exercise to get participants to begin to relax and know one another. One suggestion by Tom and David Kelley of IDEO is to have everyone pick a silly name out of a hat, introduce themselves by the name and that is who they are for the whole session. Don’t forget anyone patching in during the live feed. Some folks may feel a bit uncomfortable or embarrassed, so be patient and keep the ball rolling. Don’t beat yourselves up if you haven’t done this before!  You’ll do fine. Look at all the kickass stuff you’ve already done in life.


Or vape. Perhaps a sativa-indica blend of mind-opening ish to get you all on the same wavelength. Something loose and fun without feeling too heavy. Don’t partake to the point where you can’t contribute. That may mean having to control the dosage by assigning the role of Bongmaster to someone. Please be mindful of those who do not partake and understand they may not be comfortable in your hotbox. Also keep in mind the other occupants of wherever you are working.

Set the stage

Go over the key points of this article. Explain the activity. Write out all the journey steps you previously determined from the last Smoke Break on a single color of sticky notes and put up on the wall with some space in between. Then using a different color, write out on different stickies “People”, “Interactions”, Touchpoints”, Emotions”, “Pain Points” and “Dreams”. Place these in a column to the left of your journey steps. Take masking tape and break them off into sections. If you have ten or more people, split them up and assign them to two different personas your team needs to target.


There’s a good chance not everyone on your team has done this before. Here’s an excellent article from Fast Company for any of your crew that are unfamiliar with how. Keep the target person in mind and write or draw out ideas on a third color sticky note. One thought per note. Don’t think too hard. Each participant should do this by themselves. So, for each step of the journey you will write down who you think the people involved are. Then, the interactions that will take place with them there. Follow it with how the people may feel. Next, consider what might cause problems, also known as Pain Points. Touchpoints are all the objects and places that are associated with the interactions you came up with. Finish it off with how you imagine the experience will be in two to five years. Write down whatever comes to mind. There are no wrong answers right now. Try to crank out three to five per section.


Once most of your team have finished writing, have them stick their notes or drawings in the appropriate areas on the grid. Don’t forget remote participants. Stack doubles on top of each other for the sake of space. Feel free to now add to each other’s ideas. Practice “Yes, and”. Try to heighten an idea that excites you rather than shut down one that you feel will not work. Don’t let a silly thing like reality get in the way. It helps to have a camera available to record the results for later. Now you have a map, and since it is made from sticky notes, it’s easy to edit and rearrange.


Everyone should put a mark on the three ideas that excite them most and that they feel are worth moving on. Be sure to ask yourselves if the ideas are core to the experience you are developing, if they enable it, or do they enhance it. That will help you know what to prioritize. You can also tap into the vast community of entrepreneurs, techies and scientists in the cannabis industry you have at your disposal and get their vote to help determine if you’re moving in the right direction.

Mapping is a process to help you figure out what experiences will be like so you can build better services and get an edge on the competition. The more times you do it the easier it gets. It also helps to consider what systems, policies and key performance indicators are also involved. But it’s irrelevant if you don’t do anything. Figure out what is immediately actionable with the least amount of investment and make it happen. Be sure to use #BusinessSmokeBreak to share your successes with the community. See you next time!

To read more articles by Robert Grossman of Grappling Hook, Click here

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