Unordinary Thinking No.1 – Austrian Airlines

At Lexden, we focus on developing solutions for clients’ customer strategy requirements.

To do this we apply our unordinary thinking approach, which allows us to reach new spaces and create compelling propositions and customer experiences.

Our clients like what we do, but given its importance to their world, we don’t often talk about it. So it’s great when we find examples from others which reflect what we do.

This blog is based on a couple of experiences I had from earlier this year…

…I am writing whilst on a short haul flight to London Heathrow from Vienna. Seats on short haul flights are typically uncomfortable. Leg room on short haul flights is typically restricted, unless you fly business class, which I’m not.

I am sitting in a seat which isn’t making my back ache or pushing my knees against the back of the seat in front, and I am travelling economy. So how has this been achieved?

Simple really, by the design folk at Austrian Airlines applying a little ‘unordinary’ thinking to the issue they want to solve.

  • The outcome they started with was more leg room
  • And then widening the criteria to ‘how to make customers more comfortable in their seats’ the areas of improvement increased.

And as well as the passenger improvements to the seating specification being delivered, it also would have proved more satisfying for the designers and the airline too.

The outcome of the enhancements are a 5cm slimmer more ergonomic seat and therefore 5cm more leg room.

If the brief had been a single minded focus on improving the leg room only, would the ergonomic seat have been the solution? Almost certainly not.

The focus would have been on reducing basket space or something similar. A redesigned chair would have been seen as out of scope. But by combining the issues, the adaption costs of the leg room improvement and the more comfortable seat can be offset against each other.

This is testament to the value of ensuring that customers are at the heart of any activity, ‘customers first, profits follow’ as I heard it put by a leader for a global giant in it’s field.

And Austrian Airlines, as it is in this case, has achieved this by widening the vista thinking from ‘leg room’ to ‘customer comfort’.

Interestingly it’s really about focussing attentions on the real issues and not getting side tracked by distractions. And being unwavering in that focus; the bigger picture approach.

Vista thinking enables this. It ensures value creation or value proposition development is strategically aligned. This then empowers all involved to focus with confidence at a tactical level.

Posted by Christopher Brooks

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the start and the heart of marketing strategy

We work with brands to attract and retain happy customers | We achieve this by helping them to understand what makes their customers tick, building memorable customer experience strategies and creating engaging customer value propositions.

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to our monthly ‘Putting Customers First’ newsletter. Or for a discussion on how we may be able to help you, contact or call us on T: +44 (0) 207 036 2968. M: +44 (0) 7968 316548. You can also follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Lexden is a marketing strategy agency which creates unordinary propositions to motivate customers and deliver commercial advantage for brands.

For more information on how we can help you, contact or call us on T: +44 (0) 207 0362968 M: +44  (0) 7968 316548. And you can follow us on Twitter @consultingchris.

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