TLF Gems Newsletter April 2024

Your monthly CX and insight newsletter from TLF Research

To truly design for their customers, a team must be steeped in the life context of the users they are supporting. In this way, we deliberately tune the teams’ intuition so it reflects the real life of their users.

Karen Holtzblatt & Hugh Beyer

People often misunderstand what customer insight is all about, which is why I love this quote from "Contextual Design".

It's not about replacing judgement or allowing customers to make decisions for us; it's about tuning our intuition so that our judgement is better informed and the decisions we make about customers are more likely to reflect their needs.

Insight isn't asking customers what they want, it's spending time with them to understand who they are and what they need.

Thanks for reading,


Here are 7 things we think are worth your time this month

Cosmic Eye

Inspired by classics like "Powers of Ten", this captivating video helps to put the different scales of the universe from billions of light years to picometers into a single context. Well worth 2:59 of your time!


I've been complaining a lot recently about how poor most organisations' data architecture is, meaning they struggle to connect data together and use it. Tools like this one, developed by the MoJ to link records together when there's no exact way of matching them up, might help. The code is open source, well documented, and definitely worth a look if linking records is a problem you want to solve. "Improvements to linked data have the potential to unlock important new insights..."

The Curricula

Quite an interesting use of AI for learning about a subject you want to know more about. Rather than directly teaching you, The Curricula will assemble a suggested curriculum of key concepts with links to reading and resources.

5 Words More Useful Than "Strategy"

There's a lot of confusion about what strategy really means, and a lot of "strategies" that are little more than platitudes. This LinkedIn carousel from Alex Smith provides 5 great prompts for thinking clearly about your strategy: Offer, Theory, Gamble, Secret, and Disagreement. "...because of the crumminess of this word [strategy], people don't get it."

A Human Library Toolkit

I've always been a fan of the Human Library concept, helping to address prejudices by encouraging people to understand the experiences of people they wouldn't normally meet. Here's a toolkit from the Universities of Huddersfield and Hull with advice on hosting your own. "The aim of a human library is to challenge stereotypes and to mitigate the effects of unconscious bias."

The Dirty Dozen

Surfers Against Sewage compile a list of the worst brands when it comes to contributing to plastic pollution. The "Dirty Dozen" contribute over 70% of the branded plastic pollution found in the UK, and it's high time we held them to account. If I was in charge of these brands I'd make doing something about this a priority before the reputational damage gets too bad. "Our research found that the majority of packaging pollution is still coming from just a handful of the world’s largest companies. With their massive resources and influence, they have real power to positively change consumer behaviour to stamp out this excessive and often unnecessary production and pollution of plastic."

What I'm Reading: The Laws of Simplicity

Is it mad to read something just because Tom Peters mentioned it? Well, that's why I'm reading this pleasingly short little book about Simplicity. It's focused on design, especially interface design, but essential reading for thinking about the customer experience. "Simplicity is a quality that not only evokes passionate loyalty for a product design, but also has become a key strategic tool for businesses to confront their own intrinsic complexities."