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How listening to customers changed the digital roadmap

This is the story of how a product management and delivery team learned that listening to the customer changed their entire roadmap.

The context

Lagardère Travel Retail operates an international network of more than 5,000 points of sales in around one thousand airports, mainline and urban train stations. Lagardère Travel Retail generates over 5 billion revenue each year.

Their digital team is building the future digital product and services for travellers in international airports and the retailers. Their roadmap includes services like click and collect, new inventory management systems and new delivery options for those international travellers.

The business priorities are clear but the digital team seems to be forgetting the customer in the process. As a result the roadmap is filled with solutions that have questionable customer outcomes and unproven business benefits.

The management asked Forward to come help the team better understand what customers are looking for and see how the team can add real value to travellers. They needed help to uncover user needs.

What happened

Considering the issue, we took the teams into one of our specially tailored bootcamp for two days.

We had two objectives to achieve in this bootcamp:

  1. to show the team the techniques to gain insights for customers

  2. to expose them to customers, practise the techniques and gain valuable insights

The product teams came to our bootcamp with 4 ideas to be worked on. With the 15 participants we started emphasised the importance of testing and collecting evidence and unveiling the different interview techniques that are used.

Only a few hours later on the very first day of this bootcamp, the team were directly putting the techniques into practice. They went to interview real customers at the airport and confronted their perception directly to the customer to reality.

"Meeting passengers, and understanding their needs is something we never did before. The confrontation with the reality of the passenger was an eye-opener." says one participant.

Based on the value feedback they have gathered, the team went back to the drawing board to review their ideas, adapt them. With those new ideas, they tested them again with travellers and finally, could make the decision on how to move forward.

The outcome

As a result, purely based on customer feedback, the team decided to cancel 2 projects.

Those projects did not correspond to any customer need and after talking to customers the team did not see any value in those projects. This represents a huge saving in terms of effort and money not spent on those projects.

On the other hand, the other projects are moving forward after certain adjustments were made (we call those pivots).

Lagardère Travel Retail is now testing those. Pay close attention during your next trip at the airport as you can likely use one of those services.

Practising innovation always brings new tools, methods and changes to the ways of working. After this bootcamp the project teams questioned the way they operated day to day and included customer inputs in their decision process.

Participants developed a common language around this new approach, paving the way to transforming their product development approach globally.


To find out if a bootcamp is right for your team, contact us at


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