Category: Conference

Nokia PDC19 – Annual Professional Development Conference – Naperville, Oct 2019


Nokia CTC – Chicago Technology Center, Naperville Campus

Reviewed on Sunday, October 20, 2019.

Thank you note.

Special thanks to Nokia’s own Terri Edmudns and Rose Martin for all of the help that went into scheduling and setting up the Studio’s session on Design Thinking.

Our campus was packed with participants and PDC volunteers. I apologize about not being able to complete my thank you note here since I am missing quite a few other names at the time of writing this.


PDC19’s Design Thinking Session.

Diversity of Thought and Creative Tensions as Innovation Toolset” was the theme of our discussions at the Studio where HCD, Human Centered Design, and HFE, Human Factors Engineering, practices are center stage.



The job in hand.

Nokia’s Venture Studio leverages a meta-methodology combining practices such as Design Thinking and DTV, Design to Value to name some examples.

Our workstyle intentionally seeks “Diversity of Thought” and “Creative Tensions” so that we can better explore and craft genuine creative solutions. The more complex the problem in front of us, the more relevant our line of work becomes.

Our job entails applying a variety of optics, looking for both visible and hidden patterns as well as identifying outliers and anomalies. We expand our range of vision through Cartesian skepticism and unconstrained analysis. Basically, pressing the “reset button” and thinking twice in a matter of speaking.


(Design) thinking twice.

The workflow iterates thru adaptive DPCs, Design & Prototyping Cycles, and converges by pressing the “freeze button” to articulate a constrained synthesis with the information and insights available at that point of time.

A project flow is not necessarily linear. We can move forward, backward and sideways… re-focus, deep dive and zoom out as necessary. But, “paralysis by analysis” is not an option: we are always operating on design and prototyping mode.

Note that we can redefine problem areas and shape technological solutions in novel ways. Nothing is a given. Discovery can lead to transitioning from solving for “problem X” (e.g. known needs and usual suspects) to a new and game changing “opportunity Y” addressing otherwise unsuspected areas.



Concrete scenarios and real options.

On the critical path, the interim outcome is the generation of parameterized “A/…/N options” and decisioning models that guide and inform: value, priorities, benefits, risks and trade-offs, which feed the valuation model.

Diversity of Thought takes true diversity and interdisciplinary teamwork, coupled with “outside-in” and “inside-out” feedback-loop cycles, dismantling silos that otherwise impose arbitrary boundaries, paralysis by analysis or the latency and suboptimal effects of design by committee.


About Nokia PDC 2019.

Nokia PDC’s scope goes beyond formal training to cross-pollinate and facilitate serendipity. All of that involves know-how sharing, new connections and networking activities to better collaborate.

At the back end we experience growth at individual, team and organizational levels. Thanks again for the opportunity to be part of this conference this year.

Nokia Studio @ Service Design 2019 – Chicago, October 2019



“This year, we not only explore deeper clarity as to the definition of Service Design but take a step back and evaluate what differentiates Service Design, areas of priority, and aspects that remain continuous across all avenues of HCD, human-centered design.”


Full house at Service Design Week 2019

“While the focus will be the native principles of Service Design—backstage players, service strategy, blueprinting, co-creation, customer centricity—we also acknowledge a singular definition may not be appropriate as the market transforms.” 

“The more interesting pieces of Service Design include the narrative as organizations evolve in the experience economy, heavily reflected in our theme: Vision to Transformation.”

From first hearing about this “HCD thing” to garnering buy-in and quick wins, scaling, getting C-Suite support, redesigning services & infrastructure, and design transformation all the way to the goal of futures design.”



Reviewed on Sunday, October 20, 2019.

Desing & Innovation Advisory Board.

Thankful and proud to be part of the Design & Innovation Board, a think tank supporting the following conference series: Design Thinking, Digital Product by Design, Experience Design and Service Design, which have become premiere events for those passionate about know-how sharing, quality design and networking.



Early small success or lengthier big bang?

Service Design 2019 took place this week in Chicago. I facilitated a session on how to spot design intervention opportunities for the purpose of lining up early wins as proof points that demonstrate the value of good design.



See my faciliation deck above in the embeded SlideShare. Note that the visuals are not necessarily self-explanatory. They were crafted as the backdrop for our discussions.

In any case, I am happy to re-engage to further discuss. Please feel free to follow up on LinkedIn. We can schedule calls or just meet if we happen to be in the same area.

We explored how to scout and identify opportunities for early-small-wins, and how to purposely convert those into success stories: tactical building blocks that generate traction and momentum across organizations. That is also known as the “string of small pearls” strategy.

The end goal is to roll them up to build the case for Service Design. Each one alone might not be significant enough to suffice. But, in aggregate, they define a pattern that would amount to compelling evidence.

The chain reaction can activate a larger movement down the road. This is an agile and scalable path, which is different from confronting a “big bang” approach from the get go.

Scenario planning around how the “string of small pearls” and the “big bang” would play out (and which one applies) takes an understanding of market conditions, sought-after outcomes, resource levels, organizational behaviors and strategic thinking.



Let’s follow up.

Once again, thanks to those of you joining and actively participating in my session. I am also grateful for all of the positive and encouraging feedback that followed, which keeps one motivated to be further involved.

I would also take this chance to acknowledge the hallway discussions and this week’s messages over LinkedIn, which I will take the time to address as soon as possible.



Design and Innovation.

Marisa White, Principal Analyst for Design & Innovation, kicked off the conference by making us think about the degree to which “design” has become the new word for “innovation.”

That thought also leads to the difference between incremental and breakthrough innovations. The former delivers a performance improvement that is anchored by a known paradigm and benchmark, e.g. something just got significantly better.

The later entails a game-changing paradigm brought about by true new capabilities, e.g. “I-didn’t-know-I-could-do-that.” Good design can evoke either or both effects.


Raising beyond customer satisfaction.

In any case, as Vince Kadlubek, Meow Wolf CEO, put it in his thought provoking keynote, there is a need for exploring experiences that go from…

… (a) the expected “satisfaction” level that comes from dealing with “the familiar” and by operating whthin one’s comfort zone, core competency, or under what you would come to expect…

… to superior satisfaction surfacing as (b) the sort of “delight” that participatory empowerment, personalization, excitement, and going beyond the obvious deliver while invoking the unexpected.

Surprise-factors (or X-factors) and purposeful “wow-effects” happen to be part of the design mix in the appropriate size and context. Emotional Intelligence (affectivity value, behavioral response and engagement levels being some examples) becomes part of the basket of things making Human Centered Design different from other professional disciplines also involved in design matters.

This is not an endorsement of the capricious, smoke-&-mirrors, whimsical, vaporware, hype, bells and whistles, and/or pretentious shiny objects… but the realization that effective design integrates cognition and emotion to better serve, engage and delight.


Thanks.

Last but not least, there is a need for acknowledging the long road, good work and efforts of the Service Design 2019 team for what turned out to be an excellent conference. Thanks again to: Marisa White, Principal Analyst; Max Ribitzky, VP Partnerships; Aubrey Wells, Partnerships Director; Montana Byrd, Senior Event Coordinator; Michael Mechaly, Audience Development Manager; and Regina Vargas, Marketing Associate.

Nokia Studio @ Digital Product by Design – Los Angeles, July 29, 2019


“Hyper-focused on both the evolving digital landscape and the ‘design doing’ of creating excellent products & experiences, Digital Product by Design acknowledges that the creation of digital products extends far beyond UX & Engineering”

“In all cases, next generation product development requires a multifaceted approach to consistently deliver Excellent Digital Products”


Digital Product by Design 2019 - Panel DiscussionDigital Product be Design 2019 #DigiProd2019


I would first like to thank CMP and Marisa White, Principal Analyst, for the opportunity to participate in this year’s Digital Product by Design conference, which was held in Los Angeles just a couple of weeks ago.

My involvement started earlier in the year as an Advisory Board member for the Design & Innovation‘s think tank, which also covers Design Thinking, Experience Design and Service Design conference series. Additionally a lengthy personal interview was featured as a three-part blog in the months gearing up to the event:



I am also glad to share that my talk, “How To Apply Human Factors to Emerging Technologies” (below) was scheduled as the event’s first session. My presentation introduced a primer on QXbD, Quality Experiences by Design, which also positions the Studio’s model relevance in this line of work.



On subsequent days I joined the conference’s Design Leadership Panel (above photo) and hosted a roundtable discussion on “How to Scale Up and Down in Conjunction with Business Requirements“.

Digital Product by Design 2019 was attended by senior leaders across a wide variety of corporate functions and industries. That is a reflection of the fact that:

  • digitalization’s pervasiveness is leaving no sector untouched because digital experiences have already become the new normal rather than an experimental fringe
  • digital transformation initiatives remain at top the C-suite’s agenda, though challenges abound and success remains elusive for many… culture being the issue
  • compelling service experiences involve a mix of low and high tech, and even our most common daily products can now be connected and highly interactive
  • mobile connectivity, networks, cloud computing and software defined systems are coming together at ubiquitous speed and scale… 5G’s thrust enabling what’s next.

Digital Product by Design - Speakers sample .jpg

Digital Product by Design 2019 – Speaker line-up (sample)


Google’s Vivian Sarratt reminded us about the need for taking interdisciplinary collaboration and teamwork to new levels by aligning common goals, communicating and sharing what’s needed and co-designing to better innovate, which also has to do with relinquishing control in the outcome’s best interest. Vivian also covered Andy Grove’s OKR, Objectives and Key Results framework.

In the context of my roundtable addressing “How to Scale Up/Down in Conjunction with Business Requirements”, OKRs became instrumental for first defining the mission in terms of sought-after outcomes. Innovating also has to do with fluid game changing initiatives and acknowledging that a plan might not survive first contact was also relevant because ripple effects and moving targets are likely to arise… therefore: (a) foresight and early situational awareness, (b) agile fine-tuning and calibration, (c) the courage to say “no” to defuse mission creep or distractions, and (d) timely pivoting, all being key abilities to navigate unchartered territories.

Second: aligning stakeholders across functions under an interdisciplinary organizational culture rallying adequate resource levels.  Diversity of optics and thought leadership should generate the sort of creative tensions leading to innovative problem solving. Each individual should be empowered to make a difference, though it does take an interdisciplinary team to deliver… while staying away from groupthink’s counter productive bias.

Third: equipping worthwhile creative efforts to succeed, which does entail managing elastic resource levels (scaling up/down) and “controlled failure techniques” allowing for rapid experimentation early in the project’s journey… as well as “starting lean” and “remaining nimble” through the endeavor’s multiple twists and turns. The roller-coaster nature of creative work is not everyone’s cup of tea: it takes core values, earning organizational and user trust, work ethics and mental toughness.


Digital Product by Design Social Media


I would also like to take this chance to thank Y Media Labs‘ Ashish Toshniwal, Joe Johnston and Stephanie Wiseman, Discovery – Motortrend Studio‘s Argam Dehhartunian and American Specialty Health‘s Ali Hussain for the engaging discussions and insightful remarks.


Y Media Labs at Digital Product by Design.jpg

“Focus on the humans (customers and employees) at the epicenter of transformational change” – Joe Johnston, Y Media Labs.

Digial Product by Design - Discovery Motortrend LA Studio.jpg

Discovery’s Motortrend Studio in Los Angeles.


Digital Product by Design Hollywood Sign


Thanks again and looking forward to crossing paths in the near feature. Please feel free to reconnect on LinkedIn to stay in touch and continue any of our discussions… or get new interesting ones started : )