Category: Conference

Discussing Design in 2020


This post just features some of the events that I have participated in over year, which are listed in reverse chronological order. Please note that these are all virtual sessions and that there is a mix of public conferences and invitation-only.

I would like to express my gratitude to everyone involved and would also like to highlight that the unsung hard work and passion of those making things happen behind the scenes should not go unnoticed.

While the scale of 2020’s volatile conditions happens to deliver unprecedented challenges, we should not loose sight of the many excellent examples of resolve, entrepreneurship and goodwill across the board.

I am thankful for these opportunities. All participants’ willingness to share insights and wisdom not only makes a difference, but also furthers progress in everyone’s best interest. Admittedly, I also regret having declined some other invitations due to scheduling conflicts, and hope that there will be other opportunities to cross paths in the near future.


Nokia PDC 2020 is open to Nokia Employees at the Chicago Technology Center.

Open to Illinois Institute of Technology students.



Invitation Only Webinar.

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.