We are gearing up for NOKIA HFE, our annual conference focusing on that it takes to create technologies that deliver unique value by optimizing for early user acceptance and broader adoption.
Human Centered Design (HCD) is the practice addressing the users journeys and technology lifecycles. Human Factors Engineering’s (HFE’s) is the holistic and interdisciplinary science focusing on optimal technological solutions that #MakeTechHuman, which intersects psychological, physiological and sociological factors.
BEING DIGITAL is this year’s theme. As shared in the above brochure, Bell Labs’ Claude Shannon, the father of information theory, first addressed the meaning of “bit” in his landmark paper published in 1948. Just a year earlier, John Karlin, a fellow Bell Labs pioneer, set up the first Human Factors Engineering department in industry. Their combined effort set the stage for today’s digital experiences.
More than seven decades later we get together to explore what “being digital” is now about. This year’s discussion takes place in the context of game changing and pervasive “Digital Transformation” initiatives across industry and public sectors.
Chirryl-Lee Ryan is Idean’s Head of Studio in New York, and this year’s keynote speaker.
Chi is an transdisciplinary design practitioner, writer, speaker, coach, and leader, specializing in experience design. Chi believes that design can help everyone live better, happier lives, and to do so, she merges different design disciplines to produce radical outcomes for humans – and humanity.
As Head of Studio at Idean, a global experience design company, Chi evangelizes a mantra of endless curiosity, fearless execution, and purposeful impact, and as host of the This is HCD Podcast, she is creating a continuous conversation about the future of design. Chi’s goal is to arm as many people as possible with the skills, tools, and confidence they need to create the change they want to see in the world.
HOW TO PROTOTYPE A NEW DIGITAL BUSINESS
“Through the lens of his recent work in guiding leading global companies through digital transformation initiatives, IA Collaborative Founder and Chief Design Officer Dan Kraemer will discuss how to bring a Design Thinking approach to digital innovation – specifically, how to combine user experience, emerging technologies and profit models to prototype entirely new and sustainable digital businesses.”
As Founder and Chief Design Officer at global design and innovation consultancy IA Collaborative, Dan Kraemer is an internationally recognized brand, product, interactive and architectural experience designer who works with some of the world’s most successful companies and brands – including Johnson & Johnson, United Airlines, Samsung, GE, Nike, and Hyatt. Dan leads IA Collaborative’s multidisciplinary design team to identify unseen human needs, frame breakthrough opportunities and drive systemic solutions to commercialization.
His work has been recognized by the International Design Excellence (IDEA) Awards, GOOD DESIGN™ Awards, the Red Dot International Design Awards, the iF World Design Awards and the Design Intelligence Awards. Dan’s work has been featured by Wired, Fast Company, Forbes, the BBC, Branding Magazine and Innovation Magazine, and he is a frequent lecturer on the national and international stage.
THE SOFT & HARD NATURE OF ANYTHING DIGITAL
“Our quest to deliver productivity tools yielding operational excellence for DSPs, Digital Service Providers leads to the design of signature experiences by innovating in the process.”
“The Studio at Nokia Software’s Solutions Engineering is set to work with deceptively simple techniques and elegant sophistication… because neither oversimplification nor self-defeating complexity allow end-to-end systems to efficiently operate at digital speed and global scale.”
“This discussion intersects the soft and hard natures of dynamic systems by modeling Human Machine Systems (HMS) and the design of cybernetics. This practice focuses on critical success factors for the early acceptance and broader adoption of emerging technologies.”
“The work at the Studio embraces a renewed approach to QbD, Quality by Design, which is set to left-shift and unveil instrumental considerations at early design stages. The result is Nokia Studio’s QXbD, Quality Experiences by Design, optimizing for customer delight rather than table-stakes customer satisfaction.”
Jose de Francisco is a Senior Creative Director at Nokia Software Group. His 20+ year experience encompasses global award-winning projects that entail multi-disciplinary leadership responsibilities. Jose is a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff (DMTS) and has worked with Bell Labs on next generation platforms for mobile networks.
He is a Member of the Advisory Board at MIT’s Institute for Data Systems and Society (IDSS) and is the recipient of an MBA in International Marketing and Finance (MBA/IMF) from Chicago’s DePaul University as a Honeywell Europe Be Brilliant Scholar. Jose also holds a postgraduate degree in Human Factors Engineering from BarcelonaTech (UPC) and developed his passion for innovation at Massana Art &Design Center’s Industrial Design program. His thoughts and endeavours can be followed on innovarista.org.
DON’T BE DIGITAL
“The motivation to make our businesses more digital often cause us to miss the mark. Business transformation, and “being digital”, isn’t about technology, it’s about becoming more human.”
“In this presentation I’d like to share what I believe should be the driving forces for any company in this era of technology, data, and sometimes noise. Together let’s explore how we translate our humanity into the things we create.”
JC Grubbs is the CEO and founder of DevMynd, a strategy, design, and custom technology firm in Chicago and San Francisco. He has spent his career working to improve the way that technology is designed, built, and delivered. With a focus on human-centered and inclusive design, his company has worked to solve meaningful challenges for organizations like the Department of Defense, Motorola Solutions, Verizon, and AbbVie.
“Employee experience (EX) is recognized as a key competitive advantage and a prerequisite to deliver outstanding user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX). Companies that invest in EX outperform those that don’t in terms of financial and operational results.”
“Together with Human Resources (HR) colleagues, we have embarked on a journey to make HR our Chief Employee Experience Office. We are applying a Service Design approach, which is revealing human-centered perspectives as we look into our processes and tools from the employee & line manager point of view.”
“User interviews and workshops identified key pain points and game-changing ideas to take EX to new levels: aadequate digital channels and user interfaces are of the essence. The question that we are currently working on and will openly discuss in this session is: “how might we provide the most insightful & engaging digital experience to further personal & career development?”
As a Design Lead at Nokia, I am driving design-led transformation across the company by applying design approach to management and technology challenges. I believe that design is and will remain central for our future, infusing human focus, accelerating learning and fostering collaboration. I have 10+ years of experience in business and creative roles in Telecommunication, High Tech and management consulting, including 5+ years with McKinsey & Company Inc. My education background spans between Business, Mathematics, Philosophy, Fine Arts and Music.
“[They] lost their quality leadership to new, aggressive competition. The most obvious consequence was lost of market share (…) [due to] quality features that were perceived as better meeting customer needs [and] they did not fail in service as often.”
“Loss of market share is not the only reason behind [it] (…) a second major force has been the phenomenon of life behind the quality dikes. We have learned that living in a technological society puts us at the mercy of the continuing operation of the goods and services that make a society possible (…) without such quality we have failure of all sorts (…) at the least these failures involve annoyances and minor costs. At their worst they are terrifying.”
“A third major force has been the gathering awareness by companies that they have been enduring excessive costs due to chronic quality-related wastes (…) about a third of what we do consists of redoing work previously done (…) lacking expertise in the quality disciplines, they are amateurs in the best sense of that word.”
J.M. Juran’s assessment on Quality issues in the 1960s-70s.
What follows are some of the insights driving the work that I’m doing on reviewing, leveraging and updating QbD (Quality by Design) in the context of today’s fast growing and all-encompassing digitalization.
I am dusting off my research from 2010 on the 3Q Model. Back then I was a senior manager at Alcatel-Lucent’s Solutions & Technology Introduction Department. My current role is Senior Studio Director at Nokia Software’s Solutions Engineering. Note that the scope is End-to-End Solutions. These are holistic system-wide (cross-sectional and longitudinal) undertakings intersecting different domains to deliver the higher value of the whole. I have discussed QbD for Digital Transformation projects at the Design Thinking 2018 event and at the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) conference on CQR (Communications Quality and Reliability) back in April and May of this year. Interestingly enough, both events were held in Austin, Texas.
QbD was first coined by Juran, a renown pioneer of quality practices, whose work on that specific topic started in the mid 80s. He linked Quality to customer satisfaction and reliability as the two dimensions to focus on:
“Features” were defined as “quality characteristics,” which meant properties intended to satisfy specific customer needs. That would also include “promptness of delivery,” “ease of maintenance,” and “courtesy of service” to name some examples. “The better the features, the higher the quality in the eyes of customers.”
As far as reliability and, therefore, replicability and consistent performance, “freedom from deficiencies” conveyed the fact that “the fewer the deficiencies the better the quality in the eyes of customers.” A “deficiency” is a failure that triggers dissatisfaction, which calls for incurring higher costs to redo prior work.
“Fitness for use” was mentioned as an attempt to capture the above two together. The so-called Juran Trilogy entails Quality Planning, Quality Control, and Quality Improvement.
More than three decades have passed since Juran started to work on “New Steps for Planning Quality into Goods and Services.” Let’s decompose QbD’s acronym at face value and distill its essence.
As a designer, my belief & practice system focuses on “serial innovation” consistently delivering superior value. This is achieved by means of purposeful and elegant solutions equipped with capability models and optimal functionality leading to Quality Experiences.
Customer Delight, rather than just satisfaction, being the sought after outcome. This applies to both small and large undertakings, and as A. Kay, a pioneer in graphical user interfaces, best put it, “simple things should be simple, complex should be possible.”
Following that train of thought, “Designing Quality into Solutions” should become center stage to: (a) collaborative and iterative ideation, (b) agile development, (c) continuous delivery and (d) the dynamic diffusion of (e) new and mass-customizable digital services for consumer and enterprise markets, as well as no-for-profit. Overall, QoB is key to Operational Excellence.
In a world where “Continuous Improvement” leads to incremental and breakthrough innovations, Quality’s critical KPI, Key Performance Indicator, can be expressed in terms of measurable advances in QoUX, the Quality of the Users’ Experiences. These are lagging (outcome) metrics that are far from static because they evolve within and over lifecycles. Therefore, reliability is not just applied to production operations, but also to the solution’s consistent performance and serviceability over time and under changing scenarios and events.
Given Quality’s unequivocal narrative around the “experiential” paradigm and, therefore, human-centric-optics, QbD’s best work should optimize for user “delight,” which is defined as superior “satisfaction,” rather than just aiming for requirements compliance.
It is very tempting to rally around core competencies within comfort zones that exist, and then settling on just aiming for “customer satisfaction” around “must-meet” baseline requirements. Though, that might not suffice given the necessity to innovate and better compete by leveraging unique sources of sustainable differentiation.
Let’s now state the obvious: “designing” Quality Experiences into digital solutions is best addressed by means of Human-Centered methodologies that optimize for (f) users’ “acceptance criteria” and (g) the kind of “adoption levels” that foster user base growth.
The opposite approach would risk the adverse effects (and hidden costs) that can be incurred when technical myopia leads the way. A. Cooper’s “The Inmates are Running the Asylum” captures that very well. His book is referenced below.
Just for the record, the year is 2018 and we are gearing for a pervasive digital world dominated by software defined systems. The 4th Industrial Revolution’s floodgates are set wide-open.
Low and high tech perform best when playing a supporting role. Technology enables “Services” which justify it, otherwise the so-called Chasm and Valley of Death wait around the corner. It pays to emphasize that “Services” are defined by “Use Cases.” So, it shouldn’t take much effort to see that “Use(case)ability” (“usability” being the proper term) is a CSF, Critical Success Factor. “Fitness for use” in other words.
Let’s take that further and couple “usability” with designing for usefulness,” “utility,” “consumability & serviceablity” as well as “affectivity” because perception and human affects orient satisfaction and dissatisfaction levels.
QbD cannot be put to work without adequately addressing Human Dynamics, which entails psychological (e.g. cognitive models, information architecture) physiological (e.g. device form factor, workstation ergonomics) and social dimensions (e.g. network effects increasing value for users.) That happens to be the SoW (Scope of Work) of HFE’s (Human Factors Engineering) interdisciplinary teams in Design Studios… and the topic of my next post on QbD’s Intellectual Capital.
A few more thoughts…
In spite of one’s day-to-day work and/or belief system being either closer to or removed from the kinds of jobs and tasks that make tech human, it makes sense to engage in meaningful outcome oriented and goal driven practices by applying HCD, Human-Centered-Design. The purpose is delivering quality and achieving customer acceptance and delight, given that customers are human beings. That is the reason why Design Thinking has outgrown the field of industry design and is applied to a wide variety of domains and disciplines nowadays.
Tech’s roller-coaster industry is packed with well intended technologies that fail. We all know that this is a fiercely competitive environment in constant change. Though, it is also true that, in many of those cases, UX, User Experience, professionals were not engaged at any part of the process, or were purposely involved at the back-end, or were called to come to the rescue in the eleventh hour. That leaves no room for Design to make a difference. Superficial changes just amount to bells-and-whistles and shiny-objects to disguise the underlying quality issues that are likely to re-surface at some point.
QbD’s top objective should be excelling at effectively & efficiently addressing our customers’ acceptance and adoption criteria. That remains true even in the context of full automation. Humans still get promoted and demoted (or fired) based on those system’s performance. D. Newman’s recent article on Forbes magazine rightly states that “you cannot run your business without people (…) you cannot operate technology without people (…) research have shown that people are a critical component for digital transformation.”
Today’s best practice calls for “reverse engineering” solutions by working from that human-centered understanding around Human Machine Systems (HMS.) That is substantially different from only relying on a far riskier “if you build it, they will come” model and its costlier brute-force mindset.
When dealing with challenging, intractable and complex projects, overlooking that fact typically results in exponential project risk and plenty of the, otherwise, avoidable zig-zagging course corrections ahead (e.g. opportunity costs in financial analysis and hidden and latency costs in systems engineering.)
Agile’s iterative development and ability to pivot shouldn’t be a refuge for either subpar or no design effort, but a vehicle to best implement QbD and augment development capacity while minimizing technical debt. This is why this revision of QbD for today’s tech industry calls for Design Sprints to lead the way.
Last but not least, before dismissing this QbD revision as a philanthropic and humanistic only endeavor, I suggest deep thinking around its (1) business criticality and (2) contribution to risk mitigation.
J. de Francisco
Bell Labs, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff
Nokia Software, Senior Studio Director @ Solutions Engineering
A. Cooper. The Inmates are Running the Asylum. Why High-Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity, Sams Publishing, 2004.
D. Newman. 3 Reasons People are Critical for Digital Transformation Success. Forbes, June 2018.
J. de Francisco. IEEE ETR 2018, Emerging Technologies Reliablity Roundtable – Human Factors Session (2). Innovarista: Innovation at Work, July 2018 innovarista.org
J. de Francisco. IEEE ETR 2018, Emerging Technologies – Human Factors Session. Innovarista: Innovation at Work. May 2018 innovarista.org
J.M. Juran. Juran on Quality by Design: the New Steps for Planning Quality into Goods and Services, The Free Press, 1992.
Thanking Troy Henikoff for a recent1871 walk-thru, which I joined as part of an MIT delegation. We first met at Techstars Demo Day back in 2014. Three years have gone by since, Troy is now a Managing Director with Math Venture Partners, an early to growth-stage fund focusing on entrepreneurial undertakings featuring “an unfair advantage in acquiring and retaining customers to produce outsized returns.” Here is a sample of Math’s portfolio.
1871 is a digital startup incubator and is positioned as Chicago’s premier center for entrepreneurship in the tech sector. Techstars is a startup accelerator and, as pointed out above, Math Venture Partners is an investment firm.
Long story short, 1871 is first and foremost optimized as a community environment. The underlying supporting framework provides collaborative workspaces, training focusing on design, technology and business, which includes senior mentorship, incubators and accelerators. All of these opportunities are available following the under-one-roof collocation practice downtown Chicago.
“What is 1871? The story of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 isn’t really about the fire. It’s about what happened next: A remarkable moment when the most brilliant engineers, architects and inventors came together to build a new city. Their innovations — born of passion and practical ingenuity — shaped not just Chicago, but the modern world. What started 140 years ago continues to this day. Come to a place where you can share ideas, make mistakes, work hard, build your business and, with a little luck, change the world.” – 1871
Matter is 1871’s neighbor and Chicago’s healthcare startup incubator. As shared in this Chicago Tribune’s article, Chicago has major hospitals, medical schools, pharmaceutical and device companies, a powerful healthcare hub which Matter seeks to galvanize by supporting entrepreneurial initiatives and innovative tech.
Chicago’s area is also home to leading institutions such as University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Loyola University Chicago, The Illinois Institute of Technology, and DePaul University just to name a few. So, academia and industry intersect to take advantage of talent and business opportunities.
My personal interest in environments such as 1871 has to do with a “give & take” experience. Born in Hispania and back in the distant Roman times, Seneca the Younger believed that we are learning even more when we share knowledge that we might already posses. Basically, he was talking about Human Factors and Information Interaction: a virtuous feedback loop kicks in when we strive to articulate thoughts and structure conceptual frameworks to better convey insights. That, in turn, springs new thoughts.
I pride myself about having developed a mix of creative and in-depth expertise on innovation practices thanks to a fortunate interdisciplinary career spanning 20+ years already. That personal belief is backed by specific achievements and, admittedly, some disappointments, both having delivered teachable moments worth reflecting upon.
So, in a “give and take” scenario, my “giving” has to do with sharing know-how and synthesizing relevant advice to entrepreneurs, which I have been able to provide by joining Dr. Moises Goldman’s 1871 mentoring sessions on several occasions.
Going back to Seneca the Younger’s thinking, in exchange for volunteering my time (and whichever insights I can provide) I always get to “take” away valuable experiences back home with me such as:
(1) a sense of great satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from helping others in a meaningful way,
(2) a contagious entrepreneurial spirit that one can instinctively embrace in discussions driven by passion and determination,
(3) their combined positive impact in my own work since they re-energize my thoughts and goals.
My grandma used to remind me about a Spanish saying that translates into “tell me who you walk with and I’ll tell you who you are,” which might equate to “birds of feather flock together” in English. In any case, and leveraging Human Factors again, social and professional networks can be graphically depicted by nodes (individuals) and links (relationships), which can carry information such as reputation and influence levels, as well as information dissemination paths. So, I’m glad to count those who I interact with at 1841 as part of my network and can only hope that this is a mutually beneficial relationship.