Design Thinking 2019 #DesignThinking2019
FULL LENGTH TRANSCRIPT VERSION
When did Design Thinking/Human Centered Design become a priority in your career?
I recall zooming out every once in a while at elementary school just to grasp the obvious fact that some grown ups would have conceived every single object that exists anywhere in the world… and whatever else was yet to come anytime in the future.
Intriguingly, even simple items would look intricate and complex enough to me when noticing all sorts of tiny details. At that early age I wondered if a single individual could possibly come up with all sorts of different objects… and if everything had been designed from scratch at some point.
So, I vividly remember feeling a bit overwhelmed by the staggering scope of what it would actually take to recreate my surroundings if I were to conceive each thing, big and small, on my own. That was mind-boggling and really hard to conceptualize back then.
The next minute I would put my mind at ease by zooming back in whatever contraption I was assembling. That typically involved a patchwork of worn out plastic bricks and school stationery items. All good enough to hold stuff together and to go a bit beyond squarish shapes. Other times, I would just draw what I couldn’t build and fantasize about it.
Either way, the entertaining game of making something interesting came with a kid’s craftsmanship pride. My father took notice and always displayed unconditional parental encouragement. So, he became the human my gadgets were centered on.
Admittedly, my early design work was directed by what I was personally interested in. In hindsight, operating within one’s belief system only while striving to deliver a signature design… might, or might not, match what is really needed. That becomes a hit or miss scenario, rather than adequately setting up a project for success.
Basically, success was based on the chance around (a) one’s own thinking was in lock-step with (b) consumer sentiment, (c) production economics and, most importantly, (d) the context of the end-user experience, instead of researching those first.
While “flying our on jets” (aka dogfooding) equips us with invaluable first hand insights to better design, we need to be aware of the fact that the designer might not necessarily share the optics and expectations of the target users. What’s obvious to us might not be that clear for everyone else, and the opposite is also true.
Purposely optimizing and professionally obsessing for and about meaningful human-centered outcomes was an acquired taste. Fortunately enough, role model professors and peers, coaches and mentors made all the difference.
Prioritizing and intersecting psychological, physiological and sociological considerations became an unequivocal expectation throughout my undergrad studies in Industrial Design at Massana Centre d’Art i Disseny. The most influential professors came from the worlds of architecture and industrial design, as well as fine arts, history and journalism.
The compelling effectiveness of people-first problem-solving was solidified by a grad degree in Human Factors Engineering at BarcelonaTECH. Dr. Pedro Mondelo, the program’s director at UPC, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, emphasized the delivery of lean (efficient) and highly productive (effective) systems, which was best achieved with human-centered and customer-focused methodologies. I’m glad to share that I was part of the 1991 class, the first one in Spain.
Things definitely came together for me by 1994. My paper on design and ergonomics for INSHT’s publication (Department of Labor, Government of Spain) addressed those and other related topics in context.
A few years later, I joined the MBA program at Chicago’s DePaul University as a Honeywell Be Brilliant Scholar, which introduced me to Behavioral Economics and seminal studies on choice, valuation and decision-making. In my view, Behavioral Economics is integral to Design Thinking’s Business Viability principle.
More recently, an MIT certificate on Big Data & Social Analytics focusing on the field of Human Dynamics and Social Physics brought along data science’s ability to scale Human-Machine-Systems. I have had the privilege to serve at MIT’s Advisory Board for IDSS, Institute of Data, Systems and Society, over the past few years, and I am now grateful for the opportunity to join CMP’s Design & Innovation Advisory Board.
As a Nokia Studio Head and Distinguished Member of Bell Labs, I pay my respects to those early BL pioneers who assembled the first interdisciplinary team devoted to Human-Factors-Engineering in the high-tech industry all the way back in 1947.
The Studio at Nokia’s Software Group thrives as an open collaborative environment involving customers and partners. Our workspace displays legendary Bell Labs artifacts as a proud reminder of our community’s ingenuity and source of inspiration.
BL’s leadership and foresight also coined the “creative technologist” job to overcome the kind of technical myopia that silos can inflict, and also stated “Designing for People” as the mission to innovate. BL is now part of Nokia’s family and joins the vision to deliver thoughtful technologies for a connected world that is “Expanding Human Possibilities.”
Design Thinking 2019 #DesignThinking2019
“Bell Labs created the very first industrial Human Factors Research department at an American company, back in 1947. The department was quite small, containing just one specialist: John Karlin. Human Factors Research is sometimes known as ergonomics, but the way a human interacts with a machine or a system goes beyond simply physical space.”
“Industrially, the practice of Human Factors Research combines psychology with engineering in order to refine a system and make it more usable, friendlier, more efficient.”
“Karlin headed the HFR department from 1951 to 1977. Charles Rubinstein, who appears in this film, took over the department in ‘77. Human Factors Research at Bell Labs went well beyond that minuscule core staff of the 1940s: by the 1970s, the department had a staff of over 200, and by the time this film was made, staffers numbered more than 400.” – Designing for People, AT&T Archives.
Nokia’s community fosters Bell Lab’s heritage by embracing Human Factors Engineering as an innovation engine. We are gearing up for this year’s company event on HFE, which will be held on December 6. This event is sponsored by the Nokia’s Technology Leadership Council and here is the agenda:
We would like to thank all of the speakers most sincerely for their contribution to this conference. This is a private event for Nokia’s worldwide workforce. The live webcast and the recodings will be made available on NokiaEDU, our professional development organization.
“At Nokia, we’ve always been excited by where technology will lead us. Our business has evolved to adapt to a changing world for 150 years, but what we stand for remains true. Our vision is to expand the human possibilities of the connected world. We continue to reimagine how technology blends into our lives, working for us, discreetly yet magically in the background. Today, we’re shaping a new revolution in how people, businesses, and services connect with each other, creating new opportunities for our customers, partners, and communities.”
“We’re weaving together the networks, data, and device technologies to create the universal fabric of our connected lives – where new applications flow without constraint, where services and industry automate and run seamlessly, where communities and businesses can rely on privacy, security, and near instant response times, connecting through the Cloud. Our distinctive Nokia approach to designing technology for people guides us as we prepare the way for the Internet of Things, and ready our networks for 5G. We create intuitive, dependable technology, to help people thrive.”
Introducing Lean Ops – Integration & Decision Support System
“Over the past year, #maketechhuman has featured debates about the exciting promises and ominous perils of humanity’s tech-driven future.”
“Leading thinkers, from technologists and academics to entrepreneurs and philanthropists, have shared their thoughts on how we can ensure that technology and society positively reinforce each other.”
“Now #maketechhuman is publishing an e-book to push forward the dialogue that’s unfolded in its articles, podcasts, videos, and events. Whether you’re new to the conversation or have been following along all along, you’ll find that debates around the future technology and humanity often center around five hotly contested fronts:”
- “Artificial intelligence—the most all-encompassing of all technologies;”
- “Privacy—how we’ll redefine it and protect it in the all-digital age;”
- “Security—how we’ll deal with an array of emerging digital threats;”
- “Equality—how technology can create and distribute this crucial element of human lives;”
- “Connection—the main reason any of this matters. We’re going to need each other, no matter what the future holds.”
“The #maketechhuman e-book breaks down these topics and explores the burning questions that technology presents in each case. Will artificially intelligent machines take our jobs? Is the Internet bringing us closer together as humans or further apart? Is safety from cybersurveillance worth the privacy tradeoffs? But the e-book doesn’t just ask questions, it also features solutions put forth from experts from IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde to Internet pioneer Vincent Cerf.”
“As we produce equipment that enhances digitalization, we believe it’s our responsibility to ensure our communications technologies are used to respect, and not infringe, human rights and privacy. We strive to apply appropriate safeguards to protect people’s personal data against unauthorized use or disclosure.” – Addressing human rights and right to privacy..
“We enhance the power of connectivity by creating product offerings that help overcome missing broadband connectivity, improve the resilience of communities to extreme weather changes and increase public safety. Our product offerings also support the battle against climate change.” – Improving people’s lives with technology.