“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 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:
- Part 1 – What is Human Centered Design
- Part 2 – Maturity to Digital & Design
- Part 3 – Human Centered Design as a Priority
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 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.
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.
“Focus on the humans (customers and employees) at the epicenter of transformational change” – Joe Johnston, Y Media Labs.
Discovery’s Motortrend Studio in Los Angeles.
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 : )
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.
“Chicago developed as an attractive market for data centers for the same reason it became a hub for railroads: its central location. Much of the fiber optic cable the internet runs on was laid along railroad tracks, and Chicago acted as the connector between east and west. Plus, the city has reliable electricity and isn’t at risk for the hurricanes or earthquakes that threaten the coasts.”
“There are 47 data center locations in Illinois.” Datacenters.com
“Chicago’s position as a hub for connectivity also is demonstrated in the data center at 350 E. Cermak Road. Besides servers that companies have located there, the facility houses major telecommunications carriers, such as Sprint and Verizon, and other networks.”
“Argonne’s high-performance computers provide […] the ability to model and simulate complex, dynamic systems that would be too expensive or impractical for experimentation. Argonne is home to a wide variety of computing systems, including some of the most powerful high-performance computers in the world.”
While working in Europe last month a peer asked me about Chicago’s tech environment during our lunch break. I managed to assemble some thoughts and, off the top of my head, I proudly shared these few ones:
- much of the country’s internet traffic is running through the Chicago area
- some of the world’s largest data centers are also located here around
- home of two of the most prestigious National Labs: Fermilab and Argonne
- Argonne is building one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world
- one of Chicago’s 20+ start-up incubators, 1871, has become the world’s #1
- and there is plenty of good talent coming out of prestigious universities
Photograph courtesy of 1871.
My workmate’s curiosity was somehow satisfied. He claimed to be impressed and we then changed topics. A month has gone by since and, interestingly enough, when listening to the local programming of NPR, National Public Radio, someone was talking about Chicago also being the best city in the world… which I wished I would have been able to add to the above list.
“Chicago is, in fact, the best city in the world right now, according to results from a new survey. Time Out said Chicago topped its global index of the most exciting cities for the second consecutive year (when considering the) town’s affordability, culture, food, drink, happiness, neighborhoods, livability, pride and friendliness.”
Chicagoland does not ony have an impressive research and technology pedigree, the city has a reputation for affordable quality of life. However, that would just be a tone-deaf statement if, at the time of writing this, one had chosen to simply ignore the city’s challenged safety record in the most underprivileged communities.
Nokia’s CTC, Chicago Technology Center, is based in Naperville. It takes about one hour drive to get there from downtown Chicago and 30 minutes from O’Hare Airport.
Those ETAs (estimated arrival times) apply to good traffic conditions. When accounting for Chicago’s snowy winter wonderland and summer’s ‘construction season.’ it typically takes quite a bit more driving time to get anywhere, which makes the local railway system a better option.
In any case Naperville is consistently ranked as “the best city to raise a family.”
“Niche unveiled its annual ‘Best Cities to Raise a Family in America’ and ‘Best Cities to Live in America’ for 2018, and Naperville achieved the No. 1 and No 2 respectively. Naperville also came out on top in the lists of ‘Cities with the Best Public Schools in America’ and ‘Safest Cities in America.’
Still thinking of further expanding my earlier list, here are is another compelling fact:
- the Midwest compares to California not only in population size, but also in the number of patents, which makes Illinois (Chicago and Naperville are located in that state) jointly with Minnesota, Ohio and Michigan, be an R&D powerhouse.
In the area of computer science, the Midwest’s three National Labs feature the following leading edge research:
- computational and decision science at Ames.
- high performing, extreme-scale / exabyte computing at Argonne (noted above)
- quantum information systems in partnership with AT&T and the California Institute of Technology at Fermi.
“The Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) is home to some of the world’s fastest supercomputers dedicated to research on projects of national and global importance.”
It also makes sense to share these noteworthy research items:
- new Army Research and University of Chicago collaboration facility
- Fermilab’s Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) research proposal with Google to develop a co-design center addressing quantum computing systems.
- new Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago.
Whenever tech is the subject, FAAMG always comes to mind: Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google (Alphabet being Google’s parent company.) FAAMG is just the combined acronym for these company’s stocks.
They all have been growing their workforce in Chicago, though Apple’s focus was placed on their flagship store.
Amazon is looking into building its second corporate headquarters. Apple is planning to build a second corporate campus. Chicago is seeking to be the location of choice for both.
“Amazon announced just over a year ago its desire to create a second headquarters campus, saying the company planned to create up to 50,000 high-paying jobs in about 8 million square feet of buildings […] and was back in Chicago last month to take another look at a South Loop site along the river, as the e-commerce giant narrows its search.”
Apple’s new flagship store in Chicago.
“Apple is planning to build another corporate campus and hire 20,000 workers during the next five years as part of a $350 billion commitment to the U.S.”
“Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded with an enthusiastic and unequivocal “Yes” when asked whether Chicago would enter the heated competition for whatever kind of campus that Apple wants to build to augment its headquarters in Cupertino, California.”
“Chicago is likely to play up the strength of its technical talent pool and its relatively low cost of living.”
When thinking of the fact that “digital transformation” projects happen to be on every CEO’s must-do list, a quick look at who is who in the Chicago metropolitan area reveals a fairly diversified economy. That is basically a fertile ground for tech.
Thirty seven of the global Fortune 500’s multinational corporations are claiming Chicago as their HQ. On that list, the are names such as Motorola Solutions, Boeing and CDW. But, to get a better picture of the local tech scene, there is a need for going further to include Accenture’s Chicagoan origins and home base. Ditto for Motorola Mobility, which was the result of splitting former Motorola into two companies.
Motorola Mobility was part of Google until sold to Lenovo four years ago. That business is centered on the “Moto” phones. The home device portfolio went to Arris.
In this context, it also makes perfect sense to position Nokia’s mark as follows. Chicago’s former Navteq (Navigation Technologies Corporation) had grown as the largest and leading provider of mapping and navigation technologies. The company was purchased by Nokia in 2007.
Five years later, what had become a Nokia business unit branded as “Here” was acquired by Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Nokia had also bought former Novarra in 2010. The company was based in Itasca, another Chicagoland suburb. They focused on web-based technologies and services, and BMW acquired that business in 2014 as well. BMW Technology Group is based in downtown Chicago.
Nokia acquired Motorola Solution’s wireless network infrastructure business (Arlignton Heights campus) in 2011 and, more recently, 100% of Alcatel-Lucent (ALU,) which includes Bell Labs. ALU’s purchase was completed in 2016 (Naperville campus.) We have consolidated Chicagoland’s locations since and are all now based at the Naperville facility, which has been rebranded as Nokia CTC, Chicago Technology Center.
Nokia CTC. 1900 Lucent Lane. Naperville, IL 60563. United States.
Discussing Nokia CTC also deserves a few more insights by connecting the following dots. Chicago’s history takes us all the way back to the late 1800s and the ground breaking technology innovations that came from the Western Electric Company out of its flagship Howthorne Works facility.
Encyclopedia of Chicago – Western Electric Co
Western Electric ended up owning 50% of Bell Telephone Laboratories (Bell Labs.) The other half was with AT&T. In 1915, the Western Electric Company became a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T.
Let’s fast forward to 1995 when AT&T spun off Lucent Technologies, Bell Labs Innovations. Lucent was all set as an independent company and the successor of Western Electric. France’s Alcatel and Lucent merged in 2006 and together became Alcatel-Lucent (ALU.) As noted above, ALU was bought out by Nokia in 2016.
Whether we focus on Nokia’s 2016 acquisition to tell the story or, better yet, go all the way back to Western Electric’s foundation in 1869, the fact is that those of us working at the Nokia Chicago Technology Center get to enjoy a daily reminder of our legendary origins.
That happens on our way to our offices when taking a peek at a rather unassuming yet memorable museum set up by volunteers. We celebrated our campus’ 50th anniversary a couple of years ago. 700 employees joined Bell Labs’ new Indian Hill (former campus name) facility in August of 1966. Naperville’s community transformed from a largely rural environment to a leading edge technology center. Note that Nabisco (Mondelez) and Amoco Chemicals (BP) also set up shop there around that time.
Nokia CTC, Chicago Technology Center. Showcase (above) and Demo Center (below)
Today, Nokia’s impact in Chicago’s tech scene is centered on the work that we do in Naperville. That involves teams from a broad cross-section of the corporation, namely: Bell Labs (BL,) Chief Operations Office (COO,) Nokia Software Group (NSW,) IP & Optical Networking (ION,) Mobility Networks (MN,) Fixed Networks (FN,) Global Services, as well as NokiaEDU, our training resource.
Nokia CTC research on Advanced Decision Support Systems is showcased at global venues such as Mobile World Congress and at Nokia HQ’s Customer Experience Center.
Nokia CTC is also home base for our Technology Leadership Council (TLC,) a grass-roots and all volunteer organization, which I am a steering committee member of. There are quite a few things in the making right now, such as our annual Human Factors Engineering conference, Nokia HFE18, and more updates will follow for anyone interested.
As usual, welcoming feedback and input as a comment on this blog and/or over LinkedIn’s messaging… or in person if we happen to cross paths.
Argonne National Laboratory. Advanced Computing. https://www.anl.gov/advanced-computing Accessed 20 October 2018.
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