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.
Baker, Suzanne. Naperville named 2018’s best city to rise a family. Chicago Tribune, Naperville Sun, 7 March 2018. http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/news/ct-nvs-naperville-niche-number-one-st-0309-20180307-story.html Accessed 20 October 2018.
Cole, Craig. Why Does BMW have a technology office in Chicago? Autoguide.com, 21 July 2017. https://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2017/07/why-does-bmw-have-a-technology-office-in-chicago-.html Accessed 21 October 2018.
Day, Thomas. For Chicago’s tech scene, the mission is most definitely not accomplished. Crain’s Chicago Business, Opinion Section, 16 October 2018, https://www.chicagobusiness.com/opinion/chicagos-tech-scene-mission-most-definitely-not-accomplished Accessed 20 October 2018
Fermilab. Quantum Information Systems. http://computing.fnal.gov/quantum-information-systems/ Accessed 20 October 2018.
Fisher Amber. Here Are Illinois’ Fortune 500 Companies. Chicago Patch, 29 May 2018. https://patch.com/illinois/chicago/here-are-illinois-fortune-500-companies Accessed 21 October 2018.
Gingold, Don. 50 years ago: Naperville’s population boom. The Summer Place, 20 October 2016. http://www.summerplacetheatre.org/News/50-years-ago-napervilles-population-boom Accessed 21 October 2018.
Inside HPC. Argonne Steps up to the Exascale Computing Project, 31 August 2017. https://insidehpc.com/2017/08/argonne-steps-exascale-computing-project/ Accessed 20 October 2018.
Liedtke, Michael. Apple to build 2nd campus, hire 20,000 in $350B pledge. Chicago Sun Times, 17 January 2018. https://chicago.suntimes.com/business/apple-second-headquarters-tax-overhaul-offshore-cash/ Accessed 30 October 2018.
Marotti, Ally. With and insatiable demand for data centers, some are worried that Illinois can’t keep up. Chicago Tribune, 19 July 2018. http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-chicago-data-centers-20180709-story.html Accessed 20 October 2018.
Marotty, Ally, and Ori, Ryan. Amazon was back in Chicago last month, as its search for HQ2 narrows. Chicago Tribune, 26 September 2018. http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-amazon-hq2-chicago-visit-20180926-story.html Accessed 30 October 2018.
Meadows, Jonah. Chicago rated ‘best city in the world’ for 2nd straight year. Chicago Patch, 30 January 2018. https://patch.com/illinois/chicago/chicago-rated-best-city-world-2nd-straight-year Accessed 30 October 2018.
Molina, Brett. What the FAANG is happening to tech stocks? USA Today, 9 June 2017. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2017/06/09/tech-stocks-fang-dead-long-live-faamg/385200001/ Accessed 20 October 2018.
Rekdal, Andreas. Hey, Siri: Chicago wants in on Apple’s expansion plans. builtinchicago, 18 January 2018. https://www.builtinchicago.org/2018/01/18/hey-siri-chicago-wants-apples-expansion-plans Accessed 30 October 2018.
Tai, Yur. 1871 Ranks 1st in the world in global study of business incubators. 23 February 2018. https://blog.1871.com/1871-ranks-1st-in-the-world-in-global-study-of-business-incubators Accessed 20 October 2918.
Tekippe, Abraham. Nokia Siemens campus in Arlighton Heights sells for $28 million. Crain’s Chicago Business, 24 July 2013. https://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130724/CRED03/130729956/nokia-siemens-campus-in-arlington-heights-sells-for-28-million Accessed 21 October 2018.
The National Laboratories Director’s Council. US Department of Energy. https://nationallabs.org/our-labs/where-we-are/ Accessed on 20 October 2018
University of Chicago. UChicago and U.S. Army Research Laboratory cut ribbon on ARL Central. UChicago News, 15 November 2017. https://news.uchicago.edu/story/uchicago-and-us-army-research-laboratory-cut-ribbon-arl-central Accessed 20 October 2018.
“[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.