ComSoc CQR 2019 – @ieeecqr #cqr2019
I would first like to thank IEEE CQR , Communications Quality & Reliability, and all participants attending this year’s event for the opportunity to chair the conference’s opening session, which focused on 5G capabilities in the areas of small-cell densification, millimeter wave backhauling, and end-to-end security in multivendor environments.
I am also glad about having joined a second executive panel discussion (also on 5G) as one of three speakers, sharing the stage with Verizon’s Abby Knowles, VP of Network & Technology, and Deutsche Telekom – MobileedgeX‘s Geoff Hollingworth, Chief Marketing Officer.
This was my 6th IEEE CQR conference since 2012, which I first attended as speaker for a Distinguished Expert panel discussion led by IIT’s Carol Davids, Director of the Real Time Communications Lab at the School of Applied Technology. Seven years have passed since that early engagement, which makes one reflect on what Communications and Quality entail in this year’s context.
This time around, in my opening remarks I outlined the nature of today’s human-to-human, machine-to-machine and human-machine communications. I also referred to Juran’s classic, “Quality by Design,” and his reference to Big Q and Little Q: the former refers to quality as value in the context of the user experience, while the later focuses on industrialization quality… conformance to standards just being “one of the many means to that end,” but not only.
From a Design Thinking perspective, the quality of 5G’s Human Experience is coupled with Technical Feasibility and Business Viability. Delivering quality experiences that make a substantial difference (when compared to either alternative and/or earlier generations of mobile technologies) becomes a top and critical success factor.
This is true across consumer and enterprise markets. And we shouldn’t forget the need for taking down the digital divide: gaps in digital literacy become inequalities undermining our communities’ prosperity and quality of life.
5G’s Technical Feasibility goes beyond radio technologies to include: data science, cloud systems, virtualization, software defined tools & systems, and distributed architectures that entail microservices… as well as centralization optimizing for cost efficiencies and distributed edge resources optimizing for effective service delivery… just to name some of the technical matters under consideration in 5G’s ecosystem.
5G’s Business Viability calls for new business models that reshape and transform the value chain in users’ best interest… so that 5G can actually thrive. That undoubtedly prompts more attention to Human Centered Design (HCD) in telecoms, this being the very same sector that pioneered Human Factors Engineering (HFE) in industry and coined “Designing for People” all the way back in the mid 1940s.
Thanks to Chris Mayer, Technical Committee Vice Chair, Jason Boswell and Pasi Hurri, conference co-chairs. The talent and experience that IEEE CQR manages to rally makes this be a premier industry event year after year.
IEEE CommSoc CQR 2019 – @ieeecqr #cqr2019
- IEEE – Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Advancing Technology for Humanity.
- ComSoC – Communications Society, Promoting Communications Technologies.
- CQR – Communications Quality & Reliability. Bringing Together Industry and Academic Experts to Discuss Communications Quality, Reliability and Security.
KEYNOTE @ Design Thinking 2019 #DesignThinking2019
FULL LENGTH TRANSCRIPT VERSION
What are your biggest Design Thinking/Human Centered Design related priorities?
To address this last question, I would like to start with a quick recap a panel discussion, which I was involved in a recent engineering conference.
We should first run a sanity check and ask ourselves and those who we work and collaborate with: if we are not prioritizing Human Factors in design… who are we ultimately designing for?
If the immediate answer is not about optimizing for the human experience, then let’s think through our other options: robot overlords? the zombie uprising? an alien invasion? Admittedly, it took the audience just a little while to process the underlying humor. I must confess that being thought-provoking by playing the contrarian card can be a challenging exercise in a public setting.
In any case, there is a need for identifying unnecessary risks behind the so-called “if you build it, they will come” approach, which can promote technical prowess alone at the expense of human-centered design considerations, and compromise the overall project.
The negative impact of a techno-centric only strategy can manifest itself as: (a) mounting technical debt due to unforeseen usability impairments, (b) re-work, latency and hidden costs, and (c) the sort of opportunity costs in project financials and resource allocation that can deny the implementation of alternative user-friendly options.
Stage-setting and rhetorical questions aside… the business value of design is directly correlated to how we diligently design Quality considerations into any offerings.
This is not just about “left-shifting” practices and procedures to prevent “back-end loaded” issues. It does require institutionalizing Design at the front-end… and throughout the process.
Back in the early 1990s, J.M. Juran’s classic, Quality by Design, discussed two angles: a product’s better value and freedom from deficiencies, as well as the degree to which “fitness for use” could be the quality principle connecting them both.
He also made the point about misalignment between product design and the underlying operations & business processes over the product’s lifecycle.
Three decades have gone by and Design-to-Value and Operational Excellence go hand by hand. Most importantly, Design Thinking places the emphasis on “empathy,” which is how we, on the business side, learn and also “experience” what matters to users and stakholders.
In Nokia’s context, Quality Experiences are enabled by capable technologies (e.g. Design Thinking’s technical feasibility) and business model viability.
One of my priorities is to further the scope of Nokia’s QXbD, Quality Experiences by Design. That goal specifically addresses “UseCaseAbility” in a collaborative fashion to craft optimal superior offerings, OSO.
QXbD embraces the qualitative and quantitative nature of the following four dimensions applied to the front and back-end environment continuum over the lifecycle:
- usefulness and effectiveness
- utility, consumability and efficiency
- usability, adaptability and lifelong accessibility
- affectivity (desirability, adoption, delight, loyalty)
Settling for good-enough and table-stakes customer satisfaction is deemed sub-optimal. And, therefore, design efforts are sized, adequately equipped and optimized to succeed.
Design Thinking 2019 #DesignThinking2019
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