Reviewed on Sunday, October 20, 2019.
Thank you note.
Special thanks to Nokia’s own Terri Edmudns and Rose Martin for all of the help that went into scheduling and setting up the Studio’s session on Design Thinking.
Our campus was packed with participants and PDC volunteers. I apologize about not being able to complete my thank you note here since I am missing quite a few other names at the time of writing this.
PDC19’s Design Thinking Session.
“Diversity of Thought and Creative Tensions as Innovation Toolset” was the theme of our discussions at the Studio where HCD, Human Centered Design, and HFE, Human Factors Engineering, practices are center stage.
The job in hand.
Nokia’s Venture Studio leverages a meta-methodology combining practices such as Design Thinking and DTV, Design to Value to name some examples.
Our workstyle intentionally seeks “Diversity of Thought” and “Creative Tensions” so that we can better explore and craft genuine creative solutions. The more complex the problem in front of us, the more relevant our line of work becomes.
Our job entails applying a variety of optics, looking for both visible and hidden patterns as well as identifying outliers and anomalies. We expand our range of vision through Cartesian skepticism and unconstrained analysis. Basically, pressing the “reset button” and thinking twice in a matter of speaking.
(Design) thinking twice.
The workflow iterates thru adaptive DPCs, Design & Prototyping Cycles, and converges by pressing the “freeze button” to articulate a constrained synthesis with the information and insights available at that point of time.
A project flow is not necessarily linear. We can move forward, backward and sideways… re-focus, deep dive and zoom out as necessary. But, “paralysis by analysis” is not an option: we are always operating on design and prototyping mode.
Note that we can redefine problem areas and shape technological solutions in novel ways. Nothing is a given. Discovery can lead to transitioning from solving for “problem X” (e.g. known needs and usual suspects) to a new and game changing “opportunity Y” addressing otherwise unsuspected areas.
Concrete scenarios and real options.
On the critical path, the interim outcome is the generation of parameterized “A/…/N options” and decisioning models that guide and inform: value, priorities, benefits, risks and trade-offs, which feed the valuation model.
Diversity of Thought takes true diversity and interdisciplinary teamwork, coupled with “outside-in” and “inside-out” feedback-loop cycles, dismantling silos that otherwise impose arbitrary boundaries, paralysis by analysis or the latency and suboptimal effects of design by committee.
About Nokia PDC 2019.
Nokia PDC’s scope goes beyond formal training to cross-pollinate and facilitate serendipity. All of that involves know-how sharing, new connections and networking activities to better collaborate.
At the back end we experience growth at individual, team and organizational levels. Thanks again for the opportunity to be part of this conference this year.
“Any organization that wants to deliver targeted, personalized services and experiences needs to understand its customers inside and out: their wants, wishes, behaviors and attitudes.”
“These days, the data to develop that understanding is abundantly available. The challenge is to extract meaningful customer insights from it and convert those insights into actions.”
“By combining the principles of Design Thinking with the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI), CIOs have the tools to solve that problem and deliver powerful business results for their organizations.”
“Design Thinking, AI and starting with what users need” was just released this past October 15. The full article is available on CIODIVE, which I am proud to co-sign with Santeri Jussila, Head of Analytics Product Line at Nokia Software. Also thanks to Nokia’s own Patty Wong, Malla Poikela, Araceli del Rio and Marcelo Fabri. What follows is some additional color commentary and additional insights.
Reviewed on Sunday, October 20.
Design visions in the making.
I truly believe that these are exciting times. Often enough we recall and discuss visions conceived decades ago. We marvel about our predecessors’ foresight. Then we wonder about what’s actually truly new these days as we reach the magical 2020 time horizon: are we still innovating or just rehashing old concepts? Besides, what is the meaning of “real” and “true” in what the Oxford Dictionary defines as the post-truth era?
The fact is that a reality check unveils a thriving ecosystem economy where a number of the bits-&-pieces that any of us need to innovate with are coming together. Better yet, this is also happening at accelerated speeds and cost effective levels. In turn, Design Thinking is fostering new foresight around the possibilities ahead… basically, new visions in the making.
There is more to 5G.
As shared in the CIODIVE article, 5G has become a galvanizing technology. 5G goes well beyond radio optimization outpacing what 4G and earlier wireless systems had to offer. To be more specific: we are intersecting: lightspeed networking, scalable virtualizaiton, dynamic software defined instruments and systems, actionable analytics, agile automation… and new levels of programmability, all equipped with unprecedented intelligence.
Speaking of intelligence, the best that cybernetics has to offer comes in the form of context-aware and always-learning systems optmizing for exploration, decisioning and control. Their growth and high performance are driven by adaptive closed feedback-loop workflows, which entail both, human and machine smarts.
Fast evolving HMS, Human Machine Systems.
We all know and, nonetheless, history keeps reminding us that technical prowess alone does not suffice. At Nokia’s Venture Studio we are working on outcome-oriented HMS, Human-Machine-Systems.
This is why we purposely focus on usefulness, utillity, usability and affectivity values. In our line of work, Human Centered Design (HCD) and Human Factors Engineering (HFE) make a compelling difference.
Our thinking behind the design of Human-Machine-Systems is that they should be conceived and stress-tested for effectiveness (e.g. getting the job done, delivering meaningful results) and efficiency (e.g. optimizing resource utilization levels, maximizing value) as well as getting only smarter iteration after iteration, cycle after cycle.
Nokia Venture Studio.
Delivering High Performance Environments (HPE) and Quality Experiences by Design (QXbD) inform our Studio’s meta-methodology, lead to fluid practices and, equally important, signal a distinctive creative workstyle.
Digitizing the Digitalization Era.
It does not hurt to state the obvious: digitalization is now pervasive. Following that train of thought, digitalization also means both on-demand lightspeed consumption and instant mass personalization.
It means democratizing tech so that the digital divide becomes a thing of the past and no-one is left behind. It means self-service empowerment and curated expert services as needed.
It means scaling at speed and greater scope than ever before. It means clever centralization to leverage shared resource pools and operational efficiencies. And it means even smarter and highly dynamic decentralization as we get closer to the end user and effectively optimize on the basis of the experience economy. This is a hybrid world in permanent motion with any “thing” (and anything) is provided as a service, anywhere, anytime. Watch for ripple effects.
Digital Services by Design.
From a Service Design standpoint, the backstage’s operational experience entails painstaking work on: redefining success and outomes, job re-design, process re-engineering, and setting the state-of-the-art. Addressing these happens to be critical success factors.
I will be more specific. DTV, Design to Value, now means that we need to design and gear up for signature experiences. These register delight, rather than just conforming to yesteryear’s cookie cutter market segmentation and just aiming to “satisfy.” We are going past “segmentation” and “personas” to better act on “persona-lization” – segment-of-one in other words.
Digitalization’s paradoxes are here and in full force: (1) we are purposely shifting the “new normal” by creating opportunities to pleasantly “surprise and differentiate” rather that just normalize, standarize and penalize deviation or outliers; (2) the more we talk about extreme automation and zero touch systems, the more (not the less) humans (and a more diverse population) gets to interact with sophisticated systems otherwise formerly restricted to domain experts and obscure fields.
Designing for “digital transparency” brings you user friendly self-service, recsys (recommender systems) affective computing and xAI, Explainable Artificial Intelligence, just to name a few examples. We can now design for the senses and do that by engaging in natural language and with immersive and interative infographic visualization.
As Arthur C. Clark’s third law stated: “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistiguishable from magic.” Also bear in mind that his second law was: “the only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture into the impossible.”
It’s about culture…
At Nokia’s Venture Studio, our work and craftsmanship is the product of a thriving culture, one that we are also consciously influencing and shaping (think Escher’s Drawing Hands) to adequately foster human possibilities.
“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 : )