“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 : )
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
Digital Transformation drives today’s Workforce Automation and Business Intelligence (BI) initiatives where nimbler agile teams undertake tasks and jobs of unprecedented scale, scope and speed.
Digitalization also involves “Self-Service” business models which are based on the direct involvement of end-users and a frictionless customer journey, all relaying on seemingly instantaneous and automated mass-personalization.
Given that digitalization has become pervasive and that ‘making tech human’ has become a critical success factor, the new field of Genuine Intelligence (GI,) addresses holistic Human-Machine-Systems (HMS) leveraging collaborative environments comprised of networked insights, tools and processes. GI’s signature deliverable is Digital Decision Support Systems involving Integrated Workspaces.
This construct adheres to LeanOps and Quality by Design (QbD) principles for emerging technologies and, therefore, optimizes for (a) quality outcomes as gauged by consumer and operational experiences performed under (b) highly efficient operations and (c) advantageous resource utilization and effort levels.
Both value generation and productivity gains are constantly audited and iteratively improved throughout event lifecycles and over the lifespan of the system.
Jose de Francisco is a Senior Design Director at Nokia Software Group. His 20+ year experience encompasses multi-disciplinary leadership responsibilities in strategy, product & portfolio management, research & development, marketing, partnerships and project & program management. Jose is a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff (DMTS) and has worked with Bell Labs on next generation platforms. 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 can be followed on innovarista.org.