Design for our times: workshop 2: design thinking, an overview

Par Conseil national de recherches du Canada

Design for our times: workshop 2: design thinking, an overview - Transcription

Dr. Sara Diamond: Although we meet today on a virtual platform, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the importance of the lands, where each of us live and work. From coast to coast to coast in Canada, we acknowledged the ancestral and unceded territory of the Inuit, Métis, and First Nations people that call this land home. For example, I'm currently in Toronto and we are in the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe and the Huron-Wendat – but also in a city that is a major gathering place for Indigenous people from all over Canada, including Métis and Inuit. This has been a difficult week for Indigenous people in Canada, with a discovery of children's graves at the side of the former Kamloops residential school – and difficult for Canada. Please join me to acknowledge the values, perspectives, languages, and cultures, which can guide and inspire us, the role of Indigenous people as guardians and stewards of the lands, and to consider how we each can, in our own way, move forward in a spirit of reconciliation and collaboration. Thank you.

At the last workshop, we shared several trends in contemporary design and we would love to hear from those of you who attended what you feel were the takeaways from our last session. I'm going to open the floor to dialogue. We'd love to hear from those of you who were with us at the last workshop. If you have any comments that you'd like to share in chat, or as Justine said, you can raise your hand if you'd like to share either audio and full audio and video comments, we would love to hear from you. Are there any comments from the last session that you'd like to share? I see some names that were here last time. Any things that struck you as a takeaway about design or design process, or we've talked a lot about chairs, any thoughts about chairs? I will share some of the things that we covered very briefly. We talked about experience design and the ways that we think about design now in contemporary society as a set of seamless interactions, whether it's with products or certainly with our online environments. And we certainly get frustrated when things are not delivered to us in a way that's seamless and a well-crafted experience. We talked a lot about user centric design, and we're going to come back to this today, whether participatory, whether it's co-design or inclusive design, which places the user and their needs at the center of a design problem. We talked about sustainable design and design for the circular economy where every component of a product's life cycle is a means of reuse and recycling. It's a cradle-to-cradle way of thinking about the economy. And we talked about the growth of AI in design exemplified by generative design, and finally the importance of design to the communication of information with an emphasis on data visualization. We gave you some examples of that. There was a glimpse of design process, and you undertook a design exercise with us. And this week we're going to pick this up with an overview of design thinking. I always make sure for these sessions that I'm wearing a Canadian fashion designer and today it's Pink Tartan. And for each workshop, we share an inspiring story of a Canadian design company success.

Here's how an effort to solve a problem through design turned into a multi-billion-dollar company. And we're going to start with the personas. If you recall from our last session, we'll explore this in detail today, personas are users with needs that we can imagine. They're fictional figures, but based on real people that we can use to design for and with. I lived in Canmore and founded the Banff New Media Institute, so I was in the mountains for 14 years and I can testify that precision snowboarding is phenomenally popular with the computer science and digital design crowd – they think in geometries when they calculate their way down a double diamond slope. Our personas are actually real people for this exercise and they are Tobias Lütke and Scott Lake. Young, eager geek snowboarders who saw a niche market that they could sell to. They wanted to sell snowboarding gear online to their tech savvy network who had money to burn. Their “need” or design question was, and I quote: "how can we create an online shopping experience that is fun, efficient and secure?". None of the clunky e-commerce checkout platforms in 2005 met these criteria so Tobias built his own. From the start, Lütke and Lake focused on strong web design aesthetics for the shopping experience and ease of use from the point of view of a shopper who makes their purchase and then checks out.

Shopify, which is headquartered in Ottawa, has now placed user experience at its core. By 2021, they supported more than 1 million businesses in 175 countries, and according to Built Magazine, as of 2021, 1.58 million websites run on Shopify. Shopify is the largest publicly traded Canadian company by market cap with $2.92 billion US dollars of revenue in 2019. Shopify explicitly uses design thinking to meet customer's needs. Evija Sundman who's a UX leader at Shopify describes their goals in supporting their clients and she says: "We developed a framework based on systems thinking principles. At Shopify, we define outputs to do things like help a merchant find apps; recommend actions; provide business insights about their store”, etc. Their platform is used by big companies, but it focuses on start-ups and very small businesses. For example, OCAD University art and design students use it to sell their work at GradEx our annual exhibition, please check it out. Enterprises in marginalized and impoverished communities around the world use Shopify and stay at home moms or teens - people who usually wouldn't have enough time or knowledge to open an actual store use Shopify.

Shopify answered the question, again through design thinking, how can small businesses afford our services? And their answer was through monthly subscription services for Shopify's core offerings. And we'll talk about some of the other things later, an online store and an easy-to-use digital store management platform. And the latter can be used also in physical retail. Shopify's revenue model is still in part based on expanding their users, so encouraging micro businesses is critical to them. Shopify heard another user challenge - how can I find the right merchandise easily as a specialized outfitter? They now help their subscribers to discover and acquire product. Consultation showed that merchants could not deal with multiple services, hence as of 2019 Shopify offers fulfillment solutions. In other words, getting the goods to the buyer, placing Shopify into competition with Amazon and FedEx. And you may have read some of this in the news because there's been some legal disputes between Shopify and Amazon.

Shopify clients expressed the need for a community of support. This is very important. Through social media Shopify gathers testimonials, founder-stories and challenges, and facilitates sharing events, creating a user-centric very loyal culture. The Shopify Facebook page is intimate, featuring videos from merchants including their brushes with failure and recovery from failure. Here's an example “My Business got too big too quickly and I ran out of Money” on Shopify’s Facebook page, where “Keyz Kloset” founder Alisha teaches us, and I quote “You cannot escape failing, you want to win, you want to fail a lot. I am here talking - you guys - and I made it back from failure.” She holds online pep talks via the Facebook platform of Shopify to support other small businesses. Shopify also leverages testimonials to promote itself. In another story, we meet two sisters who founded Suta, a sari manufacturing company, which now supports over 14,000 weavers across India. And the narrator tells us “Those weavers are opening bank accounts, supporting their families, supporting local businesses, and getting better education, all because two sisters started a business”. The Shopify narrator picks up and tells us "Suta is just one story, Shopify supports 1.7 stories, stories about people who created a ripple effect around the world. $307 billion in economic impact, in 2020 alone, over 3.6 million jobs, that’s the largest workforce in the world, and over $20b in cross border sales. We call this the Shopify effect and together we are changing the world.” As a Shopify merchant, you are assured that you are changing the world just because you use their platform.

Shopify also uses data analysis, surveys and design thinking to understand changing consumer behavior, the ultimate end user of their platform, and answer the question “How can I shop without having to drag my purchases home?" Shopify rolled out the Simplex Retailing concept where retailers become curators of showrooms. You can see the product there, and then you can order the product and suppliers then ship directly to end consumers who select goods in-store.

Design remains a focus of the entire company and a revenue stream. On August 1st 2013, Shopify acquired Canada's leading design and user experience agency, Jet Cooper. Meeting another expressed need from their customers, Shopify merchants can learn basic design, design thinking (described as an empathy building tools) and business skills. Shopify will help you actually create a business plan online and they can get support in launching their businesses, providing Shopify with valuable data about the businesses who use their platform, and their needs. Again, establishing loyalty and acting as quality control. Shopify expresses its experienced design requirements for merchant websites in this way “Shopify experiences should feel like they were created with the highest level of craftsmanship. Through thoughtful details and small touches, we combine the power of professional tools with the simplicity of consumer products." Shopify also sells design services that include brand strategy, theme development, web design, and app development, as one of their actual revenue streams and “Shopify Experts” is a directory of experienced designers, programmers, marketers who will help clients and are familiar with the Shopify platform. In sum, Shopify is a user centric design-driven company whose success leverages off experience design values and design thinking. And they are founded in Canada and based in Canada. We wondered if you had any comments about the Shopify example. For example, we've heard about design thinking and their use of it and the way that they support their broad consumer base. What role do you think data analytics should play versus other forms of consultation in relationship to users’ behaviors? That's an example of a comment or question you might want to answer. And please you can answer in chat, or you can raise your hand and we'll watch for you.

Thank you, Sandy, for posting the Ribbon Skirt story. Any comments or questions? Thoughts about Shopify? Maybe they'll come to you later on, over the course of the workshop and we've got time for Q&A throughout. Just ponder the success of this company and their flexibility in adjusting and building, based on the kind of needs that this range of businesses has, who used their platform. From François, thank you. Shopify is also a scalable platform. Why do you think design thinking was key to their success vs the platform effect? Thanks François, that's really a terrific question and we talked in our last workshop a little bit about the iPhone and how the ability of Apple to build both the iPhone and the iStore. This combination of creating a platform was instrumental to how the iPhone and Apple for a long time cornered the market. The platform effect in this day and age, of course, and subscription services are fundamentals to the digital economy. I think what's really special maybe about the way Shopify operates, and they're explicit about the way that they see creativity as being at the core of their business and that they encourage it in all their employees and in the people who are part of the Shopify world. And they literally cite design thinking. They use the methods and we're going to walk through some of those methods to try and ask the right questions about their customer base. They pull a lot of data, a lot of surveys from their users and then look at what the issues and needs are that they need to identify and they use design thinking tools to do some of that work. And they are very clear that elegant design is part of why people prefer to use Shopify as opposed to different platforms. I think it's a combination. I don't know if you've got any response that you'd like to make to that, but that was a great question, thank you. A great example of a question and don't be shy in asking questions and we'll do our best to answer. So please stay with us as we move through our next phase.

We're going to talk about the origins of design thinking and a little bit of its background. We're going to move through this incredibly quickly so that we can get on with talking about the method. Design builds on participatory design in Northern Europe, in the 1970s. This was a time when there were very strong unions and interestingly, supportive employers, and they really wanted to engage workers in the process of redesigning their work and workplaces in the face of dramatic technological change. The seventies really were one of the major, first waves of computation coming into all elements of the design process, graphic design, for example and office technology. And at the same time, they didn't want to lose the tacit knowledge that these workers held about their industry. In the 1980s, there was a refocusing of interest on the part of systems designers away from the view that technology supported individual tasks and rather towards the view that human activities were in large part carried out in cooperation with others. Ethnography, the study of human group behavior and relationships, and in particular, looking at those relationships to technology, provided methods that designers adopted and design ethnography was born. Ethnography migrated from historical methodology to really be part of contemporary practices.

Another really important historical and contemporary influence is the concept “nothing about us without us”. Disability researcher, James Charlton popularized this term. It means that the subject of research must always be at the table. This concept has been endorsed by Indigenous communities, and most recently Black communities and is now policy on the part of the Tri-Council Tri-councils in Canada in work with Indigenous peoples. Design thinking runs parallel to this history and this shift within design culture that was global. It started in Northern Europe and then it seeped through the ways that people in design in general were beginning to change their practices. I'm going to turn to Justine now to take us through the next section.

Justine De Ridder: Thank you, Sara. We'll now talk about 'what is design thinking?'. The term design thinking [FR] ou pensée conceptuelle en francais is most frequently attributed to the innovation consulting firm IDEO and its founders, David Kelly and, now executive chair, Tim Brown. IDEO defines design thinking as “a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success”. Others such as Seidel and Fixson, they define it more broadly as “the application of design methods by multidisciplinary teams to a broad range of innovation challenges”. Design thinking relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns and to construct ideas that have emotional meaning as well as being functional. It's a fundamentally creative process that goes beyond conventional or obvious solutions. [FR] C’est une méthodologie basée sur l’intelligence collective qui place l’humain et ses besoins au centre de la réflexion. Design Thinking has been represented by many different systems. So, there is a a 5-stage process, a circular diagram, or also the commonly known double diamond method that was introduced by the British design council in 2005. In this workshop, we'll use the five steps visualization as proposed by the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford or the We will, however, draw on many methods stemming from years and years of applications of design thinking and participatory design.

According to the, those five steps are empathize, define, as in define the problem, ideate, prototype and test. But before we go in depth on each one of those steps, let us illustrate the value of design through a small success story, which is the story of Owlet. In this story, a team of students working in a hospital, identified a challenge with the pulse oximeter equipment. The wirings were difficult to handle for staff and it hindered the patient's mobility. So they invented a pulse oximetry wireless prototype that worked for all patients. They showed it to the nurses, who also validated their idea. They actually loved it. But when they talked to the hospital, administrators, they faced an administrative challenge. Patient mobility was not seen as a significant problem and the prototype was not a cost-effective solution. The board refused to invest. The students had to pivot and find a needed application for their technology. One of the founders’ family had experienced the pain that comes from losing a child to respiratory failure. And he thought, “what if we use the same technology in an in-home setting for infants where we can monitor vital signs such as blood oxygen levels, heart rate and report it to a parent”. Through further research, he found that sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS is the number one cause of infant deaths in the US and with about 4 million births a year, it's definitely a problem and a fear that many parents have to face. They iterated on their prototype to answer that newly defined problem and they prototyped a smart baby anklet that would send the information to a station which would then alarm the parents in case of emergency. Through surveys, they validated their idea and they validated the need for their solution. And they realized that the idea works actually even better in an in-home setting with parents, completely outside of an hospital setting. The final iteration, the OwletCare Baby Monitor – a baby sock - raised 15 million USD in 2016 and successfully launched in the Us. market. As of 2020, their revenue 75.4 million USD. And of course, they are selling to the Canadian markets using Shopify. As you can see, this team did not go through the stages of design thinking in a sequential order. They started with an initial problem that they experienced quickly, a prototype idea, and then the testing, that's more insights which required them to go back, re-define their customers and the problem that they were facing only then to iterate on the prototype. [FR] Ce que nous pouvons apprendre de cette histoire, c'est que même si la méthode prévoit cinq étapes, tout dépend en réalité du problème que nous essayons de résoudre, de l'environnement dans lequel nous nous trouvons et des défis que nous rencontrons en cours de route.

Let's delve more into each step of these design thinking stages, which we will also put into practice in our design exercise later on. For each step or stage many different tools have been developed over the years. And if we zoom back, there is a plethora of books and workshops and online courses and YouTube videos and information that is online. We made a small selection of tools that designers like to use in their work. And we compiled them into a toolbox that you will receive after this workshop. But let's first dive into the steps.

The first stage empathize is dedicated to understanding the problem that you're trying to solve. Sometimes it's a problem that you experience by yourself, but most often it's something that is faced by a particular group of people. And we need to understand them better. We need to set aside our own assumptions about the world and about our users and through observation and conversation, we can empathize with the experiences that our users face. We can uncover their intrinsic motivation and we can gain a better understanding of their needs and wants. And nowadays we not only need to empathize with the people around us, but also with the planets that we live on, based on Indigenous principles such as interconnectedness, and also having awareness about the environmental impact. Some of the tools that we use in this phase are Observation and Fly-on-the-wall observation, systemic ways of mapping behaviour of location-based activities or of social networks. Interviews, surveys, design probes, and contextual inquiries are also used by designers to gather insights about their users. [FR] Donc il ne suffit pas de questionner les personnes afin de comprendre leurs comportements. Il est aussi indispensable de faire preuve d’empathie, et de les observer et d’une certaine manière de se mettre à leur place, afin de voir les choses de leur point de vue. Cela nous permet de voir comment les solutions proposées peuvent s’intégrer concrètement à leur vie quotidienne. Also going back to the notion of “nothing about us without us”, designers advocate for co-design where the users and the stakeholders are sitting at the table and participate not only by providing data and information at the beginning, but throughout the whole project.

And now we can move on to our second stage, which is "define". This stage is dedicated to sensemaking. We make sense of our problem by defining it in a human-centric way. [FR] Cette deuxième étape trouve son point de départ dans les problèmes que rencontre l’utilisateur ou le consommateur, dans les limites de son expérience, et dans ses frustrations. If the problem is particularly complex, designers build problem trees, which look similar to decision trees, but they're not the same. They identify a hierarchy of problems. They also take a systemic approach and use iterative inquiries to uncover core issues. To understand the problem more thoroughly, they ask questions such as, “Who is involved? What occurred? When did it happen? Where did it happen? Why did it occur? How did it happen?” The define phase results in the creation of a problem statement, which identifies the gap between the current state (the problem) and the desired state (the goal) and frames it in an actionable, human-centered way. A good problem statement is for example, “New mums need a way to feel connected to a support group because they spend a large amount of time alone with their babies and end up feeling isolated and lonely”. [FR] En général, cette étape est clotûrée par la création d'un énoncé de problème qui définit le problème à résoudre et qui sera une source principale pour la suite du projet.

In the third phase, the ideate phase, new possible solutions are created by starting with many ideas. Many brainstorming methods have been developed over the years such as SCAMPER which is an acronym standing for: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Another Use, Eliminate, and Reverse. An example is this car, a re-arranged car becomes a folding vehicle, or a modified car can deploy a wheelchair ramp. Designers also create concept sketches to draft ideas. But regardless of the particular method that is used, the most important rules of brainstorming is that ideas are not to be judged or criticized. [FR] L’idéation c'est le moment où la créativité et les post-its font leur entrée. Dans cette étape, un maximum d’idées sont générées afin d’augmenter la possibilité de trouver la meilleure solution. After some time is spent openly ideating, constraints can be introduced to generate more ideas and also narrow down ideas from the initial brainstorm. Questions, such as “what if we don’t have access to the Internet” can be used to prompt thinking about additional ideas. Constraints in our 21st Century can also, and actually have to include, environmental impacts, inclusivity, privacy and the balance of rights and power.

Then we move into prototyping. Prototyping is all about transforming ideas into concepts that can be shared, reviewed, and validated. They can be used as a tool to communicate your ideas with somebody else. Prototypes don't need to be perfect. In fact, they should be far from perfect. People don't get attached to their ideas. And prototypes can be created using simple tools, such as in paper prototypes that you can see here on the left, which are concept sketches. Or low fidelity prototypes, which are digital, but not really interactive. You can see them on the right. Bodystorming is also used as a spontaneous form of low-fidelity prototyping where people roleplay a problem, and experience prototypes are used to created more realistic scenarios of the use and experience of a prototyped idea. [FR] Le prototypage, c’est le fait de penser avec les mains en donnant chair aux idées. Réaliser des prototypes, ébaucher, maquetter, ou modéliser nos idées nous force a rapidement les explorer en les matérialisant. De cette manière, on peut très facilement l’évaluer, la perfectionner et se concentrer sur la solution qui est la plus adaptée. And then once we have a prototyped idea, we need to test it.

Before deciding that a prototype is the solution to our identified problem, it needs to be validated and tested. We first need to test its usefulness and ask: is this solution solving the problem? Even if users are involved in the design team, the prototypes need to be taken to a broader audience, and a broader user group so that they can test it. [FR] Lancer le projet ou le prototype c'est l’opportunité d’apprendre en sollicitant des retours des utilisateurs et d’itérer sur le produit, les service ou les expérience que nous avons conçu. With simulations exercises and think-aloud protocols, users are asked to experience the prototype and verbalize their thoughts while performing a set of tasks and interactions. Then through usability testing, frustrating or confusing parts of the prototype can be identified and then worked on. And designers also use scenarios to create narratives of the future use of a product from the user's point of view, which is also sometimes called a user journey. From this testing phase, new insights can be gained which will require us to either change or adapt the prototype, refine our problem statement, or even completely rethink our users. If you think back about the story of the Owlett baby monitor, this is a case where the team had to go back and radically changed their intended users. So that concludes a little introduction to design thinking. What we wanted to ask you is: given this needs to test and iterate, when do you think that a product should go to market? Can we consider products finished, ever? We'd love to hear from you. Feel free to type in the chat or raise your hand. If you have a comment, or you have questions in general about this this part of the presentation. "Progress, iteratively with feedback". Yes, this is exactly what design thinking is about. Sara, you're muted.

Dr. Sara Diamond: Silly me. How many times have we heard that in the last 15 months? "As soon as it can make you money, I say, send it to market" is a comment. And indeed, companies do that. We often see things that are just out of alpha into beta in market. I'm curious from engineers who are with us, if you see differences between how you work as an engineer and design thinking. Bruno has shared the idea that software companies tend to release very early, even if products are not ready. There's some similarities in terms of the development of use cases and the process of iterating. But the way to get to a product or system is not quite the same as in engineering. Justine, I think we had some great answers from people.

Justine De Ridder: Absolutely. I love the quote "perfection is the enemy of good" it's very true. Back to you, Sara.

Dr. Sara Diamond: Thank you. We wanted to provide you with some examples of design thinking at work. Contemporary design thinking methods are of critical importance in collaborative work between Indigenous people and researchers from outside the Indigenous communities and the NRC’s Indigenous Languages Technology project is actually a fantastic case study and great practice. We wanted to share something from inside the organization with you. It's led by a Roland Kuhn and a team of competition linguists, including linguist and design researcher Aidan Pine. And it really is exemplary in the ways that it has used collaborative methods with Indigenous partners. NRC researchers Aidan Pine and Anna Kazantseva have worked closely with Owennatekha Brian Maracle of the Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa immersion school in Six Nations and students and teachers to create Kawennón:nis, literally "it makes words". A verb conjugator that models the polysynthetic morphology of Kanyen’keha, their language. To develop the project, the research team held an initial two-day workshop with community experts and a white board - drawing prototypes and imagining designs. Two more multi-day trips were made to the school to collaborate on the changes, and over time marked differences between versions emerged. Aiden created a network visualization connected to a sunburst visualization to represent the complexity of the many tenses of verbs, and modifiers of pronouns, understanding that the layers of detail quickly resulted in illegibility. The co-design ultimately based its visualization model on that of Indigenous student Maura Abrams, who had built moveable wheels within wheels. This is a physical low fidelity prototype, a very elegant one - with the inner wheel of pronouns, the outer wheel representing verbs. Through Indigenous informed design, the collaborators found a solution that was continuous with the ways that the community conceptualized and structured the linguistic data. The NRC ILT team continues to consult with an Indigenous advisory group from the community; a committee who provide continual feedback on project decisions.

NRC’s Indigenous Languages Technology research approach complies with a framework that the much-cited Indigenous researcher Lynn Lavallée has proposed where she underscores the importance of using qualitative Indigenous research methods, such as “sharing circles” which are similar to focus groups, very much based on user centric design, where users contribute to the design. And sketching using Anishnaabe symbol-based reflection and she described this as an “arts-based method”, consistent with Indigenous problem solving. Understanding the history of mistrust between Indigenous communities and federal agencies, all data for the project is housed with the community and is not retained by the NRC. The NRC hired community designers, educators, and contributors who hence feel a greater sense of community ownership over the project. The NRC's motto as a team is “Done with, not done for”. The language system is built on the NRC-developed WordWeaver, open-source platform, which enables developers to improve and update the code without intervening in the actual language learning system. The NRC ILT team collaborates on other texts and speech language technology projects with many other Indigenous communities across Canada.

Some of the most exciting collaborations between researchers and Indigenous communities are in knowledge dissemination of existing research. The Australian PARADISEC project which is led by Nick Thieberger is an archive of ethnographic research that includes language examples and stories, dating back to the early 20th century which have been retrieved and digitized. PARADISEC is returning the content in digital format to originating communities by loading stories and language information and metadata onto a Raspberry Pi that's enabled by mobile phone dissemination. There aren't landlines in the communities and there isn't internet service. This is a great way of getting materials back to them. Another very exciting project is Opie the Robot, a development between the Ngukurr Language Centre and the University of Queensland's School of Information Technology in Australia. Opie has been deployed in classrooms in the southeast Arnhem Land community, and is programmed to teach heritage languages including Rembarrnga, Marra, Ngandi, and Wubuy, while Kriol which is a contemporary Australian Indigenous mix of languages, like the concept of creole, is the interface language. Opie the Robot was modeled on social robots and required genuine deep collaboration between the university and these communities to build the right interface design and a fit-for-purpose learning tool. So that's one story, or set of stories, and now we're going to go in quite a different direction.

OCAD U CO, which is OCAD U's consulting arm, used the design thinking approach in a recent project with one of Canada's major five banks with their marketing team. The bank was looking to identify gaps and opportunities to better use data to automate or support key decisions to optimize results. Analysts needed to use data to understand their customers more effectively and hence drive campaign decisions for purchases like mortgages, credit cards, loans. Those are just some examples. And also wanted to improve their own productivity. The data technologists, who are part of the marketing group, also needed to prioritize the many requests that they received and build solutions that meet the needs of their marketing stakeholders. Basically, getting the right data in the right form was needed to answer questions that each unique role was trying to solve at critical points in their delivery process. Our team needed to understand how people made decisions, and our survey showed that even though analysts use data at the beginning of a marketing campaign to understand their starting point i.e., who they were addressing, what markets they were addressing, using personas and a lot of those tools, and at the end to validate their decisions, they drew on a mix of intuition, prior experiences, stakeholder views, and managers opinions during a campaign, not data. Data was not presented throughout the decision cycle and when it was cumbersome or as one analyst said, "Clearly I should be using it consistently, but I don't have the luxury of time for that. It's typically not part of a work back schedule".

We mapped core processes and identified points of interaction amongst different teams. We sorted out who is receiving data and in what forms and for what purpose. And if you go back to the previous slide Khalid, you can see our process and it gives you a sense of the level of consultation and engagement that happened. We also undertook onsite interviews - for example, interviewees talked about wanting to use data as evidence to back up their decisions to other internal stakeholders. We surveyed employees on their use of data, and we'll just keep this slide up, we led collaborative onsite mapping processes that looked at workflow and data flow, and we created state maps. In the next slides you'll see some of the process. These are people filling out surveys, and you can see that the survey was crafted specifically to work with this group and onto the next slide. You can see some of the outcomes there and the need to be able to think local and think now, and the problem with best practices being lost in silos. Onto the next slide.

Some of the primary concerns, which I had already talked about a little bit, so let's just run through these Khalid. The need for data to be visible and interpretable between different teams and the need to understand the life of a data set. Users identified the ways that access to data would better support them in understanding customer response to campaign design and messaging, analyzing market strategy and tactics and monitoring historical data for comparative purposes. Top of the list of concerns were, as I said, the need for data to be visible and interpretable through visualization, visualization was one of the important outcomes that they hoped for, to support decision-making, including between disparate teams and the need to understand the end-to-end data life cycle of products and services. We then supported a group of employees through ideation in a co-creation process that resulted in sketches and low fidelity prototypes. And you're going to see some of these in the slides.

Here you see the idea of a intelligent campaign performance tool and, Khalid, the next slide you'll see the digital low fidelity version. So actual sketching and then building it on a digital format. Onto the next. The idea of a real time data monitoring system. Again, a low fidelity sketch that was created with post-it notes and creating basically a process diagram. And here you can see how we moved it into a low fidelity prototype that people could continue to consider. In the second phase of the project, we later built out one of these prototypes that supported campaign testing and rapid improvement in responding to customer behaviors. And we used the idea of appropriate data sharing that we had mapped out earlier. What kind of data to which people? And this idea of breaking down silos along the chain of decision-making. We used a methodology of rapid prototyping, building testing, and refining over iterative cycles. The prototyping process demonstrated to the teams that work practices that supported data sharing were possible. And frankly, they gave the bank a tool that they then could proceed to build. And this just gives you, some of the elements of this. Those are a few stories from very different worlds that show that design thinking can be adapted. In the bank story, it's a story of very intensive design ethnography tools being used, and also design thinking in coming up with something that was actually useful to our partner. Justine, over to you.

Justine De Ridder: We hope that by now you are intrigued if not really excited to test some of these tools in practice. As we mentioned previously, we compiled some of these tools and methods in a small workbook that you receive soon after the workshop. And we are highly encouraging you to go out and experiment with what we presented today. [FR] La pensée conceptuelle est un processus exploratoire qui peut donc sembler chaotique à ceux qui en font l’expérience la première fois mais il permet vraiment d’aboutir à des résultats qui se démarquent de manière significative. Il serait dommage de ne pas essayer. We look forward to see what you and your teams can achieve over the course of the two weeks. This is not the end, by the way, although it might sound like it. If you're interested in sharing your experience, we'll also open some time during the workshop on June 16th for you to report back if you wish. And if you think that some guidance is needed to set things in motion the Design for our Times team is happy to meet with you and your team to kick off the design thinking process. What we will do now is we will start a design thinking exercise. As you can see, we changed platforms and we moved to Miro. This is my little moment of just telling you that Miro is one of my favorite tools or has become my favorite tool over the past year, it is an infinite digital whiteboard with many useful templates and facilitation tools.

The challenge that we are giving all of you is that some researchers have stated a need for improved communication and collaboration across NRC research centres. We're going to try to answer the following question: how can we foster stronger communication and collaboration across the NRC research centres? [FR] Ou: comment pouvons-nous renforcer la communication et la collaboration entre les centres de recherche du CNRC ? How are we going to work together? For this portion of the workshop, we really need your input in order to make it work. We ask that you make use of the chat or raise your hand and unmute yourself to share what you have to say. [FR] En francais ou en anglais, c’est comme vous voulez. This really cannot work without your participation. Over the next 30 minutes or so we'll tackle the challenge by developing two persona profiles. We'll define the problem statement for both of them and we'll ideate on solutions. At the end, we'll have a discussion on how to take what we have to the next stage. Let's begin. We'll also have a small timer running on the sides just to make sure that we have enough time to go through all of the exercises.

If you recall, from the empathize phase, we try to answer the question: who are we designing for? To do so we'll create two personas together, and these will be some of the users that will then test a solution at the end. We have already given them some gender-neutral names but there are a few questions that we need to work on altogether. What we're trying to figure out about the users is first who they are, what their daily activities are, what they worried about, and what technology they're using. But let's start with who they are. Our first user, or first persona is Taylor. Type in a chat and tell us more about that person. What research centre do you think that they are part in the NRC? And remember you can't do anything wrong. Taylor's a researcher, thank you Bruno. In what field? What department is he part of? Transportation. Thank you. Do we want to give them an age? Forty-seven. Where are they based? Ottawa. Then do you want to add any other characteristics? Gender race, or anything else that you think is relevant.

Dr. Sara Diamond: We're good to move on.

Justine De Ridder: If we look at their daily activities, looking at what daily activities you do as an NRC researcher. What are some of the activities that Taylor has to undertake?

Dr. Sara Diamond: Project management. White papers. Client and collaborator interaction. Design. Read the latest research findings.

Justine De Ridder: How busy are they? Do they have a lot of time on their hands? Very busy.

Dr. Sara Diamond: Agenda is full. We've got another one that says "agenda is full".

Justine De Ridder: It could go into something that they are worried about for sure. And I'll add it here. Thank you. If we look at the statement that we had before, that some stated the need for improved communication and collaboration. Do they agree with this statement, and how does communication and collaboration influence their professional life? Does it matter to them?

Dr. Sara Diamond: You can save time and money.

Justine De Ridder: Thank you, Kyle.

Dr. Sara Diamond: Visibility is increased with collaboration and communication. Also increased outreach. And do they collaborate with people outside the NRC? More impact. Generate ideas and new leads. Better insight. Increased creativity. Reduces risk. It is always the second priority after what is on their desk now, that's a reality.

Justine De Ridder: Thank you. That's great input. What are they worried about? We had somebody who mentioned before that their agenda is full. That's definitely something that they would be worried about. Are there other things?

Dr. Sara Diamond: And maybe how that affects collaboration is a way to think about what they're worried about. The current challenges with collaborating and communicating. We had the always the second priority. Project has low external impact on collaborators. Anything else? The deadline is not realistic, let's add that to what they're worried about. And earning revenue while trying to do research with the same staff.

Justine De Ridder: That's great input. Thank you everyone. Regarding technology, what technology do they use? What technologies do you use is a good way to think about it. Zoom. I almost forgot about it.

Dr. Sara Diamond: We have Zoom as a technology.

Justine De Ridder: Obviously connected to the internet, I'll add it.

Dr. Sara Diamond: Anybody use teams or other collaborative platforms? Teams. Data acquisition software? Slack would be another one. CAD.

Justine De Ridder: Great. We have a wonderful first persona. And so, what we now need to do is to do a second one. When we think about this persona, which we have called Dominique, we can think about maybe somebody that is on the opposite side of what our first persona was about. So maybe it's somebody that's less interested in communication and collaboration, but we'll keep that for later. So first, who are they? Looking at the same questions that we had before. What research center are they in this time? Is he also a researcher or is he working on something else? He is French. Within NRC? Yes.

Dr. Sara Diamond: CRL.

Justine De Ridder: Support staff. Client relations. Is he also based in Ottawa or is he based somewhere else?

Dr. Sara Diamond: We don't know if it's a 'he' or 'she'

Justine De Ridder: Vancouver. Work from home. Perfect. Regarding their daily activities, what does that look like? Writes proposal. Meetings,

Dr. Sara Diamond: Emails from clients. Project management. Okay. This is good.

Justine De Ridder: What about them when it comes to the statement regarding improving communication and collaboration, does it matter to them? How does that influence their work?

Dr. Sara Diamond: Core competency. Essential to building teams. Problem solving. Needed to understand client needs.

Justine De Ridder: What are they worried about?

Dr. Sara Diamond: Much of the work is communication related. External to clients, internal to staff. Interaction with program and thrust leaders. So that would go into collaboration and communications. And then concern is: less 11th hour requirements or changes. These are great, everybody, by the way. I feel immersed in the NRC world right now. Any others that you'd like to add that they worry about? Are the requirements defined in a project? Vague wording in proposals leads to problems later on. Finding resources and budget.

What technologies do they use? Here it's helpful to really think through if they use the same technologies as our researcher. N-Boss. Microsoft project. Sigma NRC's new project management workbook.

Justine De Ridder: Thank you so much. I feel like we have now a really good understanding of two different personas. What we will do now is to move on to the second stage, which is about defining the problem. And I realize now I forgot to run the timer previously, so I'll do it this time. Keeping our challenge in mind and looking at those two personas, we will try to create statements about what they need and what's the insight regarding that need. If we start with Taylor, who is our 47 year old researcher, what are their needs? This can be connected to the things that they're worried about.

Dr. Sara Diamond: Time codes. Management support.

Justine De Ridder: What are some of the insights that emerged from those needs? Or the reasons for those needs to happen? Taylor needs management support because...

Dr. Sara Diamond: The goals are ill-defined.

Justine De Ridder: And Taylor needs publishable results because... Promotion pressure.

Dr. Sara Diamond: Salary and defining the approach.

Justine De Ridder: For the sake of time, we need to move to our second persona, which is Dominique who works in client relations, work from home. And so, what are their needs? It'll be easier if we if we phrase it in a way: Dominique needs something and then immediately connect it with the reason behind why they would need it. Attract new clients. Rob, thank you.

Dr. Sara Diamond: Good network. Why does Dominique need a good network? To bring people on board. Another reason is to find resources. Does she need anything else? Anything in relationship to the other researchers at the NRC, or to the researchers at the NRC? Let's get one more reason.

Justine De Ridder: We'll move forward. But you can keep thinking about it as we are talking about some idea generation. We will now think about: how can we solve some of these challenges? How can we meet their needs? Here we will imagine that we are all standing in front of a big whiteboard and we'll all write down as many post-its as we can of ideas that just emerged. Drop them in the chat and I'll try to do my best to write them as fast as possible. Any ideas. This can emerge from things you have seen somewhere else that you think could be applied here.

Dr. Sara Diamond: How can we help them collaborate better?

Justine De Ridder: How could we meet some of the needs that we just identified? Free some time for collaborative work.

Dr. Sara Diamond: Regular, no agenda. Meetups. What about Dominique? What does she need? Lunch and Learn across the NRC.

Justine De Ridder: That was a previous timer. We have a little bit of time, still. Dominique's job is client relations. They need to attract new clients to keep the funnel full. They need a good network to bring people on board and find resources and they need the support of researchers. What could we do to help them?

Dr. Sara Diamond: A directory of researchers and their expertise. Is there anything that the researcher and the facilitator could do together? Any other ideas for Dominique?

Justine De Ridder: If you think about the fact that there are infinite resources in creating that idea, are there ideas that pop up, maybe impossible ideas?

Dr. Sara Diamond: Here's a good one. Educate researchers as to what CRLs do. Database. Do CRLs currently attend lunch and learns? Are they invited? Everyone is invited. Some of what is possible here that other institutions have done is created buddy systems. Invite industrial domain specialists to share their daily work challenges, domain knowledges. That's a great idea. There's a lot of good ideas here. We did this at my university because we had similar challenges and we actually had people host, and this is before COVID, but we actually had people host others in their lab or in their workplace. Or do, we're still doing it, but now virtual, show and tell, it's like a lunch and learn, but it's more casual and people talk with each other but they have a presentation. Stage gate funneling.

Justine De Ridder: Should we try to get in a quick voting, although we have a lot of great ideas. What we'll do, and we'll have to be very efficient. I will call out each idea and by show of hands, and also taking into account that you can vote for two ideas maximum. Let's try to select a winning idea. We'll start from this left side. Sara and Khalid, I just ask you to tell me the number. Two in total. The first one is organizing workshops. Three. What about a buddy system?

Dr. Sara Diamond: We've got two there too.

Justine De Ridder: Stage gate funnel. We have zero. Okay. Invite industrial or domain specialists to share their daily work challenges or domain knowledges.

Dr. Sara Diamond: We have four.

Justine De Ridder: Educate researchers as to what CRLs do.

Khalid Hassan: Two.

Justine De Ridder: A directory of researchers and their expertise.

Dr. Sara Diamond: Two

Justine De Ridder: Lunch and learns across the NRC.

Dr. Sara Diamond: You've got four.

Justine De Ridder: Have communication collaboration as a performance objective. No, okay. Add collaboration to promotion criteria. We will merge them together. So, add collaboration, promotion criteria and making it a performance objective as one idea.

Dr. Sara Diamond: You've got two.

Justine De Ridder: Incentivize collaboration.

Khalid Hassan: One.

Justine De Ridder: And free time for collaborative work.

Khalid Hassan: Two.

Dr. Sara Diamond: We've got four minutes left in our session altogether. What we would do next is to actually take the ones that had the most votes and the closest number of votes. And we'd also, as Khalid started to do, group the ones that are similar to each other. And we create a hierarchy. Then we'd have you go at it again and do another level of selection. The two that were the most popular: lunch and learns across the NRC and invite industrial domain specialists to share daily work challenges and domain knowledge. You would then go on to do the prototyping phase and we have to end in three minutes and we need to wrap out. Justine a couple of words on that and user testing, and then we will go back.

Justine De Ridder: When it comes to the prototype, we'll need to think about what the solution would look like. And also, we would try to maybe build digital prototypes or run experiments and create user journeys to see where does our idea fit in Taylor and Dominique's daily life. We would then go and test it with the Taylors and Dominiques, and also more people to see if the solution is actually solving a problem and based on their feedback, we can learn if we need to change the prototype, if we need to generate new ideas or if we actually are not solving the problem at all. Which would then lead to iteration. When we iterate, we go through this whole process again, but being more informed. And that concludes our little a little session. Thank you so much for participating.

Dr. Sara Diamond: Just to ask if there's any comments. We have two minutes left we're going to just remind you of coming back in two weeks and what we're going to do there, which is going to be talking about strategic foresight and speculative design, and also to reach out to us if you want. You've got our emails. We just wondered if you've got any final comments about the exercise or questions in our last minute. The difference between engineering and design methods. Thanks. That's a great question. I think that there really are increasingly parallels because engineering education is changing to include much more engagement with users actually involved in each step of the process. The similar space is the use case and building a use case, which is a lot like a user journey, when you think about the kind of work that you do. I think the difference with design is that design uses this method of looking for the need, looking at how to build empathy, the personas of the users, and then really adapting the technology or the concept to their needs. Whereas sometimes with engineering, we start with a technology and then we look for the user and we invent the technology and then we look at how to adapt it. Designers would say build the technology based on the need. And engineers are trained more to build the technology and then look for the need. I think we're converging more and more. I hope that's helpful as a way of thinking about some of the differences. Thank you. Robert Arnold, design thinking is integral to good engineering. I vote for that. And I come from the twin spaces of technology and design. Maybe think of design as the voice of the customer for engineers, that's another really great comment, James. Thank you very much.

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  1. Conseil national de recherches du Canada. Technologies numériques
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Sujetpensée design; innovation centrée sur l’humain; empathie; idéation; définition; prototype; tests d’utilisation; outils pour les langues autochtones; design inclusif
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Date de création2021-06-02
Maison d’éditionNational Research Council of Canada. Digital Technologies Research Centre
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