Month: August 2019

Design Thinking Series, Part 2: Design Thinking Workshop

Posted by on August 08, 2019

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“Everyone can—and does—design. We all design when we plan for something new to happen, whether that might be a new version of a recipe, a new arrangement of the living room furniture, or a new lay tour of a personal web page. So design thinking is something inherent within human cognition; it is a key part of what makes us human.”

—— Nigel Cross
Design Studies at The Open University, UK

 

Design thinking has been around for decades, used to create innovative new products even before Tim Berners Lee wrote the first Web page. The design agency IDEO is often credited with coining the term in the late 1970s to  better describe their human centered approach to problem solving.

However, design thinking has been increasingly adopted over the last ten years by digital designers applied to software and web design. This philosophy helps them bring a fresh breath of innovative thinking to the profession by engaging the people who know the most about what a product’s needs are— the people who will be using it— in the design process.

Design thinking collects a variety of approaches, exercises, and tools, into a unified process that places humans at the center of all decisions made. The process involves research and rapid ideation (a fancy term for idea generation) combined with telling compelling stories about how the product will be used and then prototyping and testing the ideas.

Simply thinking about the single interface or interaction point with a product is not enough. Instead, design thinking considers the users experience with not only products but with your organization as a whole over-time to design products that fit the user’s needs.

One important thing to understand about Design Thinking, though, is that it does not work to immediately find “a solution”. Instead the process works to understand what is needed, what a successful outcome will look like, and to ask the right questions before even thinking about the solution. This means stepping back from our assumptions and preconceptions about what can be done and instead considering what should be done.

Workshop Overview

The workshop is for people who may not consider themselves a “designer” but want to participate in the creative process to impact the final solution design and experience with guidance from design thinking experts. Thus, the team members in the workshop may often complain, “But I’m not a designer!” at first. The point of the workshop is not to put the burden of design on them, but instead to allow them to work with trained designers to help bring out their own natural abilities for solving problems that only they, as the user, may fully understand.

The workshop goals are to:

  • Discover needs and optimal outcomes for the product.

  •  Define the triggers and expected outcomes for users.

  •  Ideate to flush-out ways to help users meet their expectations.

  •  Tell stories that describe the solutions.

  • Refine the solutions into job stories that will serve as project requirements.

Once completed the designers build on the results from the workshop to create a working prototype that can then be tested and refined with feedback from the workshop teams towards developing the final product.

Workshop Roles & Responsibilities

Facilitators

Facilitators coordinate the workshop and ensure that the teams stay on track. There is a master facilitator, overseeing the entire workshop, with each team having an individual facilitator leading their efforts.

Workshop Teams

The workshop team should be a combination of subject matter experts recruited from power users, new users, and reluctant users who can help guide the workshop towards the solutions that work best for the overall. Each team will be made up of 3-6 (not including the group facilitator) people which will participate in the same workshop but may tackle a different aspect of the solution.

Set the Stage

Before the workshop begins, the workshop master facilitator needs to have the right challenge and the right teams. Working with the client, they will choose the issue to be tackled on during the workshop, recruit the workshop teams, and make sure to gather all materials needed to conduct the workshop.

Design Thinking Workshop —
Define, Generate Ideas, & Tell Stories

This two day session will involve a number of activities to help the team define the needs and big ideas that they are attempting to find solutions for. The bulk of the time will be spent in group activities with workshop teams.

  • To define the solution, they use well tested design thinking processes to come to the big ideas to be achieved for the users.

  • Next, the teams create an initial round of job stories to be considered.

  • Brainstorming ideas (ideation) goes hand in hand with telling stories to communicate how those ideas will work.

  • Once ideas are generated, the teams begin to flush them out using a variety of techniques to describe how the ideas they generated will work in context to the big ideas and job  stories.

This is not a simple linear process, however. The workshop will constantly iterate back around to creating new big ideas and job stories as they come up.

Job Stories

The results of the workshop are specific job stories that define how the product should work, and can be quickly turned into a prototype to be tested with users.

Prototype & Test

Once the issues are well researched and defined with stories that communicate how the solution will work, Rivet Logic will build those ideas into a testable prototype.

  • The prototype is where we begin to design what the final solution looks and feels (visual design) and how it will work (experience).

  • Prototype development will also be vetted by developers and business owners to ensure viability and feasibility.

  • To ensure the solution is on the right course, it is vital to test our prototype—along with any assumptions we’ve made—and then continue testing through the build process to make sure that it is working as intended.

Next Steps

Once the design satisfies client needs after an iterative process of testing and revision, work begins on moving from design into development. This is not simply preparing documents to hand off to development, but involves having design working closely with development to ensure that the solution is realized as envisioned, the highest usability standards are maintained and that the client is fully satisfied. This might involve additional testing of the solution while in production and beta testing.

 

Interested in conducting a design thinking workshop? Contact Rivet Logic to learn more!

Better Content and Data Consolidation through a Corporate Intranet

Posted by on August 01, 2019

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A corporate employee intranet provides an all-in-one, consolidated center for documents, communications, and important company information. Through better data consolidation, a company is able to improve upon its productivity as well as its audit trails. Consolidating information leads to better communication and happier, less distracted employees. Today, 71% of millennials report being unsatisfied with their current collaboration tools, and 45% of boomers report the same.

The Self-Service Capabilities of a Modern Intranet

Modern internet platforms make employees both empowered and agile. Employees are able to self-service many of their own needs, pulling documents and data as desired, referring back to old discussions, and finding contact information as needed. Rather than having to make requests of other employees, management staff, administrative personnel, and IT technicians, they are instead able to directly access the content that is relevant to them.

This is tremendously effective on an enterprise-wide scale. When every employee is able to fulfill their own requests, the entirety of the organization moves far more smoothly. Employees no longer need to wait to get information back, nor do they need to interrupt the processes of another employee to get their answers. Altogether, this reduces the amount of time spent on each interaction and project.

Improved Analytics and Auditing through Data Consolidation

Through a corporate intranet, data can be collected with greater accuracy. The more data your organization is able to collect, the better its analytics will be. Analytics is the key to business intelligence, providing insights into how an organization may be able to optimize and streamline its business processes. Many organizations today are increasing their investments in business analytics for this reason: improved analytics leads to better business.

That’s not all: better data also leads to better audit trails. During internal audits, businesses are able to identify core inefficiencies and create actionable solutions. However, in order for an audit to work, the company must already have strict controls over its data. If its data isn’t being reported consistently or isn’t available in a consolidated fashion, the audit isn’t going to be accurate.

Data audits can happen for multiple reasons. They can be used to identify inefficiency throughout an organization. They can be used to streamline operations and improve business processes. They can also be used to identify discrepancies which could indicate mismanaged data. An intranet doesn’t just consolidate information, it also consolidates information about information.

An intranet will not only collect documents, but also who uploaded these documents, who accessed these documents, who modified these documents, and who deleted these documents. With an intranet platform, data is never completely lost; even if it’s deleted, it can be recovered. Every user is responsible for their own actions, and the organization will always know whose hands last touched information.

Connecting to the Remote and Global Worker

Employers today are hiring more remote workers than ever before. Even local employees now occasionally work from home — in fact, the number of employers offering work from home options increased by 40% over the last five years. It can be difficult for out-of-the-office employees to feel as though they are valued and as though they are productive. They may not be able to work effectively with the other team while they are out, or they may not be apprised of things that occur when they are out of the office.

An intranet is the answer. When connected to externally, an intranet allows even remote workers to feel as though they are a part of the team, by giving them instant access to all of the same information that other employee have. Over time, this also leads to other employees regarding remote workers as equally engaged. Otherwise, in-office workers can quickly grow to resent or to avoid remote employees.

Intranet services make it easier and more feasible to hire remote employees, which in turn makes it easier for businesses to reduce their own costs. Out-of-office employees require less overhead and open doorways into other markets, where talented and affordable talent may be acquired. Through remote employees, companies are able to acquire a diversity of talents and skill sets, assembling the perfect teams.

These teams can then work together seamlessly within their internal platform, rather than having to struggle through individual web-based and cloud-based tools. These enterprise solutions are further able to scale upwards very quickly, thereby making it possible for an organization to quickly grow while still protecting its collaborative infrastructure.

An intranet service makes it easier for organizations to manage large volumes of data and documentation. As companies continue to grow and employees increasingly move towards remote, global work, an intranet platform becomes even more important. Intranet services empower employees to find the information they need faster, while also ensuring that businesses maintain complete accountability over their data and analytics.

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