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Posts in category 'Business'

27 November 2013

[Report] Next generation working life

Screen Shot 2013-11-27 at 09.01.59

How will work be organized in the Networked Society? Fundamental changes are taking place. Cultural changes and rapid technological development are changing the rules and opening up for new ways of structuring business and changes in the workplace. Ideas and innovation are fueling this move forward. It is becoming more important, if not essential to stay in a constant state of evolution while creating a climate where new ideas can surface and grow. So how will you survive in this new game?

In its report ‘Next generation working life – from workspace to exchange space’, Ericsson has identified eight themes that are affecting the future of work and that are likely to have fundamental implications for working life, from both an employer and an employee perspective.

23 November 2013

The future of the workplace: through an ethnographer’s eyes

 

What will the workplace of the future look like? Will it even exist as a physical space? Ever since networked computers first became widespread the idea of the virtual organisation has been touted, yet most of us still work in conventional workplaces. Recent technological advances have given a second wind to the idea with some even questioning whether organisations will exist in their current form or whether workers will be free agents coming together to complete specific tasks as and when needed.

Discover the answer (video) through the eyes of Jacki O’Neill, a Xerox ethnographer who spends her time studying people in workplaces.

This video was one of the 4 Emerging Trends presentations given at the XRCE 20th anniversary Oct 4th 2013.

21 November 2013

The intersection of UX, CX & corporate strategy: The holy grail for 21st century business?

cs_us

Chris Allen (CUA – HFI US Sales Director Eastern Region; Global Accounts Director) went to the UX STRAT Conference in Atlanta and came back with one big question: How do we as business leaders leverage the best techniques and outcomes of various research and design methodologies to create more rewarding, fun & useful interactions with our current and potential customers so they become loyal, repeat customers and advocates?

This question, he says, “really transcends whether or not we are advocates of Customer Experience (CX), User Experience (UX), Agile, Lean, or any SDLC methodology in play today. The point is, how can we bring these different perspectives/approaches together for a common purpose, instead of building more Chinese walls or reasons why someone cannot play in someone else’s sandbox?”

9 November 2013

How a deeper customer understanding can energize innovation

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In today’s crowded and competitive energy markets, many product manufacturers fall short in their marketing, writes Andy Beck, Executive Vice President of Makovsky’s energy and sustainability practice.

“They’re forgetting a vital principle: that we motivate behavior by understanding and addressing the desires of the end-user customer. Vaunting product attributes–the default marketing formula among many companies–will only move the needle so far. What’s often lacking is the missing link: direct marketing to end-user customers, based on genuine insight into how the products benefit end-users and addresses their needs.” [...]

“One of the best ways that companies can begin to engage with end-users directly is through specialized “vertical” media. As opposed to marketing through a blanketed wide-ranging approach, the vertical strategy focuses on targeted sources where interested customers look to get specialized information. There is a web of trade journals, blogs, Internet forums, and social media outlets that target every relevant end-user, including those who influence them. This media is usually on the look-out for quality content–be it bylined articles or expert commentary. There are few better ways to build a company’s reputation with the individuals or groups that will ultimately purchase and use their product.”

9 November 2013

The rise of the mobile-born

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The mobile-born generation will drive a radical rethinking of office productivity, writes Paul Holland, a general partner at Foundation Capital,

“Fast-forward a few years and we’ll see a new workplace with workstations akin to air traffic control centers powered by multiple touch-, swipe- and voice-enabled devices, allowing workers to visualize and manipulate information tactically, driving the adoption of new user-interfaces and fundamental changes in software and hardware. Think the new FOX newsroom, just without the “fair and balanced” reporting.

The way we interact with colleagues or business partners will change as we move to a mobile enterprise environment. We’re beginning to see new companies focused on augmented memory. Refresh, for instance, has created a dossier to put an end to small talk for your next business meeting. A nice-to-have now, but as the mobile-born mature, these services will become a must-have.

But this is just the beginning. It’s hardly far-fetched to imagine companies that exist and are run entirely in the cloud by a de-territorialized mobile workforce. Already we carry much of our day job’s office communications, data, colleagues, customers and products around in our pockets. This trend will only accelerate as the mobile-born found their own companies around entirely new expectations for organizational structures and workforce optimization.”

3 November 2013

Ethnography: is your company missing the train?

 

Michael Ohler, Phil Samuel and Mark McMurray of BMGI argue in Industry Week that focusing on human behavior and personal experiences can help you discover unmet customer needs and gain a deeper understanding of your customer.

“Ethnography does not start with a hypothesis or a model that the researcher will then try to invalidate and accept as “useful” if he or she fails to do so. Rather, the output of ethnographic research is a frame, pattern or trend that allows putting the vast amount of gathered information into a meaningful context. Sound ethnographic research may require a trained and eventually certified professional. Practitioners also emphasize the need to “give yourself sufficient time” for such studies.

While ethnography is an inductive method, its output can be used for further quantitative deductive research, such as surveys and statistical analysis.”

21 October 2013

Conference Review: UX STRAT 2013, Part 1

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UX STRAT, the first every user experience strategy conference, took place in September in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center. Pabini Gabriel-Petit was there and she published a first chapter – dealing mainly with logistics and conference experience – in a three-part review.

21 September 2013

Financial Times on EPIC conference

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This week, business anthropologists from all over the world descended on the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference at London’s Royal Institution, the historic site where Michael Faraday first demonstrated the power of electricity, reports Emma Jacobs in the Financial Times.

Over three days, practitioners discussed applications of anthropology in the business world, covering such issues as big data and clinical trials. Addressed by such luminaries in the field as Genevieve Bell, who has worked at Intel for the past 15 years, the event is an opportunity to meet kindred spirits.

In the US, anthropologists have been hired for more than two decades by technology groups including Intel, Apple and Xerox. Microsoft is said to be the second-largest employer of anthropologists in the world, behind the US government. Technology groups descended on anthropology in order to understand the diverse markets they operated in.

6 September 2013

Four new papers by anthropologist Brigitte Jordan

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Brigitte Jordan, the legendary corporate anthropologist, once described as one of the “godmothers” of design ethnography, has posted four new papers on her website:

The Double Helix of Learning: Knowledge Transfer in Traditional and Techno-Centric Communities
Draft. Comments appreciated.
In this paper I formulate a new, integrated theory of learning and show how it plays itself out in three distinct learning ecologies: the ethno-obstetric practices of Yucatec Maya village midwives, the operations room of a U.S. airline where ground operations are coordinated, and a set of global industrial factories where silicon wafers are processed into computer chips. I do this in order to argue that since time immemorial, consistently and continuously, two kinds of knowledge and skill acquisition have existed that are exercised to varying degrees in those settings in a constant process of mutual adjustment, suggesting that they have co-existed with different kinds of balance and legitimization throughout history and across societies. I provide evidence that the ancient, experiential, immersion-based kind of learning is massively present in high-tech industrial workplaces, and suggest that it will be increasingly useful and recognized as valuable as the world moves into the digital age.

Dancing with Tools: How Technologies Have Shaped Society and Vice Versa
Anthropology News (March/April): 54:3-4:6-7.
We have been in bed with tools from the beginning. Every societal advance that we can trace or imagine has involved an intimate interplay between tools and social formations in the making. Now, at a time when the world is crying out for tools that help manage the uncertainties of globalization, automation and the digital revolution, we should consider what we can learn from the millions of years our ancestors have been engaged in making (and living with) tools not only for making things, but also for making sense of the world. – See more at: http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2013/02/07/dancing-with-tools-2/#sthash.AzzPsHfU.dpuf

Advancing Ethnography in Corporate Environments: Challenges and Emerging Opportunities
Walnut Creek, CA. Left Coast Press
In this innovative volume, twelve leading scholars from corporate research labs and independent consultancies tackle the most fundamental and contentious issues in corporate ethnography. Organized in pairs of chapters in which two experts consider different sides of an important topic, these provocative encounters go beyond stale rehearsals of method and theory to explore the entanglements that practitioners wrestle with on a daily basis. The discussions are situated within the broader universe of ethnographic method and theory, as well as grounded in the practical realities of using ethnography to solve problems in the business world. The book represents important advances in the field and is ideal for students and scholars as well as for corporate practitioners and decision makers.
The linked file contains the book’s introduction by Brigitte Jordan, who is also the editor of the book.

Pattern Recognition in Human Evolution and Why It Matters for Ethnography, Anthropology and Society
Chapter 12, Pp. 193-213 in: Advancing Ethnography in Corporate Environments: Challenges and Emerging Opportunities, Brigitte Jordan, ed. Walnut Creek, CA. Left Coast Press
This final chapter [of the same book referenced above] is concerned with a world that has been irrevocably changed by the arrival of the Internet and the massive amounts of data its affordances have generated. It speaks to issues that are of fundamental concern for all of us who are thinking about where we are coming from and where we are going, given that we find ourselves in a present that experiences unprecedented changes in the material and symbolic environments in which we live, facing an uncertain future, and, significantly, coming from a more or less unexamined past that goes back several million years. What do these versions of the world have to do with each other? Why are we “we” and “here,” and not “something other” or “somewhere else”?
We are concerned then with a number of wide-ranging issues, from the basic existential questions that confront society today to specific questions about the role of anthropology and ethnography in a world of ever-increasing complexity.
This chapter attempts to build a case for the significance of evolution for ethnography as a methodology, for anthropology as a discipline, and, in the end, for the future of our society.

6 September 2013

Experience design is now part of business logic

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Om Malik of GigaOm argues that the cambrian explosion of mobile apps and cloud-based services as well as the exponential growth of data has led him to a very simple understanding: user experience is part of business logic.

“The emergence of the cloud has made a lot of the underlying technologies into commodities. Instead, the focus has shifted to creating smart and emotional experiences that use these ample commodities. The experiences are based on our social connections and are shaped by conclusions we can derive from data, but ultimately we need to make the experience memorable: and that is where design thinking comes into play. It is experience as a part of business logic.”

2 September 2013

Ericsson Report: Identifying the needs of tomorrow’s video consumers

tvandmedia

The Ericsson ConsumerLab TV & Media 2013 report (presentation) looks at how the explosion of connected mobile devices in the home has opened a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to viewing TV and video content.

Consumer viewing habits now involve so much more than just the living room TV and traditional broadcast services. Today people take their entertainment with them around the house – and beyond.

Key findings

Mobile devices make up an increasing share of TV and video viewing
> 72 percent use mobile devices at least weekly for video viewing. 42 percent do this outside the home.

TV is becoming a multiscreen and multitasking activity
> 75 percent multitask by using mobile devices while watching TV. 1 in 4 even watch multiple video sources at the same time.

Even late adopters are becoming advanced video users
> As many as 41 percent of 65–69 year olds studied stream on-demand/time shifted TV and video content, including YouTube, on a
more than weekly basis.

Video-On-Demand (VOD) is increasingly used for relaxation viewing while linear and scheduled TV is shifting to appointment viewing
> The value of linear TV is becoming more focused on live sports, events and other content with high ‘here and now’ appeal. Social viewing continues to be closely linked to this kind of content.

User-Generated Content (UGC) is becoming increasingly important
> It is not only being used for entertainment, but also for education, how-to guides and watching product reviews. In fact, 82 percent use YouTube or a similar service at least monthly.

We are witnessing the birth of aggregated, pick-and-mix TV solutions
> The quest has begun to become the first easy to use, à la carte TV solution provider that aggregates consumer TV and video needs. Consumers rank having an à la carte TV offering as the fifth most important aspect of their viewing experience.

1 September 2013

Abraham Maslow and the pyramid that beguiled business

maslowpyramid

The psychologist Abraham Maslow’s theory of human motivation is 70 years old but continues to have a strong influence on the world of business. What is it, and is it right?

Maslow’s friend, management guru Warren Bennis, believes the quality underlying all Maslow’s thinking was his striking optimism about human nature and society.

“Abe Maslow, a Jewish kid who really grew up poor, represented the American dream,” he says. “All of his psychology really had to do with possibility, not restraints. His metaphysics were all about the possibilities of change, the possibilities of the human being to really fit into the democratic mode.”

29 August 2013

Seeing the elephant: defragmenting user research

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“Forget Big Data — right now, our bigger problem is fragmented data that comes from siloed user research teams.”

Just as we favor the research tools that we find familiar and comfortable, large organizations often use research methods that reflect their own internal selection biases. As a result, they miss out on detecting (and confirming) interesting patterns that emerge concurrently from different research silos. And they likely won’t learn something new and important.

IA thought leader Lou Rosenfeld explains how balance, cadence, conversation, and perspective provide a framework enabling your research teams to think across silos and achieve powerful insights even senior leadership can understand.

28 August 2013

Ethnographic stories for market learning

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The July 2013 issue of the Journal of Marketing (a publication of AMA, the American Marketing Association) describes the results of a comprehensive study (pdf) by Julian Cayla and Eric J. Arnould on the way various organizations use ethnography to better represent the customer’s lived experience to managers.

The authors’ findings highlight how in many leading firms, ethnographic stories play a creatively disruptive role in: 1) challenging firms’ received wisdom about consumer behavior; 2) helping managers walk in the customer’s shoes; and 3) developing new business ideas.

In these three areas (market understanding; consumer empathy; market innovation), ethnographic storytelling has been a driving force in improving the tracking of market evolution, changing the way organizations connect with consumers, and stimulating innovative thinking.

“Although ethnography has become a popular research approach in many organizations, major gaps exist in the field’s understanding of the way it operates in the corporate world, particularly in how ethnography facilitates market learning. Drawing from extensive fieldwork in the world of commercial ethnography, the authors describe how ethnographic stories give executives a unique means of understanding market realities. By working through the rich details of ethnographic stories infused with the tensions, contradictions, and emotions of people’s everyday lives, executives are better able to grasp the complexity of consumer cultures. Overall, this research should help managers leverage the catalytic effects of ethnographic storytelling in their efforts to learn about and understand market contexts.”

Julien Cayla is Assistant Professor of Marketing, Nanyang Business School; Research Fellow at the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight; and Visiting Professor, Euromed Management. Eric J. Arnould is Professor of Marketing, University of Bath, and Visiting Adjunct Professor, Southern Denmark University.

20 August 2013

IBM on user experience design

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IBM believes that all users have the right to an enjoyable experience when using a computer. They have therefore decided to share the knowledge they have acquired from their own practical experience to help others create hardware and software that is easy for everyone to use.

Design concepts
In this section IBM discusses the users’ bill of rights that it subscribes to, the principles that drive successful user interface design, and models that promote designing for ease of use.
- What is user experience design?
- What is a user interface?
- Design principles
- User rights
- The three models

Design patterns
Users employ software to achieve specific goals. Also, user interface designers have goals for the designs they create. Design Patterns provide established solutions based on sound design principles that enable these goals as they occur within specific task and environmental contexts.

Initial experience
The initial experience a user has in taking a new product out of the box and setting it up, in preparation for use, creates a lasting impression and constitutes an important aspect of the total user experience. We offer these guidelines and insights to help other software and hardware companies design initial experiences that are productive and satisfying for users. We also offer suggestions for effective evaluation and testing of the initial experience.

User-Centered Design
User-Centered Design is a well-established process that is used by IBM and many other organizations to deliver products that meet users’ expectations. This process has been supplemented by the Outside-In Design approach, which brings a focus on business value, and by the Agile approach to development, which is a set of best practices that can be used to support iterative development to improve time to market and stakeholder value.

An Agile approach to User Experience and Design
With more development moving to an Agile process, User Experience and Design (UXD) professionals are faced with the task of adapting their activities, deliverables, and even their own role to an Agile development process. Education on general Agile development principles and activities is readily available. While Agile development principles and best practices such as continuous user feedback and iterative development are familiar to UXD professionals, the focus on efficiency and time-boxed iterations can present a challenge. All these best practices are targeted at maintaining a focus on stakeholders and users while increasing productivity and efficiency.

6 August 2013

The business case for service design

 

Service designer Bill Hollins shares his thoughts on why service design makes business sense and argues that more businesses should invest in employing a service designer.

1. Good customer service + quality product = brand loyalty
2. Rising consumer expectations
3. Integrating technology
4. Maximising resources
5. Innovating services
6. Looking abroad: the impact of services

The article is published on the website of the UK Design Council.

6 August 2013

User experience is not just design, it’s the key to innovation and growth

rev-jjg

Brian Solis met up with Jesse James Garrett (author of The Elements of User Experience and Co-Founder of Adaptive Path) to talk about the state of user experience (UX), its role in the future of business, and how UX deserves the attention of the c-suite.

In the discussion, Garret shares how research, psychology, behavior and design can open the doors to meaningful creativity for design and product experience strategies. But more importantly, he shares how executives across the organization can learn from the UX team to improve services, business models, and overall customer relationships.

6 August 2013

User experience is more than design – it’s strategy

 

t’s time that we expand the role of User Experience beyond execution, beyond output, and yes, even beyond design, writes Christopher Grant Ward, Director of Product Strategy and User Experience at SUBTXT.

“The most important thing I’ve learned in my career is that User Experience is not simply about designing for customers, but thinking strategically about customer behaviors, passions, and desires. User Experience provides an intellectual entry point, a framework that can give corporate leaders another perspective for making decisions and solving problems for customers. The UX skillset encompasses more than just design skills. It provides the foundation of a company’s customer strategy. [...]

User Experience is not just about design. It is about the strategic understanding of users and their behavior. If we are to contribute strategically, UX professionals must be willing and able to take responsibility for their final decisions and accept the corporate accountability that comes with making critical decisions about customers. We must be willing to go outside our design skillset and embrace all corporate functions, including finance, technology, marketing, and sales.”

6 August 2013

Putting the customer at the centre of your retail business

Female shop assistant

Oracle recently conducted some research into the shopping needs and expectations of shoppers in Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US – in an effort to better understand the role and importance of service to the retail experience.

Here are some of the things they found shoppers value most.

23 July 2013

SAP reaching out through user experience and design thinking

samyen

Recent SAP application forays include everything from a My Runway fashion shopping application to wellness applications that involve wearable sensors to Big Data analytic applications for the National Basketball Association (NBA).

According to Sam Yen, global head of design and user experience at SAP, the end goal is to expose as many end users as possible to SAP software in the expectation that it will increase demand for more traditional SAP enterprise application software.

Yen says that SAP will leverage HTML5 and Design Thinking principles to transform every SAP application regardless of whether it runs on premise or in the cloud.

What’s driving all of these efforts is a concerted SAP effort to step out of the back office. As the line between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) applications continues to blur, the quality of the user experience has become paramount. In addition, the mobile and cloud computing era more business executives are playing a bigger role in deciding which application vendors to go with. Given SAP’s historic challenges with user interfaces, the embracing of Design Thinking principles represents an effort to make SAP software more appealing at all levels.

See also this video interview with Sam Yen and an earlier post on SAP’s new UX strategy.