Improved requirements gathering using design thinking solidifies project alignment and reduces specification cycle from 6 weeks to 6 days! All thanks to 6 hours of Human Centered Design.
Collaborative approach ensures participation and enhances alignment at the critical early stage
User centered designing optimizes end user acceptance
The needs of each stakeholder are addressed and aligned
Eaton Corporation’s P1 program provides comprehensive industrial and mobile electro hydraulic solutions by bringing their clients more efficient, reliable, safe and sustainable to electro hydraulic power management. These projects are frequently ground breaking syntheses of technologies used together for the very first time or in completely new ways.
Highly engineered solutions such as those provided by Eaton’s P1 program require very accurate requirements gathering and highly aligned, mutual understanding with their customer. Employing the Maverick Innovation Lab and their human centered design techniques with clients early in the discovery process optimizes clarity, vision, and alignment; minimizing the number and impact of inevitable surprises commensurate with custom machine design.
Historically, the design process has been to interview the integrator and explore their ideas for product development. Often there are teams of engineers to be consulted usually filtered through a single point person. Just as in a game of telephone, the message may lose emphasis and even get spun or diluted during the communication process. The logistics of scheduling the interviews can dilute the experience through lost momentum. It is not unusual for a first iteration of a design to miss the mark by a wide margin.
“Typically there are two point people; one each from the customer and the sales side and all of the information is relayed to the engineers through these two. The logistics alone can make this a very inefficient process. Plus you’re relying on their interpretation.”
Employing a third party using Human Centered Design techniques to do the requirements gathering provides an atmosphere free from selling and the implied and real pressures that can inhibit full cooperation. Eaton P1 clients and their customers are free to explore and discover guided by Maverick’s facilitators.
Eaton’s P1 integrator, a hydraulic distributor in Canada set up the session with their customer a high profile oil well rigs manufacturer embarking on a modernization of an established product; a well controller station for an on land application. Eaton hired Maverick to run a joint innovation session with the P1 division, their distributor/integrator and the well manufacturer to explore and shape the re-design of the highly technical machine.
The technology involved in this upgrade would include computer control and touchscreen interfaces along with hydraulic and electrical advances. This unchartered area offers plenty of opportunity for user experience enhancement, but having never engineered anything like this before, how would they vet the features available to those that would truly be appreciated by the users?
Instead of guessing at what a user might want, the assembled group of engineers, salespeople, programmers and managers pooled their experience and created persona profiles of several typical end users. From these the range of needs that these personas provided allowed informed ideation on how best to delight them with features (and some familiarity) without overwhelming them. Design thinking techniques included parallel processing and affinity clustering to create and organize the ideas. Prioritizing and assigning value and cost to the ideas was accomplished through bull’s eye diagramming and importance/difficulty matrices. These methods, and others, were done in teams and then presented to the group providing a voice to all involved as well as very organically building alignment and a sense of multi-disciplined collaboration. In contrast to multiple phone and email exchanges done over a period of months, (and all the issues that can bring), an entire team of stakeholders worked intensely for six hours to forge a unified plan for the controller re-design.
The technical work remained to be done by the appropriate engineers, but there was now real, unified direction from team members from both sides of the equation that already had the experience of working together successfully.
“Achieving a unified scheme at this stage of the project cannot be underestimated. The traditional method of assigning engineering tasks and working in isolation often leads to a seemingly unending string of meetings as consensus is developed. Addressing a project with a diverse group of stakeholders streamlines this process and provides a unified vision from the outset.”