Designing with the Engineer and Operator in Mind (Part 2)

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March 21, 2018

In part two of our series, we will address common challenges when designing experiences within the energy and chemicals sector and how to overcome them. Haven’t read part one of this series? Click here to learn how to design experiences around the operator and engineer and understand the power of the moments that matter.

The challenges of designing an experience within the energy and chemicals sector is likely palatable by now, as many organizations across these industries are not necessarily built with this sort of thinking in mind (whether it be in the mindset of its employees or the tools and techniques by which it goes about doing its business). However, this does not mean that the techniques of those well-versed in Experience Design cannot be adopted. In the context of implementing a digital landscape, there is one technique that can help accelerate the conversation: the persona.

A persona is a representative portrait of an engineer or operator that provides distinct categorization and description of the different needs, goals, preferences, and motivations of a group. The persona crystalizes the undeniable truths about groups within the engineer or operator community that will make decisions easier throughout the implementation of a digital landscape. It helps bring hard numbers about stakeholders to life and drives a real understanding of the how or why or what an experience must be to drive satisfaction.

When applied successfully, a persona can help organizations create:

  • Meaningful, targeted communication that informs and inspires employees
  • Tools and technology that drive efficiency and effectiveness
  • Employee-centric culture and organization
  • Processes and governance that empower employees
  • Interactions that are easy, relevant, and orchestrated

Personas are helpful when an organization needs a consistent and actionable means by which to understand how the digital landscape will serve its engineer and operator base. They are not the interaction or experience, but a tool to help build an effective digital transformation program. Development of personas requires expertise across many areas including: focus group facilitation, interviewing, graphic design (depending on output type), and experience design. It can be accomplished through the following steps:

  1. Gather – conduct surveys, focus groups, and interviews with stakeholders of the digital transformation and converged IT/OT landscape
  2. Craft – develop insights and cluster needs of the various groups that emerge to construct outlines of personas
  3. Form – create visuals and narratives to support the personas
  4. Inform – model the future digital state and what an IT/OT convergence program would look like based on the identified personas and developing guiding strategies for implementation

While experience design is new in the energy and chemicals sector, it should not be discounted, as it has successfully driven some of the most compelling “moments that matter” that millions of consumers have daily. The lessons learned from other industries in this space can be readily applied to driving successful outcomes in digital transformation that enables IT/OT convergence.

© 2018 THE NORTH HIGHLAND COMPANY.