July 20, 2016

What can Industrial IOT data products designers learn from Harper Lees "To kill a Mockingbird" ?

"You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walked around it" - Lee Harper To Kill a Mockingbird

One of the most impressionable book for me was Lee Harper's   'To kill a Mocking bird'. Scout had a tough day at school and Atticus Finch is helping her deal with it (The actual quote is outlined above) .  His simple but effective point was powerful - by putting ourselves  in another's persons shoe and feeling their pain, we will better be able to deal with a difficult situation.
We at Flutura found this to be extremely true as we embarked on our journey to design Intelligent IOT data products for the industrial world. Let’s understand how ...

The Industrial world consists of a variety of persons all of whom experience various pain points on a variety of dimensions
  1. Reliability engineers
  2. Field maintenance folks
  3. Command center monitors
  4. Electro-mechanical product engineers
  5. New Digital business model group
  6. OEM customer service engineers

All of them have a specific mental model and have formed a pretty intimate relationship with the electro-mechanical assets they interact with which are increasing getting digitized with rugged sensors. So how did 'extreme empathy' help?

Let’s take one specific experience we encountered In Houston we were talking to a number of Oil and Gas OEMs and they mentioned that ratio of maintenance engineers to reliability engineer is 1200:1. This puts an enormous pressure and keeps the reliability engineers awake at night. How can Cerebra (our product) help? Srikanth & Rick our "eyes" in Houston, dug deeper and spent days in the life of reliability engineers...

  1. What do Reliability engineers need to KNOW?
  2.  How do Reliability engineers FEEL?
  3. What specifically does a Reliability engineer DO?
  4. What are their BELIEF systems?
  5. What STORIES do Reliability engineers tell each other? 
  6. Where specifically is PAIN encountered while executing a reliability analysis task?
  7. What sub optimal SOLVERS do Reliability engineers use to solve for their current pain?
  8. What MICRO INTERACTIONS occur in the current workflow between a field maintenance people interacting with the reliability engineer?

They empathized by mapping the Reliability engineers’ journey as he/she went about doing tasks to get specific jobs done and the specific friction they encounter along that journey. In 8 weeks Srikanth & Rick by "soaking" themselves in the reliability engineers’ context, mapped out a phenomenal catalog of reliability micro insights based on direct immersion in the marketplace. These unique, powerful industry factoids (spanning technical and mental models) were then decomposed into specific Cerebra features and methodically baked into the product creating "ahas" at a rate we have never seen before. (Rick is a happy camper as his pipeline looks juicy :)
The point is - Once we feel their pain thru direct experience we were able to generate deep micro insights which are "Non Google able” (not in public domain). These "Non Google able insights" can then power the product and dramatically increase the resonance with the target personas giving a tremendous advantage to leap frog competition in a hyper competitive marketplace. The last 3 months have been "orbit shifting" for all of us at Flutura. Our learning can be summarized in one line -  feeling the pain is a powerful source of competitive advantage. Thank you Harper Lee :)