Betting on the new horse in Finnish metals and engineering industry: user experience as a business driver

By Hannamaija Määttä, Maaria Nuutinen and Maarit Halttunen

How to get the entire organisation on board with UX? Lessons learned from the FIMECC UXUS programme.

Five years ago, some of Finland’s metals and engineering industry companies decided bravely to bet on the new horse and embarked on an expedition towards user experience driven differentiation in the FIMECC UXUS programme. This post aims at illuminating one of the main conclusions of the programme: in order for companies to truly benefit from user experience (UX), a cultural transformation is needed throughout the organisation. All units have to adopt a user experience -based innovation and business logic, a UX-mindset. This hidden part of organisational culture exists within organisational structures, management styles and daily practices as well as in the attitudes towards renewals. Adopting a UX-mindset enables the transition from a strongly technology and product-oriented company towards a more customer and user value-oriented company, which is also needed when aiming to fully utilize UX-based competitiveness potentials.

In the beginning of the FIMECC UXUS -project, getting the UX message across to the entire organization was considered as a great challenge by the participating companies. Many times, UX was seen as the responsibility of a design team or an R&D team. In other words, UX was understood to be something extra to be included in physical products, not a shared philosophy or mindset guiding the organization’s business operations. One of the greatest challenges was to get sales people on board, as they were distant from R&D and did not participate in the development of UX-products. Connecting UX goals to an organisation’s larger goals is important when aiming to make all employee groups participate in adopting a UX-mindset. When UX is visible in the organisation’s brand or strategy, it is also acknowledged inside the organisation, and its meaning is easier to understand and its benefits are more clearly seen by all. Having UX on the management’s agenda is thus crucial. Special attention should be given both to the actors involved in product development and to those collaborating closely with customers.

One of the key prerequisites for adopting a shared UX-mindset is that all employees in the organisation should understand how they can provide good experiences through their own work. It is crucial to get people talking about UX by building experiential forums that enable stronger collaboration with customers and users, and within the organisation between different units. During the Fimecc UXUS programme, the participating companies discovered that various different means can be utilized to strengthen the UX-mindset:

  • KONE’s People Flow Day, an experiential training event for employees:
    • An event organized every year to help all employees better understand what the UX –based strategy of KONE means. The event is designed to bring the employees normally not connected to UX-issues closer to the users and customers by acting as researchers, talking to customers, interviewing the public, making on-site observations and filling in questionnaires. Through this event, KONE supports the mindset transformation from product-centric thinking to experience-based thinking within the organization.
  • Konecranes’ field study methods:
    • Field studies are utilized as a method to support the holistic understanding of the customers and users and of the contexts they operate in. The field studies are conducted by R&D people, who interview and observe customers and users at customer organizations. Disseminating the knowledge gained increases the awareness of what UX means in the context of various customers and markets.
  • Rocla’s internal collaboration between R&D and marketing and communications:
    • The interaction and collaboration of R&D and marketing has been strengthened by integrating the two units. They work closely together and through the collaboration ensure that marketing people understand the technology behind product features and that the R&D people’s thinking is based on user-benefits, not only technical features. Through co-creation, specific messages and tools for different touchpoints can be created (for example in sales situations) that bring out the UX features essential to products.
  • Metso Automation’s visualisation and storifying:
    • To spark discussion and enthusiasm towards UX, Metso Automation utilizes visualisation and storifying: stories from users, videos from user environments, illustrated concepts and prototypes of future tools are efficient ways to arouse discussion around UX. The prototypes and visualizations build an innovation environment where the whole organization, developers, customers and users, can discuss the present and future products.

Now, at the end of the FIMECC UXUS programme, the time has come to claim the prizes. If you wish to learn more about how the participating companies have succeeded in making UX a competitive factor in their business, browse through the presentations at the final seminar, see the videos and booklets – and familiarise yourself with the final publication that will be published November 17th 2015.

If you also wish to learn more about the results from other Fimecc –programmes, register to the 8th annual Fimecc seminar held November 17-18, 2015 at Oulu:

http://www.fimecc.com/sites/www.fimecc.com/files/FIMECC_Annual_seminar_program_2015.pdf

References:

Määttä, H., Nuutinen, M: & Halttunen, M. Adopting a UX-mindset – means for getting the entire organisation on board with UX. In: User experience and usability in complex systems 2010-2015. Final Report 1/2015, Fimecc publications series 8, Tampere, 2015.

Heikkinen, M. and Määttä, H. (2013): “Design-driven product innovation in enhancing user experience oriented organizational culture in b-to-b organisations”, presented in Tsinghua International Design Management –conference 1.-2.12.2013

Nuutinen, M., Heikkinen, M. and Määttä, H. (2013): “Evaluating the levels of design management in user experience-oriented companies –experiences from Finnish metals and engineering industry”, presented in the 2nd Cambridge Academic Design Management Conference, 4.-5.9.2013 http://www.cadmc.org/CADMC2013Proceedings.pdf

Nuutinen, M., Seppänen, M., Mäkinen, S. J. & Keinonen, T. (2011). ”User experience in complex systems: crafting a conceptual framework”. The 1st Cambridge Academic Design Management Conference, University of Cambridge, 7 – 8 September 2011, Institute for Manufacturing (IfM).

2 thoughts on “Betting on the new horse in Finnish metals and engineering industry: user experience as a business driver

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