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Nov. 5, 2021

E224 - Does Remote Working Foster Innovation?

Recorded live on November 4th, 2021, hosted by Nick Roome, &  Barry Kirby.

| Recorded live on November 4th, 2021, hosted by Nick Roome, &  Barry Kirby.


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  • Remote Work Can Be Better for Innovation Than In-Person Meetings


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Welcome to human factors yeah your weekly podcast for human factors psychology and design. Hello everybody welcome back to another episode of human factors cast this is episode 200 24 we're recording this live on 11/4/2021 I mean host Nick Rome I'm joined today by Mister berry Kirby hello good to be here just in time yeah the time we're we're actually rarely recording in on the same day as of now yes which is odd. Yes we we just lost yeah we just lost an exam it's time so which club is kind of support by surprises you message me saying we're about to go live on my but I'm selling my house and I still need to pick up the phone anyway well we will this is why we do a 30 minute pre show. We do have a great show for you tonight we're talking about whether or not remote working can foster innovation and later going to take some questions from the community about the most important questions you can ask a you X. designer or researcher as well as what a day in the life of a human factors practitioner looks like as well as kind of you know engineering and human factors that's it's all all inclusive we're talk about all of it tonight. But we got some programming notes first year. 12 OO to the human factors podcast that is a show that you do berry 8070 and but you've also commit you also come join me this week yeah that's what this that's what this bump is for that will you wanna tell everybody about about your podcast what we did last week yeah absolutely so we my podcast is that is a more interview of great and noble people within the human factors community and how could I have such a. Such an audacious way of describing it if I didn't have you yourself Nicole to tell us more about my this is about how you run this podcast so yes so you can join the fold and read the in depth interview so you'll know more about Nick and his motivations for white okay what does this broadcast the stuff that goes on in the background to make the podcast thank you and have a listen to travel to the human factors will constitute a trouble to custom home and you could have listened to Nick yeah you you might have found it in your feed last week that's what I was alluding to with a little surprise. Last week show but yes berry puts on a tremendous show over there highly recommend going and listening to those if not to hear me drone on but to hear other great minds talk about their work. I'm. We are now streaming on linkedin so if you're watching us over there hello thank you for watching us on this platform is brand new to us I think we've only streamed one other time on linked in and decide from that I don't think we got much else going on with some conference coverage coming up but we'll we'll get that out when we get that out. Anyway we know why you are all here you are here for the news so let's get into it. Yes it is time for human factors news this is the part where we look all over the internet talk about anything related to the field human factors very what is our news story this week. So this week we look at whether remote working to be better for innovation and in person meetings so fear of losing the initiative H. pushing many leaders to reject hybrid virtual work arrangements yes the article from top Scientific American I would suggest the hybrid remote teams can game and gain any any the tip of the vantage and out compete in person teams by utilizing virtual brainstorming led to pesky explosive discrepancy between leadership believes in scientific evidence so the article suggests that leaders often fail to adopt innovative best practice because of cognitive biases that rogue cognitive biases about way things work research you behave aside to see the benefit in idea generation from a face to face brainstorming come from 2 main areas what evils ID synergy where underwent ideas shared by one participant help triggers ideas into the participants so cascade effects the other is social social fate so Tatian away at participants feel motivated when they know they collaborated with that P. is on the same goals for the role working together. The article highlights of these benefits can come with counterproductive effect effects an example is production blocking that's when someone has the innovative idea June a group discussion but other people talking about a different topic I'm not even I did at the the idea innovative idea gets lost in the mix. Many people also impacted by second major problem for traditional brainstorming evaluation apprehension so members may feel worried about sharing their ideas openly because of anxiety about what that piece will think of them. So trying to predict traditional brainstorming via video conference H. is what we all have to do through the through this fundament is a poor substitute for the energizing presence of colleagues in a conference room this weakening the benefits of social facilitation. The author of the article promotes a 7 step model for asynchronous virtual brainstorming where individual ideation is facilitated moderated in isolation and chatted nana misli and then bought together at the end for a discussion so a bit of a a hybrid effect that. So I mean it's not like what do you think. So when I picked this article during office hours I thought it would be a great discussion since we brought innovation a few weeks ago during the it came from section of the show. I believe we talked about what he what is innovation. And you know it I thought to be a good springboard to talk about things like idea generation in the psychology behind brainstorming. Just generally so I will get into a little bit later but I mean the focus here really seems to be more on the anonymous aspect of being remote and kind of utilizing that and and really in my mind and I I think the author is kind of making this point to its I feel like all these things could be communicated in person with the right tools and the right leadership style as well. Which kind of weakens their overall argument that. The remote working is better for innovation right. He said that that's kind of my general thoughts. What are you merry yes sorry I don't know and they they sort of got my hackles up to a certain extent because I think for some reasons the focus of me the report of the article is that it's a quite a number of ideas produced just about the quantity of ideas with the with the quality of the ideas so good innovation is not just and the number of ideas produced in a session it is it's it's good to have a certain amount of quality in several decks to do what you do to be undertaken anywhere we still talk about this a win when we told our innovation it's more than just an idea and it's it's very much a it is an overused term at the moment. But for me it was also conflating that idea of if people working from home and then there then they're more innovative and and maybe that's not the case that the. The number that they were they were pulling out well I can convey to the idea of innovation and employee retention so yes we have less innovation in organizations where people leaving because you know people like you cultivate I'm. Before me I guess in in real real time real practice an actual running such a group just today. Women group work and I've done I've facilitated north a lot of these groups throughout the pandemic and we made use of some really good deals on the rasam fantastic tools out there. It's just simply not as rich as in person work and I think arm yeah I think that that's interesting. Fundamentally some people just don't close out for doing that sort of brainstorming group work so that that goes to what you're saying in terms of facilitation you should be on the right people in the room you couldn't do that sort of stuff and also the visit facilitation the is is absolutely key it's a beautiful day such session have the skills to lead you to be to make sure people can bring in their thoughts their bodies because they're in the room and you want to get the value of it is up to the chair of the leader of the in in the R. Gile I will talk about servant leaders quite a lot and that's up to me what that meant to do that but to make sure that people can bring out what they do so that if you don't if you own a group Austin said the opposite agree whether it be so things weren't happening that I would say it's it's much says much of much is about them as it does about the group they were reading books the process to talk about the end I think it's really good will the you that the 7 step process that directly because it's similar to what I use myself you get people's ideas remotely so you can pull some of these things together and then you you have a physical event where you can pull them out if you got a team that works well together the next with that but does a lot. It allows you to optimize time so you could argue we use a so most of the process to pull together like the show notes full for what we doing so we didn't do a lot of it remotely but that's something and then bring it all together. So I like the process I just don't think the actually followed his argument. What we'll talk yeah we'll we'll talk a little bit more about the article here towards the end I do want to back up I wanna talk about 2 things I wanna talk about innovation itself define define innovation I also want to talk a little bit about some of the background on brainstorming and idea generation. Odds come from like an industry standard let's start with innovation berry I know you have some thoughts on innovation. As illustrated by our discussion a couple weeks ago it's pretty strong thoughts on it I want to let's revisit that conversation here what is innovation to you. So for me innovation is the transfer of ideas from one domain to another there were no truly new ideas out there in the world. Right to the restroom you know the roster changes but the vast majority of what people do is the same idea in one of the main site by will did that in defense of mine and then we got a flight to to something where it's maybe not used so much the need to true innovation that comes is how to adapt to mold that that when you see one domain and make it applicable and to get the value in and of the divine. Nice and simple yeah that's good that's good I mean there's there's so many definitions about what innovations. Is out there right now I you know from from some of the pro problem in your E. research I did for today show notes a lot of these. Definitions tend to focus on something like a creative process. And they really focus on the need to innovate to and that's just to kind of keep disrupting the space that you're in I think those fit pretty well with your definition if you think about it from just the basic level right you you need some sort of trance radio as well there's a creative process that you can use to get those ideas from other domains and and the transport transferred to another. That's that's the creative process and then there's a need to innovate in in the sense that. There is a problem that needs to be solved with some solution from elsewhere and I think I don't want to get into defining innovation because I think what you said is spot on I agree with you entirely it is very rare to find novel ideas that are not just that that no one 's thought of before yeah. So thinking of all that oh sorry go ahead does it say it is very much that I mean it's not necessarily because some people so take that and say well it's you know you just have to complete ideas but you might just be the inspiration Rome seem a bit saucy comes down to a web designer today who's in office you know and so the things we put in this web design is because I saw it I saw similar idea and on somebody else's web web pages the old could we implement something similar to that so it's the you know it's it's our inspiration on that for you yeah how do you get inspired by these one thing how do I do at the end in a solution for that I'm working. Some might call it begging borrowing and stealing but we call it innovation over the Detroit. So let's box so I mentioned the creative process here let's let's actually talk about it at one sort of industry standard there's not really. I'm sure there's papers on it but. The industry standard is kind of a 4 step creative process we have this preparation incubation illumination and verification we can kind of talk about used up individually but following that process is the creative process right you have the preparation you're you're looking at gathering all that information. Sort of thinking about that inspiration that you're talking about right and an acquiring any knowledge that might sort of help solve the problem at hand. Then you have incubation. You look at all those ideas that you picked out in that preparation phase and and basically let them marinate think about them and. That's it really that's incubation then you then you. Get that aha moment the incubator the illumination sorry. So once you've thought about all this you might finally connect the dots and go okay we can pull this from that of the domain let's let's do it and then the verification phase is really just betting it to make sure that. That implementation is carried out so that's just again kind of high level industry standard for creative process. And I think the 7 steps that this article has it fits really nicely with that. We'll get to that moment any I want to go to you bury any thoughts on the creative process itself any modifications no I don't think I think it actually fits the one thing that it doesn't mention though that out I think we and this is what what are you what might be considered criticism in industry the moment is telling there's some of these things just take time to do and and just come before so the whole preparation and incubation piece of preparation I think it's up to the key but if you if you're having a brainstorming session all you have is not something the more preparation you do so you can actually have things to hands on that type thing then the back to your session M. you'll get it so does the military adage of pride preparation prevents. Performance and and so that that's a pretty keen but then the the incubation piece I often say that substitute you stuff members yet you you know you'll or new team members that you put a quote with the the the best ideas you have have what do you what do the math are you doing you know you're you're not under pressure your things will obstruct the just come to you and good and it's not in the but your bus times I'd attend call is easy when you you know you you you've got the time for you just ID's to sort themselves out just to work through and next that's why you can't do it all in a day's well I I do like to try and have 2 day session when when you look at this type of thing because actually you you having an ability to ever sleep she's also a lot of that as well without illumination moment is the most fun part I thank yeah absolutely said they going the you got you. And again I was would it be in the works of house running today I was trying to explain to. But union members a staff about because I've never done anything like this before so I was like the will go through this and I can't tell you when we get to it I can't tell you when we get to the the answer of what we were doing but when you when you do that you will know when we came to it as exports rise quicker than I thought I thought is going to be and we came to the answer so we will come up to to name a potential future product and we came to light he could be there soon and was like yes. Okay great that's nitty coffee that's brilliant but it wasn't it but it it was really nice for them to but also said you know you it is that you make a moment is it is a piece where you'll turn around and actually happened so I was quite busy with he's like one of the phones as IV Williams if you don't the phone today but he did in the end it was quite nice to see it seat on their faces just how it works so well so now we got into that reputation phase of right just expects us to to Marshall yeah I mean that you're you're absolutely right I think you know one thing I'd add to that is you know as from from anecdotal evidence yet I've. Like stepped away from the work computer and I've been kind of. In my thoughts and. My wife will go are you done for the day and I'm like they don't pay me to work they pay me to think. Like I'm I'm always thinking and so it's like it it's like hard to quantify exactly how much you work on a job because a lot of it in our domain is thinking about stuff right and it's it's what you spend a lot of that time in the incubation pays. You know I'm thinking about process these procedures products that we can possibly well as a lot of alliteration there that we can possibly implement and. Yes it will be you know while I'm changing my kid's diaper something allow yeah that's it your area. The CM I mean we quite look I guess look you're looking at the books me my wife worked in the same inside business doing the same thing and so actually we do we we come wake up in the middle of like to have I just sold it we got this and then yeah I will eat wheat midnight discussions yeah I do I do wanna mention briefly that. There is a modifications on this 4 step process and we got through verification now there's the verification I've seen split up and other steps where it's like the. Sort of recurring testing right cast ballot 8 test validate. Push out and it's kind of like a recurring cycle I do want to mention that because I know there are some graphics out there that do illustrate that that's what we're talking about with their vacation we're testing it and once it has been verified then we move on. So why don't we get into the article discussion proper. Because I think there's. There's a lot to unpack here from this argument that. Remote working itself. Is better for. Basically innovation for this creative process that we're talking about here yes. So let's talk about it you got some points you wanna bring up hello yes. So it's interesting is because I think the reason you cannot deny that actually the whole flexible working piece the ability to work from home as being muted who's your contact as we talked about this before on previous at previous episodes the the the. You have the ability to not not quite how such a such a long commutes better work life balance and all unknown and so stuff has been it's been really good and it's been proven to employers the people with their work from home the notice in there drinking the coffee I mean you know watching TV at the brushy productive. But I think there is still a whole lot of issues that we. That we need to to engage with him was legal issues under softball issues as well so in terms of flexible working itself. If you should be using them for the first now it's it's a standard if you don't need to be in the office you can work from home that you know that that's not a drummer tole and and encouraged I'm but it's going to be doing weights prop possible impracticable for both the employee and the employer because it is still a state of mutual trust. I am technology means that we can do it and as with premium we we we we even with what we did tonight but doesn't mean that we always should. We got it we go strike that right balance one thing that's coming to light for me at the moment in talking to you can fax colleagues and people who were asking vice about setting a program is baby been people in the don't have the appropriate housing to to have a home office did they come to have that space that is nice the way that the comp that there's no way that they can close the door on the there is no standards at the moment full for home office to be to have an appropriate desk with. The I. T. equipment you the right sort of chat and an employees don't have. I have necessarily have in place the funding all the ability to buy old US host of from for the employee and knows what right does the employer have to to dictate what you have in the home as opposed to what you know in in if you're going to the office they have up to right to say you you will use an appropriate task and and and they have the old legal obligation to provide the chair if you need to know what sort of proof your home there was still even there was only 2 months to 2 years into this pandemic there's still people I know who working off the dining room table who working off and on gold which I think is still think is a bit bad don't you just believe I'd switch back I get the sense but not using this approach as something like that and the biggest thing for me excuse mental health issues there is still a lack of understanding truly about the mental health impact of being home all the time and not you know not not gonna own engage with different people being able to share what you doing. The big thing about going to the office I'm only going to a co worker environment is your sharing like minded goals with like minded people and if your home then maybe off your family don't want to know about what you're doing all of the time you know okay if you hide yourself away from them then you're actually still not not a home meet you maybe polluting the home environment so this article so the highlights that does the X. league city kinda conflates the idea that some work from home gives you better innovation but actually none of the evidence that he delivers actually shows that it's actually your delivery better innovation the article itself so gives you that's a the people are more likely to be retained in jobs Berlin yes but just because they're working at home doesn't necessarily mean that they're intuitive that just working and and putting more ideas on the table what again is that the just because the market is on the table just means better innovation just need to go yep there's more. Lights on that so. Yes I still think I think there's a long way to go instill in standing the value that they get not right balance of flexible working I think up to it's a good thing but it doesn't necessarily mean that the the the premise of the out of this article is is correct. Yeah once I mean let's talk about some of the the arguments that the article brings up right they they bring up research from behavioral science. And I I know you said a lot of this in the blur but I think it bears repeating especially as we have the context now of innovation and the creative cycle right Sir I I mean there's this idea generation. Basically that it's it's sad to 2 areas the idea generation come from 2 areas right at the I. day idea synergy and the social social facilitation right so so one dealing with how you share ideas and and how ideas from one person might help spark ideas and another person. And then. The social facilitation bed is the motivation behind. Collaborating with others right with the same goal in mind. So that's one piece of it. They argue that there is counter productive a fax from these. Sort of idea generation. I guess. Do whatever you wanna call the Caesar brainstorming. Idea generation principles I don't know what we would call. So so basically the mention that in terms of this counter productivity you're looking at production blocking again you mention this in the blur but it's basically when. You have an idea but at but everyone else has moved on to something else and you don't want to jump into that conversation with that idea yet because it's not socially acceptable to jump in and be like. I have this idea about something that we talked about before. And I I get the argument there but write stuff down like that it's a process thing like. It's good facilitation D. exactly it this is why god invented post it notes only has posted if you don't have the perfect time to jump to the conversation you should know because you should be told you know he was so exciting just from experience then rocky down slightly down in front of you and and that the prove a point to pick it up all you get to the end and they will actually. You guys are aholes said your piece I want to talk about this right and and the facilitator should be in it you know a good facilitator will say one more round who has something that they haven't said before you know if you have an idea it's also setting the stage if you have an idea write it down on a post it note we'll revisit it I promise and having that promise and the trust that your idea will get heard in those things in those idea production phases is valuable right having having a a good facilitator. I'm gonna talk about this pessimistic optimistic workplace brainstorming struggle. They talk about this in in terms of. Optimism being processing verbally spit balling half baked ideas on the fly this is what is traditionally thought of as brainstorming I to me it sounds more like an introvert extrovert how do people communicate type of thing maybe that's what they're getting at here but. The there's a for me like I'm a I'm an internal process guy I think about things by myself and once I refined that idea then I spit it out where somebody else might just be talk talk talk talk talk there's an idea. And there's a difference between these 2 because like you know maybe maybe the implicit internal person might think that that spit ball idea is well thought through and vice versa somebody may not put somebody who's just spit balling ideas out there throwing ideas out there may not give yours as much weight as you deserve because they might think it's just something that you're throwing out there so there's this Mick mismatch between. Sort of. I guess communication styles which can contribute to the brainstorming and that's another argument that they use. If everybody's thinking through it. If everyone's thinking through these ideas virtually. And putting them all down then. They're all on even footing I think that's I think that's the argument that they're trying to make your between the pessimistic and optimistic approach. Yep I think I'll go back to again out and I guess are good exultation because yeah I mean I could be more the optimist the I do the just was out I will cook going to a session with some ideas that I that I thought through I'm also more than happy to solve things I talk and develop some ideas that way as well embodies knowing if you facilitate the group right you will you should have a mix of them type of people in the room anyway if you if you pulled the right sort of group together I mean sometimes it's not possible to to fully know I got lab if you've already talked about well facilitated groups then you will have invited you hopefully no more than 811 including yourself into into that group and allow you to pull it together new you should however at least an idea of the different type of people you go to the room and if you pulling you know maybe people aren't talking very much so you mean you're in a room and and you would be to be quite to the corner I'll I'll be quite that's and they give you something you want to contribute. Earns and allow you to I do because when you talk about the more introverted. People and they they feel like they need almost a mission to speak of old you know encouraged to bring the idea full with and things like that he took the facility to do that. What you're talking about there's evaluation apprehension that's when somebody in a more junior role or somebody basically that it feels a little self conscious about their ideas being shared openly. It whether it's I. anxiety related or what their peers think you know I think that's that's another sort of argument that this author is using in saying that that is effectively eliminated when you work from home and again it's. How about that facilitation this to me screams bad leadership because. Yeah you should foster an environment where people feel comfortable sharing their ideas you know it's like there's no bad ideas here that is something that you should communicate and you should stick by that because. As people answer these throw out their ideas you don't want to dismiss you don't wanna be dismissive of anybody's ideas because that's that's antithetical to the sort of. The you know the the activity that you were doing in that moment. Yeah and the what's interesting there is as you know it makes a highlight of those status junior group members actually about some very senior stakeholders but the thing he won't contribute because they don't want to look stupid in front of junior people all the doors look stupid in front of clients you know that type of thing and those so I cannot think that again that's not restricted to a particular group of people it's some people are nervous about sharing that roam their ideas and rather than focusing too much on this it is the facilitation but it's also you got the idea of the way you develop a new group of you go to the forming storming norming performing stages and. This is also part of the of the lowing who it where we still technically in the group to take the group if it's a new group through them stages so you get to that point the some people can perform to the best of their ability I don't think so it is a pretty get a hard time from last night but it's it's such an important job with them that's underrated the people don't really have enough effort into into it you think you can just took a brainstorming session together and and it'll just happen and and the magic happens actually there's a I'm going back to what you said earlier about the preparation piece it getting the leader that the if you do not prepare legal preparation then you get somebody good outputs but the preparation needs to be that and they told down facilitation yeah so so all these arguments that I just mentioned. These are from the author of the article here they basically use these to outline the argument that yes these can build teams they can kind of make sure that everyone's on the same page they can encourage collaboration people feel good about their participation but they argue that this maximizing innovation can occur if you do things remotely. And they they have a simple 7 step process would you like to go through that process berry. Not really just high level you know it's so simple to initialize degeneration so do you generate the bodies and have it on like a collaborative tool so you know that could be a simple factual documents or whatever but you have a diesel co working meeting and you looking beyond just basic slamming in as many ideas as you possibly can and also looking the contradiction between ideas but what they should be synonymized and the so that that that gets away from the evaluation apprehension he's all the at the while the other says deal get away from that if your offensive upon the and then I'm done adulting on eyes annoys back to make that much difference they will come back out so then you do a second step 2 which is the fifth still had to categorize his ideas brings them together so cleaning them up and then everybody can go in and evaluate all the ideas a step 3 so they anonymously commenting all on every idea and then we put the pros and cons that type thing so then full stop full you can then have a I did revise idea generation so another ship might be sharing session remotely within the old ideas but also maybe generating new ones as well. Then you go to another clean up stage just like what you do that step 2 so pulling together because Grasim except truck and then you have another evaluation of the revised ideas again so you space the. 2 large labs innovation cycles and then at the end you get together and discuss them so can you could do this Disney you could do it face to face but finally I finalize which ID should be moved forward towards implementation undocked than beacon condiment in going to a lot of stuff as well so Wellsted 7 steps I think it's too large cycles followed by it M. and a review planning meeting. Yeah Hey do you remember when I said that now an industry there's typically a review cycle in there in the creative process yep here it is. I don't know I don't think that yeah I think we'll. Right like I said when I did the did did the initial article I'd I'd I'd quite I've got a part of the process really it is not dissimilar to what we do on a day to day basis anyway I don't I don't think that the idea behind. I don't think B. the anonymous side of things the study provides a valley provides value all of things that that the author suggests. Because actually there is a value in if you've got a good team and you understand the team and even produce the team together knowing where comments coming for all coming for all is as valuable as the comment itself so if a an engineer suggests that you can't have a certain valve in place are not designed because of the flow if I were if I said that people might think it's looking from an aesthetic or a thanks I perspective but actually knowing it's come from a systems engineer who works in the stands how the system actually works sailing on the water flow or Steve Jobs something like that. That gives it much different perspective so yet that this idea of anonymize ation the key is the policy into everything not convinced before demanded I mean the the ideas about having a couple of generations cycles followed by a a finalization thing that's almost any standard I think the yeah the idea of doing it remotely yep okay. Yeah if there's anyone take away from this article or from our discussion tonight I would say that the facilitator is key I don't think the environment is key I think it's absolutely to do with the facilitator and I think you know what you and I are both. In agreement there do you have any other closing thoughts in this article before we get out of here and get into the next part of the show yes I do you think will be the biggest thing is now that they set this hybrid working this working from home working from the office trying to get that balance right he's such a rich topic at the moment and it's up to all of us to talk and feedback about how it works I think the still some big hitters around how do we best work from home study from a glum expected when we look that's a best working and how to best support what works from home and how does the employer could deliver them as well because it replaces the responsible for that for their employees how do they still do live there least legal obligations without invading your home prince C. space. But innovation is such a cool thing to do the as many purses you throw through about it it's still about whom the cool time the best to come up with the being moment. I agree I don't do this often enough but I'm gonna answer the question to the episode title does remote working foster interned innovation in our view no it's all about the facilitator. All right well thank you to our patrons this week for selecting our topic and thank you to our friends over at Scientific American for the news story this week you want to follow along during the office hours every Monday where I find these new stories and we do post links to the original article's on our weekly round ups on our blog you must join us in a slack or discord for more discussion on the stories we're gonna take a quick break we'll be back to see what's going on in human factors community right after this human factors cast brings you the best in human factors news interviews conference coverage and overall fun conversations into each and every episode we produce but we can't do it without you. The human factors cast network is 100 percent listener supported all the funds are going to running the show come from our listeners our patrons are our priority and we want to ensure 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it's all it's all out of pocket mostly now no well no no longer mostly out of pocket thanks to patrons like you pages like you do keep the show running so thank you all so much for your continued support. We're gonna switch gears and get into this next part of the show we like to call. That's right it came from this week it is all reddit that's okay though it's the part of the show research all over the internet to bring you topics the communities talking about you find any of these answers usable please give us a like to help other people find this content for now we might have time for 2 we might have time for 3 let's just see how they go I want to get into this first one here this one is from. Bread fruit vegetable 5 on the human factor subreddit. So the discussion topic so it's perfect for the show. Engineering and human factors. They're going to write a common issues seen in product development is the common ground between engineering design and human factors engineering when given the task of improving a simple product such as a urinalysis collection container for pregnant women the problem gets very complex when human factors gets involved as an engineer it's easy to factor out complications such as such as this the reality and manufacture process of a new product but the justification of human factors changes. To a simple product is more difficult do you have any opinion from human factors background on how you attach such a problem and what could be China it changed on a simple design. As such and justification for such so look this is using a very specific problem space here urinalysis collection container. But the problem still remains I guess the discussion still remains. Aces a seemingly simple product. Can be viewed from 2 different lenses engineering and human factors how do you reconcile the 2 what are your thoughts from the human factors perspective berry and the engineering perspective if you have one. So yeah I I think I guess I do when both hot so it's it's interesting that from engineering perspective it's really easy to break it down and say well you're in the side type thing all you're doing is collecting. Urine from from from a person I mean how how can that be it's just the movement of. Liquid from one container to another I'm. If you look at it from the very same subjective that yes as soon as we start talking about human factors issues like well how we going to use it how you gonna reach are you gonna hold are you gonna make sure you stay steroids so the actual. If you're doing analysis then you know you it's actually a decent sample how do you make sure it doesn't spell how do you make sure that you can actually you know it is it said that he was for a pregnant lady Sir how can she actually see that she's using it properly how can help you make sure that actually it's not male engineers who designed these to full for female use and actually make sure that there's no end in inherent biases and things like that I think it's it's it is a constant issue that I think we have you don't take about that specific thing but when we talk about how to when I worked in fast Jensen how to interpret data that you're seeing on the on the field on a on a display. The whole point of any stop pulling a user perspective on to any so anything that you'll you'll developing I just don't understand why it isn't obviously you have to take the user centered approach when you the other people are gonna have to use it that the people have to engage with the other people are going to have to have that. And yet we get we have this this idea that but I see so many times when you engineering teams Asaba saying well we gonna make it so it's all right so the system works are we gonna make it so that the system eighties functions of the site but they don't the we we seem to struggle between the difference between assisted been forcible a 6 system be operable and a new the operator is just seen as a as a. As an unknown incident as as good as a triviality so from my perspective what I spend a lot of time doing here is is working with people and bring people into into groups I like the odds are great principal so in this case I will bring the engineer on the uses and implants whatever into the same room so we don't we get away from home and I think sometimes we use you are separate practitioners of being guilty of this in the past where we go and talk to users and then we give the entity is the of the the appreciated all I will respectively uses problem sometimes it's really quite valuable full was to facilitate. Sessions where the where everybody's in the room and so we can we we have a 2 way discussion in that respect so for the medical means about bringing all the ball only audiences all all the voices to the same room so we can do so people can hear firsthand what problems are on that full time could stop focusing on on the the whole solution rather just try to obstruct a the systematic solution. Yeah I want to elaborate a little bit more on that whole point of who you bring to the room right because the ultimate goal should be. Engineers trust you as the human factors practitioner that you've thought through these issues. And so you can hand it off communicated to them effectively and they'll build it the way that you wanted to be built. Now that's not to say that you don't include them in the process to build that trust and that's incredibly important right you wanna make sure that you're including them. In them along for the ride so that way they can see all the questions that you're asking get that context that yeah there's there's a lot more to this yeah it's fairly obvious from human factors perspective that you need to consider all these things about the user but again that's how we're trained that's how we think. I can you know and it's it's very easy on the other side. From from engineering perspective to see a requirement and this is why requirements writing is so important to as you consider the human in all this right because if you yeah it like you said right their requirement. Need a Cup to hold urine. That's a requirement but if you say you know start writing requirements like user needs to be able to hold up. User needs to be able to see Cup. Cup cannot be sterilized right you have all these additional requirements that helped define the product. Then you are constraining that design even more because occam's razor they'll take the easiest path available to just make up. And it's not gonna be usable. And that's that's kind of the the relationship between the 2 right you need to help define the product more through some of those requirements that get at the user. Centered design right and so having that I think will help with. Some of that communication bit now this. This reddit post specifically asks for you know the justification of human factors changes to a simple product difficult. And basically what how do you get involved at that requirements phase. And and sort of communicate those requirements to the developers I think you nailed it spot on you bring them in and you include them in the process so that way they see because the next time a product gets developed then those people will say oh wait we need human factors people in here because they're going to consider all these other things that we didn't even look at. Yeah I I think that's it any any other thoughts on that 1 that's a good question yeah I mean just to continue your own thought 1 of the the bit the you just decide that which I thought was up 3 keys it's easy to look at this is just 1 problem AS 1 product and I spend a lot my time firefighting things have gone wrong any of the bowls it's communication breakdown ex exact etcetera etcetera if you've got a really good team then yes the first time you do stuff will be difficult and that's where's those is human factors practitioners we are often the glue that holds a lot of product why the bigger product teams together and that's because we are more than have to go and talk to 34 different teams bring the bring it together but that's because of the true value of the is actually not that product to the next 1 and if you if you got the same sort team work together and they then trust you they see in the way that you work you don't take them on a merry dance or anything like that they know that you what you're doing is not so much mystic science a mystic out sorry it's actually it is grounded in science and engineering practice it's just a different viewpoint than the more than happy to say actually not seen the bars did not yeah we don't need to say it but we trust it will go with it we know where it's coming from and so it is a it's an education pieces as much as anything else but you just as much as the actual hard engineering when often gets a lot more weight when it comes to requirements arguments because old people still don't understand what it is that we do so it's up to us to be bigger and better I vandalize always. All right I think we have time for one more so let's let's get into this next one here this one 's by Caleb call Aurora Colorado from the human factor separated again both human factors subreddit tonight I'm really happy about that so this one is called your day in the life. They S. Caleb goes on to write hi everyone human factors is the feel I am very interested in but when specifically looking for information on what a day to day basis is like for someone working there is little to none for those currently working in the field especially those in medical device as well as a medical request tonight what is your day to day like thank you very I suspect that you and I will both have the same answer that's very different. Yeah thanks very much of the it depends is not it's it's although I mean I don't have the any it was quite put him for this week because we've taken on 2 new stops and 2 new members of staff and try to explain what we do on a on a you know day end of day by day only week by week basis it just we have so I mean this is one of the things I think why was a look at what you practice because we have such an ability to stick our fingers into pretty much any sort of project that you that you come. I think on a structural thing I tend to start off my day with some sort of drum beats depending on the products are working on city weekly at the moment I have put a drum beats on a Monday I have a team will be on Tuesday. But then it can be designed working to develop presentations to develop because reggaeton strategies it can be agreed today was a bit of a workshop on on potential future product and breaking that down which is also trading eventful all the staff members tomorrow I'm going to do so university lecturing as well as do I've I've you kind of stick you wanna go condemned to a meeting on the so I was glad to attend the meeting the by the way do you could you can practice could you could come to a complete human factors lectures at the office of the department on that one as a guide or if you have the did indeed. And then next week is gonna be different again so yes I do I think it's a big part of the beauty of what we do is say what we do in day to day basis is thankfully difficult. Yeah are you what would you what does your day look like C. creative process. Take a stab at any one of those things that we talked about tonight and I'm probably doing one of those but again it really depends on the context because I might be using a different tool on a different. Object depending on the needs of that thing right so yes it's no day looks the same I check emails every day when I get in that's about it like I check emails and and Messin messages message messages. Every morning that's that's about the one consistent thing I have. I'm gonna make a call to make the pot of coffee when I get in there you go yeah I wake up that's that's consistent. If you get in look at emails and chats and then it really does depend based on what the need of the project is right I could be in the middle of. Making products to go out and talk to users I could be in the middle of analyzing that user feedback but again depending on the way in which we have defined the problem we're trying to solve. The tools and the methods change from. Project to project and so there's no real consistency I might be doing one analysis on one thing that I've done in the past or a completely new analysis on the same thing that I'm trying out and talk about innovation on the show tonight a lot of it is applying new processes new procedures from other domains to the things that we're working on to establish that continuous improvement and so it's always it's always different it's always different. Okay I think we don't have too much more time so why don't we go ahead and get into this last part of the show we like to call one more thing needs no introduction very what's your one more thing this week. So I'm gonna try to get in and have to because the talk about climate Feb it's night and all the things that we did last week which I was quite shocked about was for businesses we just launched climate economics guide and so this is real our schools this call pretty 6 going on this week and the ability to we we get lots of feedback from businesses I'm big on people but he said that yes we will do something about climate change but we don't know how to do it we don't know you know fundamentally take a first step and so we produced. Okay thing based on economics all Islamic principles basic behavior change a bit of a guide to through a business is to say that thank you that's how you do it so if you're interested not you gonna find out of time and old but in the more the more directing with something last weekend that was just fantastic we actually had a party we had a Halloween party which was the first time we've had a large group of more than nothing 6 people together in a house well outside of our house is in a garden despite a bit of talk cold but he was you know it was a large group of people together we had a few drinks with a few more drinks there was some we love to spend multiple decorations up and there's music and it was just so nice though slightly weird. Right yeah it was just so it was you know because if it was just people from the office anyway so if it will work with a half it was just what colleagues about type things so that if people still database anyway but it was a whole lot of friends that we haven't seen. For for ages as well and also have them on the one place was just to do the still that sort of slight anxiety of 2 disparate groups coming together where we have these thoughts yeah yeah pretty much but we have this party so what do we do we do like how impossible target a while ago let's just pretend that we can actually groups mesh together is already good and also so if this was still socially awkward slightly. You see what did the and I think it was just a slight reluctance that for people to to just to just make certain thing I think there's still 23 contributing things that 1 is the fact that we just got out the way of being sociable on the you know with randomly but also we still nervous about the pandemic stuff and you know with the with an exit going quite rightly so but it was still just nice to have a policy. Very you know what the problem was. Go it was the facilitator there was not yet. I do my preparation but we had lots of food and lots of alcohol and uncover their root causes big cold but but but actually gives a bit so said that maybe we need to do if I just maybe 1015 more people to stop of the allowing of the splitting so but he's quite cool because 1 group is sitting down credible groups on the pilots are get my exercise comes into another ECA. So my one more thing this week I was very excited last we talked about the pixel 6 pro yes the new phone by Google. The I talked last time about the experience buying it on the website this time I'd like to talk about the experience of transferring from my old device to my new device. Spoiler I still haven't done it fully it's bad bad it's really bad and and like from android to android that's a fine. Transition from iPhone even to android it's probably fine. The problem that I'm having is I use a very specific launcher. On my android to customized to the way I like you know I there's there's a dock at the bottom of android that I like to be able to swipe left and swipe right and all of my like. I need to get to this fast apps are at the bottom because it's easily reachable by my thumb and they're all categorized in these folders and I can't really do that with android I need a specific launcher for now all my apps most of my data transferred and that's fine that's not the problem that's that's not the problem the problem is with this launcher. It didn't transfer all my settings and so I have to go in and manually put where I'm used to all these things there's a couple things on the android that are a little NIT picky like I can't figure out how to change on the bottom I usually have my back button on the right hand side so that way I can reach it with my thumb yeah then it's on you know the left hand side on android 12 little couple NIT picky things. So what do you why that's what's going on but then there's also on top of that this is an unlocked phone the first on my phone that I got and my wireless carrier. Which has a V. N. it I'll just say that for anyone in the states here you probably know which one. There's there's a lot of confusion about sim cards so ultimately what I did was I just pulled out this sim card from my old phone put it in my new phone is fine but it was saying that you needed a digital sim card and I need to order one and it was trying to start a new line and I didn't want to start a new line I just wanted to transfer it over to the new device it was just really weird the whole way the way that everything worked I was very frustrated I submitted a ticket and I still haven't heard back but it's my new phones working. I I figured it out it's just the whole experience was not great and I was like if there has to be a better way. And part of it's probably the launcher that I'm using probably half of it is the. The other piece of it the the especially the transfer that once just weird to me anyway. We did things going between I mean nowadays I mean that I am I am a an apple user on the on the phone front and and actually they've got quite good at doing yeah. Some do you think the android will be protected under do you tend to be a step ahead in terms of cool capabilities. Nope Sir yeah it's it's almost a bit disappointing to see that you see the humming so I must be that must take a toll on your everyday mental health and and and all that sort of stuff so I hope you write not down to get your claim and I certainly have all right well that's gonna be it for today everyone if you liked this episode go back and check out that other upset that we had on innovation I think is a couple weeks back not sure which one it is anyway content wherever you're listening with what you think of a story this week for more in depth discussion you can always join us on our slack or discord communities visit our official website sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with all the latest team of actors news you like what you hear more sports show couple ways you can help support the show one. You can do this right now leave us a 5 star review wherever you're at take just 10 seconds give us a 5 star if you wanna take a couple extra seconds to write down the show was awesome you can do that too to tell your friends about us that's even better than a 5 star review because your voice they trust and we help build our audience by you know having people share through word of mouth helps us grow 3 if you're able to consider supporting us on Patreon like I said we're only 2 away from making the show fully self sustainable as always thanks to all of our social center website are in the description of this episode Mr Baker thank you for being on the show today and help me talk human factors reckon this is gonna find you if they want to talk about innovation so you can find me on Twitter about the disk okay as well as on Facebook and linkedin but also the 12 a T. thank you for his podcast which the 12 which people can still call her your most recent guest was charming as for me I've been your host Nick Rome you can find it streaming on twitch every Monday for office hours and across social media at Nick _ Rome it's confusing and human factors cast until next time. It means.

Barry KirbyProfile Photo

Barry Kirby

Managing Director

A human factors practitioner, based in Wales, UK. MD of K Sharp, Fellow of the CIEHF and a bit of a gadget geek.