Factotum’s Pete Fossick recently spoke at the Service Design Global Conference in Madrid where he discussed service design, agility and the emergent field of design operations (DesignOps or DesOps) and how they are part Design 4.0 – an emerging approach to designing for Industry 4.0.

A brief history of design… Design 1.0 was paper and pen, using physical tools like a ruler featuring a human agent. Design 2.0 was computer assisted design (CAD) featuring applications driven by a human agent. Design 3.0 was assisted design using CAD apps where knowledge based systems learn from the human actor. Design 4.0 is fully autonomous or semi autonomous design that may or may not involve a human actor (a designer, developer or product owner).

Design 4.0 is an approach to design that marries design for transformation and advanced technologies to deliver innovative and breakthrough products and services for the outcome economy. My talk seemed to resonate with a large number of attendees and there is a sense that there is a shift underway in the practices and approaches we need to use in an agile world informed by huge quantities of data that involves people-to-people, people-to-machine and machine-to-machine interactions.

Design 4.0 marries BizOps, DevOps and the emerging field of Design Operations (or Design Ops) to support design that features semi-autonomous and fully autonomous computer systems (machine learning). While Design 4.0 as a term has been used in different ways to describe design that is focused on social innovation (GK Van Patter, 2009), my definition extends the application of design as a transformation practice to include business thinking and Dev Ops thinking where machine learning and assistive technologies support and inform the design and transformation process.

The conclusion of a new Government-commissioned report by a group representing some of the UK’s top companies, led by Siemens UK and Professor Juergen Maier indicates that robotics, autonomous systems, artificial intelligence and cutting-edge technologies in IoT can deliver huge benefits where Government and industry co-operate and may be able to create 175,000 new manufacturing jobs and generate an extra £455bn in GDP in the UK.

Service, experience, interaction and visual design as a set of practices offer strategic and tactical approaches to designing products and services that are proving highly effective in a world that is undergoing a digital transformation. Coupled with Design Thinking and Human Centred Design they have utilised contextual research and participatory work with users, employees and customers as part of a collaborative design process to gather both qualitative and quantitative data undertaken in an iterative and phased process. However, design thinking (Rolf Faste et al) as an approach has its origins in the 1980s as set practices that are essentially analogue in nature and are both people and time intensive.

However, increasingly design is informed with data-derived insights using advancing data collection techniques and processed using increasingly ubiquitous machine learning and cognitive computing applications. A traditional phased design model or lean approach is not always fast enough or efficient in an agile world where bespoke services and user experiences can be configured in an instant to match a users preferences, behaviours and location and their unique circumstances.

For companies to compete in the Outcome Economy as a part of industry 4.0 requires a new model; Design 4.0, that will increasingly feature machine intelligence and a data informed driven strategy that features data garnered using people-to-people, people-to-machine and machine-to-machine interactions. More on this in the coming weeks and months!

Post Author: factotum

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