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Mikael Eriksson Björling

Things that matters! About digital transformation, design, culture and lifestyle in the Networked Society

UX design in AI

Currently, computational capacity is doubling roughly every 18 months. The pace of this development, amplified by rapid improvements in software, has resulted in artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced algorithms that are quickly evolving to understand and interpret some of our most complex natural processes.
At the same time, the ability to access this capacity is multiplying due to sharp increases in bandwidth, improvements in latency and other quality of service parameters with technologies such as 5G. Interfaces are also becoming more seamless due to advances in cloud computing as well as visual, tactile, and verbal interface technologies.

These exponential improvements have brought what, just over a decade ago, were considered industrial-strength processing and communication capabilities into the homes and hands of individuals everywhere. As industries adopt these technologies to modernize and automate their business processes to increase value chain efficiency and effectiveness, a new service-based concept for the technology has emerged. The self-driving or autonomous car is an example of this new concept. Eventually cars will no longer have drivers, a fundamental change in the concept of a car. The passenger of such a vehicle will interact with it on a much higher and abstract level as a service. When we apply this concept to the telecom sector, i.e. creating a “self-driving network”, AI technology will be the brains behind this change. This presents two main challenges for those developing the concept and service:

  1. The conceptual shift from today’s understanding of what a network is, becoming something more abstract than what it is today, operating on new parameters.
  2. The fact that a user of such a service will interact with the system on a much higher, more abstract level.

Therefore, the understanding of the business goals and the user of the system is key to success. With the role of users shifting from drivers to passengers and from operators to managers, designers will need to create highly collaborative solutions allowing tangible and reliable interaction between AI technology and the user.

In light of this, the Experience Design team at Ericsson has been researching and developing how to design trustworthy, AI-powered services for telecom operators. Through designing the Cognitive Operation Support System service concept, we have identified four components of human trust that can be applied to AI powered systems. These four pillars – competence, benevolence, integrity and charisma – are the key areas designers and business owners need to address to be successful when it comes to the adoption of AI.

Read the rest of this paper or download a PDF file at Ericsson.com

Ericsson Design System!

The Ericsson Design System was 2018 honored with a Red Dot award for its innovative approach to user experience, enabling agile software design and implementation. This video we created together with House of Radon.

Watch more videos at Ericsson.com

 

Design awards: What sets the new Ericsson interface design apart?

The new Ericsson Design System consists of everything a designer or developer needs to create iconic user experiences. From the design foundation with the visual hierarchy, themes, colors, typography, and iconography to components with ready to use code. The only thing you have to add to the drink is creativity! And the system is constantly evolving and is co-created together with its users.

Design has always been important for Ericsson. Creating smart solutions and aesthetics expressions that provide value in a perfect blend. When I think about classic Swedish industrial design, one of the first images that pops up in my head is the Ericofon designed by Ralph Lysell Ericsson in 1955.

01_Ericofon

Since 1955 the Red Dot Award has selected the best designs in different categories such as product design. This summer they selected Ericsson Design System as the winner in the category Interface Design for its innovative approach to user experience, enabling agile software design and implementation.

02_EDS

What does the design system look like?

The design system supports both the designer and the developer. As a designer you have all design elements including layout templates and examples accessible in either Sketch or Adobe Illustrator formats. And for the developer the design system supports the most common platforms.

The typography used in the design system is the brand-new font Hilda, that is optimized for digital interfaces and to be perfectly rendered and readable on screens. The Hilda font comes in a light, regular, medium, and bold weights.

04_Typo

New iconography has been created following a minimalistic approach where each icon is crafted to offer high legibility in small resolutions.

06_Colors

The color palette is optimized to be readable in different contexts and special focus has been to make the colors as accessible as possible for people with low-vision or color blindness. The colors in the deign system is used to guide the users towards key messages rather that as decorative and esthetic elements. Every color in the system has a meaning and has been carefully selected and tested.

07_Components

The design system has a large and growing set of common components ready to be used, including usage guidelines, implementation guidelines as well as running example you can interact with. It also comes with code snippets in HTML Markup, LESS and JavaScript (Vanilla).
03_Assets

The design system supports all type of screens from the largest screens in a network operation center used by professionals to the smallest screens used by consumers it has an adaptive layout and it comes in two themes. One bright theme that is optimized for text readability and one dark theme that suits darker environment such as an operation center.

08_Adaptive

Let’s have look at how services and apps look like using Ericsson’s new Design System!

09_ExampleEnterprise communication administration dashboard.

 

10_Example
My phone plan app and smartwatch app for network analytics.

 

Want to know more about Ericsson Design system? Read more at Ericsson.com

Download EDS Infograph

Culture is a foundation of the new innovation game

Innovation, design, and creativity are stimulated by diversity. That’s one of the reasons I’m glad to be part of one of the most diverse teams in the whole company: Ericsson Experience Design (the team that created the award-winning Ericsson Design System)!experience-design-team01-111511crop50029151640resize1500844autoorientbackground23ffffffquality90stripextensionjpgid8

Culture is a foundation of the new innovation game

I recently wrote about innovation and what it takes to master the new innovation game, where I discussed that the most important areas to master are the following:

  1. insight (understanding people and the problem)
  2. outsight (keeping track of the world around us)
  3. innovation vision
  4. culture as fuel for innovation
  5. structure for creativity

I can say that success in all five areas is driven by a commitment to diversity.  But let’s focus on culture.  Here is a piece from my blog post:

“Innovation is as much a human story as it is a story about technology. Organizational culture, people and diversity are at the heart of any discussion on innovation – and the cultural aspect of innovation was highlighted by almost everyone interviewed in our study.

The argument is that companies that are able to create a certain kind of organizational culture will see innovation emerge from within the organization with much less effort than in other organizations.

An innovation friendly culture will be able to manage, value and prioritize ideas that show up in the organization rather than dropping them before they are even tested and tried. Some thinkers on innovation go as far as to claim that innovation equals culture.”

Driving innovative design on a diverse team

In the team, we represent 17 nationalities, we have a proper ratio between genders, we come from different backgrounds and cultures, and we have a good spread in different age groups, ranging from baby boomers to millennials.

We have different educational backgrounds, from engineers and anthropologists to interaction designers and architects; we have different approaches, perspectives, and ways of solving design problems and challenges; we think differently – together.

How does this help us in our daily work? Ericsson is a company with offices and staff in about 160 countries, and we serve customers in more than 180 countries. The products and services we deliver are intended for a market that is truly global – when we are designing, we design with a global outlook, keeping our worldwide, diverse target audience firmly in mind.

Designing for a global market

But how do you understand the various markets, the local contexts, and the differences within a global business? One way is to go to the customers and do research. To meet the people who are going to use our products and services and understand their contexts and challenges at work. This is a cornerstone in our design process.

But we can’t be hanging out with our customers all the time. On an ordinary workday in our studio, we make hundreds of different design decisions, generating ideas for new concepts and delivering designs to sprints.

In this process, diversity is the number one key! The designs we are working on today are aimed for a truly global market, and our strength as a team is that we are so diverse and have so many different perspectives within the team.

Sounds interesting, right? Don’t miss that we’re currently recruiting! If you are interested, ping us.

Read more about Ericsson at the Ericsson blog >>>

Adopting design thinking to embrace a changing business landscape

During the last few years many of the big traditional management consultancy companies have acquired creative and digital agencies. Why? I believe they want to ensure they have the right competence and the right toolbox to future proof their business in today’s increasingly digitally transformed business landscape.gui_design_2-90068crop013667083774resize1500844autoorientquality90stripbackground23ffffffextensionjpgid8

In my opinion, traditional management thinking will simply not be enough going forward in the new digital business landscape. The big consultancy companies have realized they need to add creativity and methodologies into their portfolios.
McKinsey, for example, has added a digital arm to its operations by acquiring VerydayLunar and Carbon 12. Accenture did the same by acquiring Fjord and Kaplan. Elsewhere, Deloitte has acquired Mobiento and Acne. These are just some examples from bigger players but there are many more examples.

How design thinking is related to business

At Ericsson, we believe that organizations need to leverage on connectivity to thrive. About five years ago, we also started to take bigger steps to develop more digital ways of working that are better suited for the business landscape of the future.

In our Future of Work report we explain how life is undergoing dramatic changes and organizations will have to rethink how they structure work. As described above, this is happening all around us – at your workplace and mine.

By creating a culture that focuses on individuals, organizations can build a reputation of being a progressive and talent friendly company.

When individuals get the opportunity to work on meaningful tasks, they embrace the organization, and they will also attract talent from their own network. Organizations that quickly learn how to manage talent will not only innovate faster than their competitors, they will also outperform them on the bottom line.

McKinsey recently published The Value of Design report in which they also conclude that “the best design performers increase their revenues and shareholder returns at nearly twice the rate of their industry counterparts.”
So, design – good design – and revenue are closely related. This means there is less space for bad design in todays connected and transparent market were users have such widespread access to all information. Back in the day, bad design had a bigger chance to survive in the analogue and physical world that no longer exists.
Good design meets the needs of the customer and user. Good design makes the complex easy to understand.

So, if we can agree that good design is a necessity in the emerging business landscape, how do you go about creating and fostering good design?
To create a good customer and user experience you need to get three areas correct. First your product or service needs to fill someone’s need for something. That’s what we call usefulness, i.e. we need to design the right product.

The next step is to design the product right, i.e. usability. Users and customers need to understand how to use and interact with your design.

The third area is brand or the aesthetics. The design has to reflect your brand and have an esthetic expression that matches the purpose of the design.

To get these three areas right there are processes that businesses can use and there are specific competences and craftmanship which they can employ – that is what the consultancy firm is paying these creative agencies for).

In future blog posts I will explore these processes, competences and what you can do to boost creativity in your business.

This blog post was originally posted on the Ericsson Blog >>>

Innovating the future workplace

A couple of weeks ago I published a new blogpost at Ericsson.com about the future workplace and how Kista is changing.

I’ve been at Ericsson for 20 years this year, spending almost as many of them in Kista Science City, which is one of the five largest information technology clusters in the world and also the place where we have our headquarters.

image-106445crop0040002251resize1500844autoorientquality90stripbackground23ffffffextensionjpgid8

In 1876, Lars Magnus Ericsson and his wife Hilda started their mechanical engineering workshop. The workshop was situated in a small kitchen in the courtyard building at Drottninggatan 15 in Stockholm.

From these humble beginnings a lot has happened in the world and at Ericsson. The age of industrialization is behind us and we’ve entered the digital age and witnessed the rise of a connected society. A few years back I was running a couple of studies about the future of working life. What challenges we saw ahead, what employees wanted, how new technologies were impacting the office space and how businesses have to optimize their physical spaces to support innovation and creativity. The office – as we use to know it – was proclaimed dead

Another finding from these studies was that people want flexible, modern workplaces with different types of rooms and areas for different types of work. The working environment should primarily be designed to optimize the quality of interpersonal exchange. Another important area is about serendipity. Businesses have to optimize their organization for the ever-changing market conditions. Organizations must plan for random encounters between people with different backgrounds and competences in order to increase the opportunities for innovative ideas.

ericsson-campus-glass-pavilion-evening-light-106547resize1498844crop001498843autoorientquality90stripbackground23ffffffextensionjpgid8The Glass Pavilion Isafjord in evening light seen from Grönlandsgatan.

At Ericsson, we now redefine our workspace to stay relevant as an employer of choice. We will be constructing a new Ericsson Campus at our headquarters in Kista, Stockholm including new and existing buildings and spaces. Looking at the construction plans, I’m excited!!

I see that the things we talked about in the reports are actually being implemented. Our ambition is to be a state of the art, agile and inspiring workplace. In line with our brand promise the quest for easy, the project aims to simplify and optimize how teams and organizations collaborate thinking of all aspects of what a modern workplace should include, such as the employees, the public areas, how the flow of people will be in the area as well as be inspiring, open, inviting and sustainable.

Read the rest of the post at Ericsson.com

Future Summit i Norrköping

Jag har rest runt och pratat på många konferenser, både stora och små runt om i världen. En av det roligaste och trevligaste jag varit på är Future Summit i Norrköping tidigare i höst. Vi talare fick tid att umgås och träffas redan dagen innan själva konferensen, där vi fick vara med om en resa ut i rymden i visualiseringscenter, vi besökte det fantastiska lilla biblioteket och observatoriet i De Geer Gymnasiet och vi fick en fin stadsvandring. Det hela avslutades med middag tillsammans med stad och näringsliv.fs_nkpg 16IMG_0170 2

När vi sedan stod på scenen under konferensen kände vi redan varandra och kunde leverera bra innehåll och interagera i varandras paneldiskussioner.

När vi gick till tåget, dagen efter konferensen fanns vi på förstasidan i NT!

IMG_0791IMG_7221

 

OCR World Championship 2018

För en vecka sedan var det OCR VM i Kelvedon Hatch ute på den engelska landsbygden norr om London. England bjöd på strålande fint höstväder. Kyliga morgnar, med dimma och solljus, lätt kyliga men soliga dagar och lågt stående eftermiddagssol. Perfekt tävlingsväder!

course mapIMG_8133

Vi kom till Brentwood och vårt hotell på torsdagseftermiddagen. Det första vi gjorde var att åka ut till tävlingsområdet och hämta våra race kit och spana in området.

Fredagen ägnades till att titta på 3K tävlingarna och titta på hindren. På lördagen var det dags för tävling. Jag startade 12:15 i gruppen 45-49 och 50+. Perfekta förhållande med strålande sol. Jag sprang in på en 21a plats i min ålderskategori med bandet i behåll (100 hinder klarade) på 2h 52min._DSC21123425281MEB_skullV1

På söndagen var det dags för teamtävlingar. Vi, The Happy Swedes startade i elitgruppen. Jag öppnade med 4k sprint och 14 hinder, Robin fortsatte med styrkedelen för att sedan växla med Henrik som körde den tekniska delen. Sedan avslutade vi med en gemensam fjärde etapp med fyra hinder att klara tillsammans. Vi slutade på en 71a plats utav 184 elitteam. Detta var tävlingshelgens höjdpunkt!

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User and experience design—expectations on service providers

UXOver the last 20 years, we have seen incredible changes in our society. Both in the ways we work and the type of jobs and professions that are available on the market. We have changed, and the way we interact with each other has changed. Almost every day we meet a completely new type of experience in our daily-life, like self-driving buses or Tesla’s self-driving taxis.

In fact, many of the situations we find ourselves in every day are designed with a special focus on creating a great experience for us. However, even though there is a much deeper understanding and focus on this today, many companies have a hard time delivering it.

Experience-design needs to be a key focus

20 years ago, the dotcom era was in full bloom. At that time, the shift from printed design towards digital design really started. The designers back then interacted with new digital tools both for designing print and digital products, with the introduction of tools like Quark Xpress, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Dreamweaver, Director, and Flash.

A whole set of new possibilities came with the new tools in the early 1990’s. But at that time there was less focus on the holistic experience, the customer and user journeys and their wants and needs.

It is easy to find prime examples of good-looking designs (esthetics) from the dotcom era, but those designs didn’t work because of little focus on the customers, the users, their contexts and their business models. Lack of usefulness, usability issues, and market timing were common mistakes, if you are curious about epic failures you can read more here. Today many  companies are aware of these things and there is a whole new trade around design. The next focus is all about user-centric designs that focus on the experience of the end user.

Multi-disciplinary team of UX and CX designers

At Ericsson Digital Services, we have a multi-disciplinary team of UX (User Experience) and CX  (Customer Experience) designers bringing skills such as interaction designers, visual designers, user researchers, data analysts, front-end developers and service designers, with one common focus. However, we need many, many more!

Tune in to the podcast with Dez Blanchfield and Didier Chincholle to get a deeper insight into what consumers expect today from their service providers, and how Ericsson Digital Services is helping to create intuitive experiences: Ericsson Future Digital Blog >>>

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