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Continuous Discovery and How It May Be Right For You Team

If you’re part of an industrial automation team, chances are that you’ve already found success through hard work, dedication, and constantly evolving your strategies. However, have you ever considered incorporating continuous discovery into the mix? Continuous discovery is a process by which teams can gain insight into how their processes and decisions affect their performance in real time. This practice has been proven to increase operational efficiency across multiple industries, so why not yours? Through this blog post we’ll explore how continuous discovery could benefit your industrial automation team; from benefiting insights while saving time and money to providing vital data for informed decision-making!

What Does Continuous Discovery Mean?

Continuous discovery is an idea, or mindset, which suggests organizations should strive to identify new problems, opportunities, and trends to stay relevant and competitive in their respective markets. The concept was originally proposed by Marty Cagan, a Silicon Valley product manager and renowned author of the book “Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love”. He argues that teams using continuous discovery are better able to respond quickly to changes in the market, anticipate customer needs before they are even thought of, and spot potential opportunities for new products or services. Unlike traditional product development models which rely on planning and forecasting, continuous discovery takes a more iterative approach; instead of trying to predict what will happen months ahead of time, teams focus on learning about new trends as soon as possible so they can react accordingly.

Continuous discovery has become increasingly popular among professional workplaces that want to stay up to date with industry trends. By continuously monitoring changes within their organization and the wider market environment, teams are better positioned to make timely decisions that serve their customers’ needs. Many companies have adopted a “fail-fast” mentality to quickly identify what works and what doesn’t without wasting valuable resources. This has allowed them to iteratively refine their products or services until the best results are achieved. Moreover, continuous discovery helps organizations stay one step ahead of their competitors by identifying any disruptive technologies before they become mainstream.

In addition, teams using continuous discovery are also likely to develop greater trust with customers since they demonstrate agility by responding promptly and accurately when a customer’s needs change or evolve. Some teams even go as far as to touch base with their customers daily. This helps build successful relationships between companies and customers built upon a mutual understanding of each others’ expectations. Lastly, continuous discovery allows organizations to remain agile even during times of uncertainty or rapid change; this helps them remain resilient despite ever-changing conditions in the market environment. All these factors combined make continuous discovery an invaluable asset for any company looking for sustained success over time.

Customer interaction” by OregonDOT is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Weekly Interactions With Customers

When implementing a continuous discovery model in the workplace and with teams, it is essential to interact with customers regularly. Instead of just quarterly check-ins, having weekly conversations with customers can help to more quickly identify opportunities for improvement or areas where the customer experience needs to be re-evaluated. Additionally, taking time to solicit customer feedback through surveys or interviews and then analyzing that data for patterns and themes is key to understanding what customers value most. Through this process of collecting, analyzing, and acting on customer feedback continuously, organizations can ensure they are creating experiences that are tailored to their customer’s needs and expectations. We can take a look at the developers of Minecraft, a game that everyone has heard of, especially if you have kids. It was a solo developer’s day job at the start of their game, and through consistent user feedback, tweets, and recommendations, they were able to generate a player base that was increasing exponentially. This process of consistent refinements and updates based on user data led to a genuinely enjoyable game. Microsoft then bought the rights for over 2 billion, and to this day, more than 238 million copies of Minecraft have been sold.

Taking Meaningful Data Points

To effectively leverage customer feedback for continuous improvement it is important to have an effective system in place for capturing and recording key insights from the conversations. Having set criteria that help capture meaningful information such as topics discussed, sentiment, challenges identified by customers, etc., will enable teams to quickly analyze all incoming data points. This will help them identify any major trends across multiple conversations so they can prioritize solutions accordingly. Additionally, building a library of categorized customer feedback allows teams to establish baselines related to topics such as product/service value or competition analysis which can be used over time as a reference point when making decisions related to product/service releases or business development strategies.

By utilizing a continuous discovery model within the workplace and across teams, organizations will have access to meaningful and timely insights into how their products/services are performing relative to customer expectations which in turn will enable them proactively to address any issues or opportunities identified before they become full-fledged problems. This approach also allows organizations to stay ahead of potential risks by being able to respond quickly and efficiently when something does arise. Ultimately it enables them to create better experiences for their customers by understanding their pain points more intimately than ever before.

The Product Trio: The Manager, The Design Lead, and The Engineer

Normally this structure is inclusive. The manager will gather all the details, then tells the design lead what to do, which then gets passed down for the engineer to make just to kick back up to the manager and repeat. They each have their function in this system and interaction is generally minimal. With this plan, we are going to take that idea, crumble it up, and toss it to the left. Here we will emphasize that the team works directly together during each step. While this generally might be a cause of pushback from the team, it has been proven to work extremely well as Teresa Torres, a continuous discovery coach and author, points out. This is to further take the information being brought forward from the customers to collaborate ideas on ways to improve or to fix certain aspects of their product, rather than relying on the traditional ‘waterfall’ structure that we are used to.

Another key takeaway is to home in on the same target. Often, teams come up with many ideas for different problems, rather than many solutions for one problem. This eliminates the “yes or no” mindset and allows cooperation, rather than confirmation bias. Group discussions on various solutions can often lead to a more desirable and efficient outcome.

How Does This Translate to Industrial Automation?

Quite easily! We just have to shift our view from a general product or service to a more specialized field in robotics and servos. Continuous discovery can be applied to industrial automation to increase efficiency, decrease downtime, and reduce costs. We do so by taking meaningful data points from customers by performing weekly interactions with them for feedback as well as enabling cooperation between development teams to industrial automation more reliable and efficient.

To begin, manufacturers must identify specific data points that are significant for their machines. This could include identifying usage patterns, trends in errors or customer behavior, as well as outside influences such as weather or other environmental factors that may impact performance. With this information in hand, automation systems can be tailored to anticipate changes and react accordingly. For instance, if a machine is experiencing frequent errors due to the climate, operators can adjust the settings accordingly so that it runs more efficiently during those conditions.

The next step is to establish regular interaction with consumers for feedback on product performance and satisfaction levels. Asking questions about how they use the product and any issues they have encountered can help manufacturers develop solutions for improved functionality and usability. Additionally, by understanding what customers need from their machines, engineers can design automation systems with enhanced features that meet user demands while still maintaining cost efficiency.

Finally, successful industrial automation requires strong cooperation between development teams to ensure all components work together seamlessly and integrate effectively into existing operations. This includes collaboration amongst hardware designers, software developers, system integrators, and other experts who must work together to create an effective system that meets all requirements while adhering to industry standards. Furthermore, companies should strive to keep up with current technology trends, so they can take full advantage of emerging opportunities presented by new technologies, such as artificial intelligence or the latest PLC hardware.  

Closing Thoughts

Overall, continuous discovery is an essential tool for not only improving industrial automation efficiency through collecting meaningful data points from customers, establishing weekly interactions for feedback, and fostering cooperation between development, but for other departments as well. Research and development could also benefit from this mindset by using rapid prototyping with 3D printers, software developers could collude to debug and write scripts for programs, and even sales teams could figure out the best approaches to selling their products.

This entry was posted on February 20th, 2023 and is filed under Uncategorized. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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