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Encouraging Innovation Through Collaboration
2 min read

Design Thinking: Collaborating for Innovative Mobile App Development

A version of this story appears on the SAP AppHaus site here

When a multinational, Calgary-based midstream energy company needed to reimagine the way their employees document their safety reporting, they turned to ConvergentIS and their SAP AppHaus Design Centre.

The design challenge was to create a mobile application that encouraged user adoption by making safety reporting intuitive and efficient.

Led by workshop facilitator and UX specialist Alissa Sylvestre, the Design Thinking process enabled participants to unpack the challenge by identifying potential roadblocks, then collaborate on tangible solutions. Using maps and storyboards, workshop participants were able to share perspectives and obtain feedback in a new way – one that fostered empathy and creativity. From there, participants created paper prototypes, allowing them to experiment with their ideas and determine feasibility through user interaction and testing.

The AppHaus environment was crucial to the success of the project. By distancing themselves from their regular boardroom and entering a space conducive to collaboration and innovation, participants discovered new ways to solve problems and communicate with one another in order to meet a common goal. Using low-fidelity tools to sketch and prototype allowed them to physically interact with the ideas that were being discussed in a way they wouldn’t have been able to do in their traditional office.

“We really enjoyed the atmosphere of the Design Centre – it really helped get the creative juices flowing and created alignment between us,” says one workshop participant. “We felt like Convergent really walked us through the Design Thinking process in a way that was comfortable and helped us see things in a way we otherwise wouldn’t have.”

What did their safety reporting look like before Design Thinking? While working remotely in the field, users would fill out paper cards and give it to an administrator for processing upon their return. The paper form did not adequately capture all the necessary information so further communication was required, making the process time-consuming and error-prone.

“The Design Thinking process really allowed our customer the ability to think creatively and come up with new, innovative solutions,” says Alissa. “As we were working collaboratively and voting on potential ideas, it really brought everyone together and eliminated a lot of back and forth. The end user feedback we received early on in the process really highlighted what worked and didn’t work, allowing us to quickly make changes, improve the design and develop the application in a short amount of time.”

Now with the new application, field workers can use their mobile devices and work offline to complete their reporting. Only relevant questions are presented to the user and they can see their progress as they move through the application. 

The client piloted their application in just over three months after their workshop series. The thoroughness of a Design Thinking first approach – combined with the openness of the participants – made for a successful implementation. The pilot users were thrilled with the intuitiveness and efficiency of the application and when it became available for download company-wide, there were over 1100 downloads in less than one week.

“Without a doubt, we picked the right implementation partner,” says the project manager. “We are really impressed with the quality of work and the low number of defects.” 

And most importantly, field workers now enjoy a nearly 70 percent time reduction when they do their safety reporting, leading to a 60 percent increase in overall reporting compared to last year.