Celebrating 25 Years of Human-Centered Solutions

Assessing Value Creation

Lauren Thomas

Sometimes it can be difficult to quantify the “value add” from innovation and from human experiences. The benefits of some projects may be intangible, invisible, or difficult to quantify. For example, the value of a good idea is difficult to measure, especially at the early stages of its application. We have also worked with clients who need help identifying the value of face-to-face meetings versus electronic briefings and virtual experiences.

Drawing on evaluation methodologies from a range of sources, Evans can help organizations to identify “value cycles” that help to describe the reach and adoption of good practices. We have applied this approach in change management, training and contingency planning projects, and have found that it helps us to move beyond standard metrics and key performance indicators to more clearly describe a “value add” to clients, change managers, and change resistors.

The value creation process

Evans also uses this value cycle approach to capture and re-tell compelling stories about how value is added like ripples in a pond as innovation and experience are passed on within a network or community. These narratives help project managers, change agents and organizations to describe the advantages of a change when conventional return on investment data may not yet be available. Story-telling is a human universal, and this approach gives the detail behind the numbers, helping to describe value when other metrics might not yet be available.

Journey Mapping and the Evans Human-Centered Approach

Evans Incorporated is celebrating 25 years of human-centered solutions. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate Evans’ journey mapping approach to its Change Management practice.

Lauren Thomas & Alicia Serrato

As human-centered consultants, we seek to understand the impacted user’s point of view when designing a new product, service, or experience. One we do this is by creating a journey map.

Journey mapping is a method that Evans’ design thinking consultants have adapted from the world of graphic recording and graphic facilitation. A journey map is a visual approach to representing a timeline for an individual, a user persona, a team or group, or an organization. It serves to represent history, current experience, and/or the future within a single image.

A basic approach to creating a journey map is:

Step 1: Listen to what is voicedjourney mapping

Step 2: Listen to what remains unvoiced

Step 3: Capture the essence.

Step 4: Use visuals to communicate experience

Step 5: Refine map based on user feedback

This graphic illustrates a basic process for creating a simple journey map. This technique may be used “live” in group setting by graphic facilitators and graphic recorders to capture discussions in real time and provide a visual record of the experience. For meeting participants, watching a graphic recorder or graphic facilitator create the journey map as conversations unfold can be a very powerful shared experience, literally creating shared meaning and a shared vision.

We also use journey maps to identify critical elements and experiences in adopting a change, and to plan the right actions and communications for each phase of a change or transformation. Used in this way, a journey map represents a road map for change management that documents and describes the experience of the change for end-users. This type of journey map can be created based on interviews and experiments and can be annotated with details relevant to each phase of the change.

Evans’ consultants have experience of using a wide range of visual and design thinking methods, including graphic recording, graphic facilitation, and journey mapping. Contact us if you would like to know more.

Design Thinking and Change Management

Evans Incorporated is celebrating 25 years of human-centered solutions. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate Evans’ design thinking approach to its Change Management practice.

Lauren Thomas and Alicia Serrato

The term “design thinking” describes a creative approach to problem solving that places human beings as end-users at the heart of the process. This human-centered approach is grounded in the belief that the people who face those problems are the ones who hold the key to their answer. In a nutshell, design thinking involves understanding the user being served, and aims to arrive at practical and innovative solutions that are rooted in people’s actual needs. These principles hit close to home for Evans, and we apply design thinking to drive impactful human-centered change (Figure 1).

Step 1. Empathize: Learn about the change challenge from the end-user’s perspective.

Step 2. Understand: Look for patterns and insights that help you understand the potential barriers and enablers of the change.

Step 3. Ideate: Generate creative solutions that resonate with users, and find out what “wows.”

Step 4. Develop: Turn the best ideas into options that you can test in the “real-world’ and improve through iterative refinement.

Step 5. Parcel: Package the solutions(s) into an integrated and holistic suite that supports users through difference stage of the change.

First, we seek to gain a deep and broad understanding of the current situation to gain insights into the challenge of change from the end-user’s perspective. Then, we define creative solutions that resonate with users and that can be applied in the real world. After all, ideas without application are just that, ideas. To turn them into workable solutions, we refine ideas using an iterative approach based on user-experience. This helps us to generate practical recommendations that really do support users in adopting a change.

The final part of the puzzle is working out how to “package” different elements of the solution. Different users have different needs in terms of support they need to make a change, and these needs likely vary through different phases of an organizational change.

Evans’ experience has shown that this design thinking approach helps to identify issues that may have been missed by more conventional change management approaches. Since this approach also puts the end users at the heart of the process, risks associated with the change are better managed and mitigated than with conventional change management approaches.

Celebrating 25 Years of Service: the Unidos Program

Evans Incorporated is celebrating 25 years of human-centered change. Central to its mission is a commitment to service and servant leadership. Evans will highlight the successes, partnerships, and milestones in the “Celebrating 25 Years of…” blog series.

On September 20, 2017, everything changed for Puerto Rico. A hurricane of unprecedented strength destroyed much of the island, leaving the great majority of Puerto Ricans without power, water, communications and access to food. In response to the immense devastation created by Hurricane Maria, the Hispanic Federation (HF) convened government, community and philanthropic institutions and leaders to create the UNIDOS Disaster Relief and Recovery Program.

The goal of the UNIDOS Program is clear: to serve the immediate and long-term needs of families and communities in Puerto Rico.

Through combined contributions from Evans Staff, Friends and Family of Evans Inc., and a corporate match, we exceeded our goal of $5000 and raised over $6500 in contributions to support UNIDOS and the Hispanic Federation Hurricane Relief effort.

HF has been at the forefront of local and national advocacy efforts urging the U.S. federal government to provide Puerto Rico the assistance it needs to recover and heal. It has taken unprecedented action, helping to coordinate hundreds of donation drives in the U.S. mainland, distributing millions of pounds of food, water and essentials to those most affected by the storm, delivering emergency relief aid to over 75 hard-hit municipalities, and seeding a millions of dollars to support emergency relief and recovery projects throughout Puerto Rico. So much of this work has been made possible because people from across our nation and the world and organizations like Evans Incorporated have stood shoulder to shoulder with us. In fact, HF received contributions from more than 125,000 people from all 50 states, every US territory, and from 23 countries around the globe.

From a local perspective, the $5000 goal that Evans Incorporated exceeded helped make the following possible:

  • For each $30 donation, it helped a family of 4 purchase food for a week including:
  • 20lb bag of rice
  • Cans of vegetables, fruit, beans, salchicha and tomato sauce
  • Water, coffee
  • Up to 500 homes were able to receive solar lamps used for lighting needed for areas that have been (and may remain) without electricity

From a broader perspective, thanks to organizations like Evans Incorporated, HF was able to help heal, strengthen and uplift families and communities across Puerto Rico and carried out the following actions:

  • Invested two million dollars to purchase food, water and other essentials for people on the island. More than 4,000,000 pounds of emergency supplies have been delivered directly to 75 of the 78 municipalities across Puerto Rico.
  • Worked with our community, government and philanthropic partners to coordinate nineteen relief aid flights to Puerto Rico, transporting essential supplies, medication, medical equipment, medical personnel and first responders.
  • Seeded an initial $2.5M Fund to support grassroots nonprofits on the island and investing $7.5 million dollars in grassroots nonprofits that will help people rebuild their lives on the island. HF’s goal is to strengthen the social services infrastructure available to families and communities in Puerto Rico.
  • With the goal of purchasing and distributing 100,000 individual water filtration systems for households and classrooms across Puerto Rico, HF worked with the American Federation of Teachers and Operation Blessing International to seed and launch Operation Agua.
  • Established communications with municipal mayors and suppliers on the island that specialize in collecting, packaging, and moving goods throughout Puerto Rico to create fast, reliable routes to hard-hit areas outside of San Juan.
  • Distributed 2,400 water filters to families in Villalba, Utuado, Manati, Hatillo, Barceloneta, Juana Diaz and Santa Isabel.
  • In partnership with Warrior Angels and Mindo Futures, HF helped evacuate 160 patients in need of urgent medical care from Ponce to the U.S. mainland.

 

Celebrating 25 Years of Human-Centered Solutions: “Project Lifesaver”

In 2016 Evans launched PropelUAS, a division of the firm that would provide guidance and expertise to organizations around unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) technology. With more than 20 years of consulting experience at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Evans was uniquely suited to help companies navigate airspace regulations and training requirements.

PropelUAS was awarded the Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards in 2018 for its work supporting the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) “Project Lifesaver” program.

The Opportunity

The Loudon County Sheriff’s Office “Project Lifesaver” program sought to enhance search and rescue efforts by using drones to electronically locate lost individuals. Their innovative use of drones, however, would require comprehensive training of the technology and accompanying rules and regulations.

“The LCSO procured an expensive piece of technology they weren’t able to fly. They placed trust in PropelUAS to guide them through regulatory hurdles and licensing to put it right into action…,” says Sue Evans, President and Founder of Evans Incorporated.

LCSO team knew that people’s lives would be effected by the outcome of this partnership and that they had to get it right the first time. LCSO had many choices when it came to developing their program and training their pilots, they chose the PropelUAS team because of their experience, knowledge and Human-Centered Approach.

Evans’ Human-Centered Approach

The PropelUAS team took a personalized approach in supporting LCSO. They started by base lining where the client’s current UAS program development was, identified long- and short-term objectives of the agency, and then developed a plan for the LCSO to enact to accomplish those objectives.  The PropelUAS team developed agency specific training that included both technical and operational requirements in safety, regulatory and UAS operations efficiency. By understanding how and what LCSO wanted to achieve, the PropelUAS team was able to incorporate their needs and desires into specific scenario based UAS pilot certification training, the training focused on their geographic locations and scenarios that they would be likely to encounter. This allowed LCSO to apply the needed education and skills directly to missions that they would need to accomplish in the field.

The Lasting Impact

Two days after LCSO pilots obtained FAA certification, “Project Lifesaver” rescued a 92-year-old man
who was found within 20 minutes of deploying the drone. Since then, LCSO has located a number of individuals through both Project Lifesaver and regular Search and Rescue operations with the drone in use.  The success of the UAS program has opened the door for an expansion of use into other key areas that LCSO encounters on a daily basis, such as accident reconstruction. The PropelUAS team is proud to have been a partner of LCSO in the early development, continued use and the future endeavors of the LCSO UAS program.

Celebrating 25 Years: The Lasting Impact of a Human-Centered Work Practices Solution

The Opportunity

In 1998, a major financial institution enlisted the help of Evans Incorporated to re-engineer the work practices used to collect and analyze internationally comparable time-series data from over 180 countries – a process that was time consuming and error-prone as it relied on a rigid and outdated time-series Economic Information System (EIS). Evans closely partnered with the technology and data management departments to understand their priorities and collaborated with cross-functional teams to define the software’s requirements. The final product resulted in functional alignment of stakeholders that eliminated the inconsistencies in their process to collect complex country data.

Evans worked closely with department leaders and staff, and the institution’s human resources experts to deploy the reorganization efforts. Over the course of three projects and several years, Evans combined its human-centered implementation strategy with its technical expertise to improve the institution’s operational processes and provide a wholistic and meaningful solution to its workforce needs. After the reorganization’s launch, a cost-benefit analysis of the changed work practices, redefined roles and responsibilities, and more-flexible and feature-rich technology determined the department improve data quality with a reduced staffing need for data management by 25 percent.

Evans’ Human-Centered Approach

Evans worked closely with leadership in the department to design and implement a change management program to encourage technology adoption among stakeholders. Achieving the benefits (and projected savings) required a comprehensive change management approach to effectively modify organization and individual beliefs. Evans helped the department clarify its vision and develop a phased implementation strategy. Additionally, they helped to achieve successful implementation of a new departmental structure, new career ladder for data management, aligned and improved business processes, and an improved partnership with the information technology department in the institution. Throughout the multi-year implementation, Evans supported governance and task teams, provided leadership development to new team leads, developed and drove communication plans for reaching internal and external stakeholders, and facilitated departmental and division team offsite meetings to sustain adoption and reach desired outcomes.  This resulted in a culture of continuous improvement around efficiently gathering and effectively managing economic data and delivering timely, responsive data products for clients within and outside the institution.

The Lasting Impact

The lasting outcome of this partnership was a greater sense of ownership and accountability for statistical data management.  The 25 percent efficiency gain allowed the department to do more with less – while improving data quality and the institution’s reputation as a provider of internationally comparable data. Restructuring the data management process produced a pool of data management experts with skills that could more readily be applied as the institution met requests for new data products to meet ongoing global financial and economic challenges.

Honoring our Roots: Ford ErgoRX

By Sue Evans, Founder, Evans Incorporated

Human-centeredness is a cornerstone of our company formed nearly 25 years ago. While we are excited about changes ahead, we remain true to our DNA – our values, beliefs and behaviors and the culture that has made us a great place to work and deliver impact.

Let me spend a few minutes “honoring our roots” – in “human-centered” consulting.

First, let’s remember that words matter. Did you know that the terms, “company,” “corporation” and “organization,” terms that we routinely use, have a human-centered origin? “Company” evolved from “companion,” “corporation” from the Latin word “corpus,” meaning “body,” and “organization” from “organ.” These are all terms that refer to people, humans, flesh and blood.

It’s hard to escape the human connection – nor would we want to. We also refer to our combined Strengths Finder chart, where each employee’s top five strengths are shown, as our “corporate DNA.”

Evans’ DNA is made up of collection of diverse, yet complementary, strengths or attributes that define us as one unit, one company, one team, but also as individuals. Think of it as a human with blue eyes and blonde hair, the eyes and hair being attributes that are part of the whole organism. So, although our DNA collectively makes us into a company, we are separate individuals, or attributes to the whole organism, as well.

Our DNA is more than a compilation of strengths, of course. Just as an organism’s DNA does not tell the whole story, we are also an organization defined by shared values, beliefs, vision and purpose. This entire combination of values and strengths is essentially what we call our “prosilient” Evans DNA – our culture. I think all of you would agree that Evans’ DNA sets us apart from other companies or organizations. Our DNA helps us frame a consistent experience for us all and allows us to stretch and grow. – That part of our ROOTS is something we will continue to honor!

Second – let me tell you a story that really defines us as Human-Centered.

Many have heard me talk about Ford – our first client.

Let me add more to that story – to help you understand why I’m passionate about those roots. To me, our work with Ford and the Ford UAW to help them automate a paper evidence book exemplified human-centered consulting – on MANY levels.

For context – this work began in the mid-90’s – many of you were in grade school or high school or maybe college – a few of us have a few more years of experience. But email, the internet, and web-based applications were just emerging.

Ford’s head of Corporate Ergonomics came to me with a problem, searching for a solution to improve their Ford Ergonomics Process – a documentation-heavy paper-based process required by Occupational Safety and Health Administration. What could we do to make it easier, and make the data more sharable, auditable? Together we created a kind of skunk works to design and develop a solution – and as we navigated Ford’s corporate IT bureaucracy – finally launch 4 years after its start.

Why human-centered?

  • We partnered with them to automate a paper documentation process – one that the plants used to ID, track, and resolve ergonomic – human/work – issues in the plants.
  • The partnership was based on relationships of trust and respect at all levels – union and management workers from the plant LECs, engineers designing production lines, and corporate/management responsible for compliance with the OSHA mandated process – and our mutual efforts to use automation to make the process better.
  • We designed experiences that enlisted their buy-in, requirements, and feedback – and enabled them to be the adopters and champions for the application’s adoption in the plants
  • We were also “organization innovators” – bringing our tech nerdiness and game changer attitudes to the challenge of designing an application for the web before Ford IT had any web standards. We partnered with our client at Ford to push the envelope – for tech and for access.

The resulting web-based database application, ErgoRx – for Ergonomics Resource Exchange – was launched as Ford’s 1st web-based health and safety application, and Ford’s 2nd web application overall.
And Evans continues to host, support and maintain ErgoRx – since 2009 as version 2.0 – where it’s used in 17 countries, by 43 active LECs, and 1300 users, and over the past 10 years, has tracked nearly 12000 ergonomic concern investigations.

Our roots as human centered consultants run deep – allowing a lot of healthy growth and diverse work to occur.

“Human-Centered” defines what we do and how we do it!