THE HUMAN-CENTRED ORGANIZATION

April 15, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 13/04/2016. You can view older eBulletins here and register to receive them monthly.

THE HUMAN-CENTRED ORGANIZATION

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The new ISO27500:2016 standard has just been published and addresses human wellbeing as an important economic measure. Unusually for an ISO standard, this document is aimed directly at executive board members and provides seven key measures of human-centredness. For those of us involved in ergonomics and human factors, this represents a quantum leap by drawing together health, safety and wellbeing, accessibility, individuality, inclusivity and social responsibility into a single document as guiding principles in the design of products, services and processes both within and beyond an organisation.

HFE IN PRACTICE

book250px‘Human Factors and Ergonomics in Practice: Improving Wellbeing and Performance in the Real World’ is a new book about HFE as it is actually applied in day-to-day life. It is edited by Steven Shorrock and Claire Williams and contains an impressive list of international authors. Amidst the distilled knowledge of this august and international body of professionals is a chapter by me! The book is due to be published in Summer 2016 but you can find much more information in the extensive blog or through #HFEinPractice on Twitter.

WEBINARS

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We have just scheduled another series of events running through until August. These popular sessions provide an ideal way to extend your knowledge or refresh your memory in a focused session of less than an hour. The current timetable includes modules by our Training Manager, Stuart Entwistle, but I have three speaking engagements scheduled over the next couple of months so I shall be developing new themes to be added soon. All our webinars are free. Take a look at www.ergonomics.events.

NATIONAL BACK EXCHANGE

nbe250pxWe have just booked our space again for the NBE conference and exhibition in September. This year’s theme is ‘Erasing Boundaries’. As well as displaying new products, we also plan to deliver one of the exhibitor workshops. Our session title this year is ‘Coping Strategies in a Rapidly Changing Workplace’.  There are many issues facing managers today and the pace of change makes juggling priorities even more difficult. Obviously, I have no idea what the content will be yet but I plan to make it both informative and entertaining!

GET BRITAIN SLEEPING CAMPAIGN

sleeping250pxDid you see our April Fools’ Day email, blog or web site? With new, and often conflicting, research appearing almost daily, it is hard for business managers to know what guidance to follow. To confuse everyone further, we announced a new recommendation that ‘Work routines should be broken at least once an hour with a short sleep of 3-7 minutes’. In the end, nobody asked us for more information about the ‘sleep walking treadmill desk’ and we spent far more time on this nonsense than we should have, but it was fun! If you missed it, take a look at getbritainsleeping.com.


Why do we WoW?

February 10, 2015

WoW LogoI have been thinking about the significance of clever marketing in the creation of a reputation.

The influence of the internet is now so overwhelming that a new product can power its way into the hearts and minds of consumers on the strength of search engine optimisation, Google AdSense and social media alone. However, the fact that ‘everybody’s talking about it’ does not necessarily mean a product is good!

As a vendor of products to improve workplace ergonomics, we have established a procedure to bypass any marketing or publicity bias and ensure our judgements are based on facts. This has been part of our ISO9001 quality system for many years and, although it may appear quite unsophisticated, it has proven itself many times. I have shared our procedure below and welcome comments and observations. At the moment, I believe the process to be unique in the industry but will be flattered (and encouraged!) by any who wish to adopt it.

We call it the ‘WoW Factor’ test. Every new product is reviewed by our WoW Factor committee and it works like this:

Ergonomics and quality are key.  The review committee consists of four people from the Customer Service team and four from Sales.  As well as different roles, it includes men and women of different statures and different psychometric profiles. This helps us to consider both physical ergonomics and human factors. Typically, the Customer Service personnel look at what sort of follow-up, technical questions, setup issues, etc. they might encounter and the sales team look at how attractive it will be to customers!

Each product is given 2 scores:

  1. Wow Factor – would I like one, do I “get it”, is it obvious what it’s for or how to use it?
  2. Usability Score – are the instructions good, is it easy to adjust, does it fulfil our ergonomics expectations, does it “do what it says on the tin”? (We also consider sales price at this stage).

WoW Factor ScoringTotal scores are not an absolute decider but they focus our attention on the key features and benefits as well as providing a basis for comparison to similar products. They also inform our discussion about whether or not the product is good enough to be part of our portfolio.


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