Original article was published by Arin Bhowmick on Artificial Intelligence on Medium
IBM Watson Discovery wins a finalist spot in Fast Company’s 2020 Innovation by Design Awards
This prestigious competition placed IBM Cloud & Data Platform alongside some of the most innovative design in our industry
Our designers take on ambitious projects in order to solve complex problems. I see up close the talent, grit, and humility it takes to do that well. I’m excited to share that Fast Company’s 2020 Innovation by Design Awards honored Watson Discovery as a finalist in their user experience category.
Innovation by Design embraces creative work at the intersection of design, business, and innovation. Several acclaimed designers, executives, and thought leaders sat on the jury this year to find and promote exceptional work in our industry. Entries are judged on the key ingredients of innovation: functionality, originality, beauty, sustainability, user insight, cultural impact, and business impact.
We need innovative design more than ever, and the 2020 honorees have brought creativity, inventiveness, and humanity to address some of the world’s most pressing problems. — Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief of Fast Company
IBM Watson Discovery is an AI search technology that retrieves specific answers to your questions while analyzing trends and relationships buried in enterprise data. Using cutting-edge natural language processing, allows employees to spend less time searching for information and more time acting on valuable insights.
As IBM helps ushers its clients into the era of the cognitive enterprise, the Watson Discovery product team realized that data scientists and engineers can’t be the only ones who utilize AI.
Shifting users meant shifting mindsets
To further democratize the use of Watson Discovery, the product team shifted their mindset to center the business users in a user experience revamp. The needs, wants, and expectations of a business user acted as their guiding light the entire way.
The US-based team visited clients in Japan in an effort to understand the needs of these business users, sitting side-by-side with them to see their current workflows firsthand. Through workshops, sponsor user feedback, and remote testing, they were able to piece together a clearer picture of “the business user” to see what Watson Discovery’s functionality could do for them.
With a strong focus set in place, leadership trusted the team to carry out the strategy, while providing feedback through frequent meetings. To pull this massive effort off, they found ways to work with different squads from around the world.
The end result brought a set of tools historically geared towards developers, data scientists, and AI engineers, right into the hands of the most underutilized user base: business users. To cater to their workflow, the out-of-box models retrieve pertinent information from the data and provide the user with a set of tools to customize their project. Business users can also react to changes and continuously iterate. This allows them to both meet their end goal and see small, valuable victories each step of the way.
I’m so proud of this team for their excellent work — and excited that this competition’s prestigious jury gave them the recognition they deserve.
Design lead: Kim Callery
Design team: Adi Veerubholta, Becca Shuman, Jeremy Burton, Joanne Lo, Frances Kim, Nicole Black, Sam Pattnaik, Stephanie Brunner, and Zak Crapo