A few years ago, Emerson shifted the way it developed products and technology by incorporating Human Centered Design, the idea of creating products that are “designed for purpose.” This way of thinking was established through our relationship with Carnegie Mellon University, a leader in usability. After seeing the great work CMU did with usability, Emerson established its own Human Centered Design Institute, with a goal of making users’ jobs easier.

Human Centered Design is more than just implementing features and functionality into products that make them easy to use. It is about knowing what a customer wants before they even know they need it. It is about understanding industry processes, the associated challenges and specific user needs. Implementing the Human Centered Design approach into products helps our developers look beyond the technology to address other types of industry issues, for example losing a skilled and knowledgeable workforce due to retirement.

By incorporating this approach, products are more robust, reliable and require less training. Instead of having a product that requires hours of specialized training and expertise, Human Centered Design allows users to focus on their day-to-day work. Human Centered Design is never a one-time thing. It is an iterative process that continues to develop based on continuous user testing and evaluation, just as a company and solution does.

Watch the REPLAY of our second Google Hangout on Air that was recorded on December 8th at 2 p.m. MST. We discussed Emerson’s approach to HCD and how it fosters innovation with me (Katie Sullivan), Jay Elkerton, Duane Toavs and Christina Koffskey. For even more information on Emerson’s Human Centered Design approach: