Challenge: Manufacturing sectors are filled with opportunities for new tools, processes and job creation. With an aging workforce, manufacturing must become labor efficient while improving tools and processes to lower cost, reduce environmental impacts and attract younger workers.
Process: Secondary research was used to uncover the tool landscape and critical challenges unique to a few manufacturing types. Then, Manufacturing facilities from around the country were selected for in-house ethnographic studies over a 3 month period. Observations and interviews were used to identify key pain points and opportunities for technological innovations. Although difficult to schedule and arrange because of security and safety concerns, using on-site visits made all the difference for driving innovation for a desirable product.
Outcome: Findings from these studies enabled the development of a new manufacturing tool including new integrated processes and opportunities for new high skilled jobs aimed at younger workers. Key insights from these studies were used in subsequent generative research rounds to refine new tools and features.
My Role: As lead researcher for secondary and primary research, I designed guides, conducted all interviews, synthesized results and facilitated subsequent generative workshops and presented results to stakeholders. I worked with local recruitment vendors to provide a highly specialized participant pool.