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The Context Of Design Thinking And Its Application In Employee Skill Training

Design thinking is a crucial pillar in today’s problem-solving imperatives. In fact, it is being pursued as a unit course in various institutions across the globe, thus underlying its importance in aiding objective human thinking. It’s not a specific property for designers. Far from it, it has emerged as an innovative solution-seeking tool for all great inventors and innovators.
 
By description, it is a design methodology used for tackling complex problems that are virtually unknown or ill-defined, through a careful evaluation of the human needs involved, understandably restructuring the problem, by brainstorming to create many solutions, and by adopting a direct approach in testing and prototyping. It helps us come up with creative ways to solve nagging problems that stem from us and especially in the workplace setting.
 
The ‘overwhelmed/overburdened employee’ is a common term in HR offices across many organizations in the world. Employees are faced with a huge challenge in regards to coping with fast-paced technological and office changes in the working environment. This had led to a massive stagnation in productivity, prompting HR heads to look for new ways to reduce their employees’ stress and workload.
 
While evaluating many options, this model of thinking has posed as a helpful tool for HR managers when dealing with their vexed employees. IT training, in particular, has helped shape the productive realms of many companies out there.
 
Let’s explore how this thinking domain can be used to plan employee skill training:
 
Empathize
If you want to show concern for your employees, first empathize with their situation. Seek to understand the needs of the employees deeply, what they lack, what they need, and the challenges that they are likely facing. This will act as the basis of plotting the problem and working on the next phase of solving it.
 
You can collect data in this phase through empathy maps and journey maps. In the latter, you endeavor to steadily track the day-to-day activities and tasks of employees. This is achieved through observations or structured interviews. In turn, it aids in elevating the thinking process.
 
Through empathy maps, you ponder on collected findings and synthesize them keenly. Here, you seek to establish how an employee is thinking, their feelings, and insights into the probable root cause of the problem.
 
Define the Problem
After a comprehensive analysis of the collected data; the problem definition phase should follow. The idea here is to locate the underlying root of the problem concisely. HR should seek to utilize an analysis framework to help address problems affecting the holistic being of all employees. Therefore, each issue would require a list of underlying causes: lack of motivation, lack of knowledge/understanding, or just lack of skill.
 
Once the root cause(s) are clearly defined, a clear problem statement should be drawn up alongside performance goals that are firmly based on actual drivers. 
 
Think Solely About Employee-Based Solutions (iterative learning)
Conventionally, customers are at the heart of every organization’s dealings. They inspire and drive the company’s objectives because they are crucial in profit making. However, employees have greatly suffered while working ‘behind the scenes.’ Such situations have led to employees feeling discontent and work under immense pressure, which inevitably leads to underperformance. To avoid this, the experimental learning concept can be utilized by HR offices to engage employees more by creating solutions that directly suit the situations they encounter daily.
 
Here, trainers are removed as the center of focus. An iterative ‘reflection’ cycle is established to tap continuous employee feedback in a bid to sharpen their skills. This method helps employees adapt to new technology through a well established IT consulting network. In the long run, employees don’t forget how they handled a particular problem, and this effectively raises a firm’s productivity.
 
Support Employee Tasks with Simple Technology (Ideate)
The simplest way to support employee-working experience is by not sidelining them unprepared with changing technology processes. As an HR Manager, fully engage your employees when transitioning to new tech by making use of effective training or consulting services. Specific training needs can be assessed and addressed within the organization or with a third party industry expert. 
 
According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends Report, design thinking was isolated as crucial in crafting the employee experience. 79% of those interviewed identified it as imperative. However, almost a similar percentage agreed that a lot of compliance programs and training are still based on outdated modes of meetings and processes.
 
The report also recommended the need to put necessary consideration on employees through proper IT training for far colossal efficiency. One way to make this work is by drawing a connected roadmap of skills and information needed at certain work intervals. Shedding off overwhelming and irrelevant amounts of data for new employees is vital in retaining their concentration and output. What’s more, a customizable app can help employees undertake appropriate tasks at the specified time, thus resulting in higher revenue for the long term.
 
Implementing an Intuitive Tech Learning Approach (Ideate)
The basis of this argument is that not every employee is the same. All of them are differently gifted and shouldn’t be forced to use one inflexible technology or system that doesn’t cater to their individual needs in a buzzing work environment. This mode of critical thinking brings to life personas such that fictive employees representing a defined group of external employees are drawn up. In this set-up, the personas should be able to learn and work efficiently within their own small environment while quickly utilizing their own skill set and the required information to make things work.
 
An HR manager can replicate this working scenario through the use of role-plays. This can be achieved by conducting short-term soft skills training sessions to sharpen their ability to handle similar situations. In the case of new technology, video-replays on how to use it in a one-on-one customer scenario can help relieve the pressure and spur the employee to be more productive.
 
Prototype and Testing
Here, the HR Manager should run a couple of tests to ensure whether the desired model of skill training is working. One way to get started is by crafting a simple prototype of the technology required, probably as a single module to establish its viability.
 
The new technology should be vigorously tested during prototyping to pinpoint any leaks, disjoints, or performance issues. Structured walkthroughs can be implemented to help employees navigate the solution through proper IT training sessions.
 
What’s more, HR should conduct sessions to get the employees’ views, emotions, or feelings regarding the new solution. In case of any cause for concern, the prototype should be improved until it meets the intermediate needs of its users.
 
Iterations are also a common occurrence in this phase. Refinements and alterations are curved out to make sure that the final thing suits every employee in some understandable capacity.
 
Wrapping Up
Design thinking is crucial in any organizational setting in making sure that employees sync properly with the technology in place. This will go a long way in improving their productivity.

Another blanket article about the pros and cons of Direct to Consumer (D2C) isn’t needed, I know. By now, we all know the rules for how this model enters a market: its disruption fights any given sector’s established sales model, a fuzzy compromise is temporarily met, and the lean innovator always wins out in the end.

That’s exactly how it played out in the music industry when Apple and record companies created a digital storefront in iTunes to usher music sales into the online era. What now appears to have been a stopgap compromise, iTunes was the standard model for 5-6 years until consumers realized there was no point in purchasing and owning digital media when internet speeds increased and they could listen to it for free through a music streaming service.  In 2013, streaming models are the new music consumption standard. Netflix is nearly parallel in the film and TV world, though they’ve done a better job keeping it all under one roof. Apple mastered retail sales so well that the majority of Apple products, when bought in-person, are bought at an Apple store. That’s even more impressive when you consider how few Apple stores there are in the U.S. (253) compared to big box electronics stores that sell Apple products like Best Buy (1,100) Yet while some industries have implemented a D2C approach to great success, others haven’t even dipped a toe in the D2C pool, most notably the auto industry.

What got me thinking about this topic is the recent flurry of attention Tesla Motors has received for its D2C model. It all came to a head at the beginning of July when a petition on whitehouse.gov to allow Tesla to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states reached the 100,000 signatures required for administration comment. As you might imagine, many powerful car dealership owners armed with lobbyists have made a big stink about Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO and Product Architect, choosing to sidestep the traditional supply chain and instead opting to sell directly to their customers through their website. These dealership owners say that they’re against the idea because they want to protect consumers, but the real motive is that they want to defend their right to exist (and who wouldn’t?). They essentially have a monopoly at their position in the sales process, and they want to keep it that way. More frightening for the dealerships is the possibility that once Tesla starts selling directly to consumers, so will the big three automakers, and they fear that would be the end of the road for their business. Interestingly enough, the big three flirted with the idea of D2C in the early 90’s before they were met with fierce backlash from dealerships. I’m sure the dealership community has no interest in mounting a fight like that again. 

To say that the laws preventing Tesla from selling online are peripherally relevant would be a compliment. By and large, the laws the dealerships point to fall under the umbrella of “Franchise Laws” that were put in place at the dawn of car sales to protect franchisees against manufacturers opening their own stores and undercutting the franchise that had invested so much to sell the manufacturer’s cars.  There’s certainly a need for those laws to exist, because no owner of a dealership selling Jeeps wants Chrysler to open their own dealership next door and sell them for substantially less. However, because Tesla is independently owned and isn’t currently selling their cars through any third party dealership, this law doesn’t really apply to them. Until their cars are sold through independent dealerships, they’re incapable of undercutting anyone by implementing D2C structure.

Learning SQL development can seem like an overwhelming task at first. However, mastering just a few key points will help ease your way through 80 percent of the day-to-day challenges when writing stored procedures and solving common problems. Here are three important SQL development factors to keep in mind:


Outer Joins
One of the most crucial things to understand in SQL server are joins. Joins are a way to retrieve data from two or more tables based on logical relationships between them. Joins dictate how Microsoft SQL Server ought to use data from one table to select the rows in another table.

In my experience inner joins are intuitive while outer joins can present additional hours of grief by overlooking associations in the other table(s). The outer join is the key to answering questions about what the database does not have. For example, if you need to make a query to display all the students who are without report-cards, you’ll need a left join to get all students coupled with a “where clause” to return the ones who have nulls for their report card table columns in the results.

Many talented Java script programmers have muddled through the SQL Server by deficient coding around the inner join. As a result, their queries can take five hours to run, whereas, properly written left joins, can take only two seconds to run.

Aggregation
Grouping results comes up in SQL a lot more than you might think. Knowing how to write a query when answering questions such as, “What’s the average grade for each teacher’s student list?” is invaluable. This kind of question cannot be answered with a single table or solely by joins.  You’ll often find you need to use joins in conjunction with group by statements. Always write the raw query first and then look at the results. Next, you have to figure out the best way to group them, rewrite your select clause and add a group by clause in the end.

Digging Through Data
I find this is the most lacking skill in many programmers. In fact, many otherwise-talented programmers holding Master’s Degrees fail to get jobs because they couldn’t analyze rows of data objectively during interviews. It’s just something that’s not taught but is crucial to get under you belt. Why? Eventually, some query is not going to perform as you may expect. And, the only way to find discrepancies is to look at rows of data, identify what join isn’t finding a match or where bad data is throwing things into chaos. Get familiar with how joins actually work, even if you have to manually walk through the logic of a large stored procedure’s tree of joins. It’s boring and time-consuming but absolutely necessary.


Take the time to master the core skills that will make you a successful SQL Programmer and avoid queries that run for five hours!

Many of us who have iPhones download every interesting app we find on the App Store, especially when they’re free. They can range from a simple payment method app, to a game, to a measurement tool. But, as you may have noticed, our phones become cluttered with tons of pages that we have to swipe through to get to an app that we need on demand. However, with an update by Apple that came out not so long ago, you are able to group your applications into categories that are easily accessible, for all of you organization lovers.

To achieve this grouping method, take a hold of one of the applications you want to categorize. Take a game for example. What you want to do is press your finger on that particular application, and hold it there until all of the applications on the screen begin to jiggle. This is where the magic happens. Drag it over to another game application you want to have in the same category, and release. Your applications should now be held in a little container on your screen. However, a step ago, if you did not have another game application on the same screen, and since you can’t swipe, try putting the held game application on any application you choose, and simply remove that extra application from the list, after moving over another gaming application from a different page.

Tech Life in California

Largely influenced by several immigrant populations California has experienced several technological, entertainment and economic booms over the years. As for technology, Silicon Valley, in the southern part of San Francisco is an integral part of the world?s innovators, high-tech businesses and a myriad of techie start-ups. It also accounts for 1/3rd of all venture capital investments.
If you have the right attitude, interesting problems will find you. Eric Raymond
other Learning Options
Software developers near Pomona have ample opportunities to meet like minded techie individuals, collaborate and expend their career choices by participating in Meet-Up Groups. The following is a list of Technology Groups in the area.
Fortune 500 and 1000 companies in California that offer opportunities for IBM developers
Company Name City Industry Secondary Industry
Mattel, Inc. El Segundo Retail Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book, and Music Stores
Spectrum Group International, Inc. Irvine Retail Retail Other
Chevron Corp San Ramon Energy and Utilities Gasoline and Oil Refineries
Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. Pasadena Real Estate and Construction Construction and Remodeling
eBay Inc. San Jose Software and Internet E-commerce and Internet Businesses
Broadcom Corporation Irvine Computers and Electronics Semiconductor and Microchip Manufacturing
Franklin Templeton Investments San Mateo Financial Services Investment Banking and Venture Capital
Pacific Life Insurance Company Newport Beach Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
Tutor Perini Corporation Sylmar Real Estate and Construction Construction and Remodeling
SYNNEX Corporation Fremont Software and Internet Data Analytics, Management and Storage
Core-Mark International Inc South San Francisco Manufacturing Food and Dairy Product Manufacturing and Packaging
Occidental Petroleum Corporation Los Angeles Manufacturing Chemicals and Petrochemicals
Yahoo!, Inc. Sunnyvale Software and Internet Software and Internet Other
Edison International Rosemead Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Ingram Micro, Inc. Santa Ana Computers and Electronics Consumer Electronics, Parts and Repair
Safeway, Inc. Pleasanton Retail Grocery and Specialty Food Stores
Gilead Sciences, Inc. San Mateo Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Pharmaceuticals
AECOM Technology Corporation Los Angeles Real Estate and Construction Architecture,Engineering and Design
Reliance Steel and Aluminum Los Angeles Manufacturing Metals Manufacturing
Live Nation, Inc. Beverly Hills Media and Entertainment Performing Arts
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Sunnyvale Computers and Electronics Semiconductor and Microchip Manufacturing
Pacific Gas and Electric Corp San Francisco Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Electronic Arts Inc. Redwood City Software and Internet Games and Gaming
Oracle Corporation Redwood City Software and Internet Software and Internet Other
Symantec Corporation Mountain View Software and Internet Data Analytics, Management and Storage
Dole Food Company, Inc. Thousand Oaks Manufacturing Food and Dairy Product Manufacturing and Packaging
CBRE Group, Inc. Los Angeles Real Estate and Construction Real Estate Investment and Development
First American Financial Corporation Santa Ana Financial Services Financial Services Other
The Gap, Inc. San Francisco Retail Clothing and Shoes Stores
Ross Stores, Inc. Pleasanton Retail Clothing and Shoes Stores
Qualcomm Incorporated San Diego Telecommunications Wireless and Mobile
Charles Schwab Corporation San Francisco Financial Services Securities Agents and Brokers
Sempra Energy San Diego Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Western Digital Corporation Irvine Computers and Electronics Consumer Electronics, Parts and Repair
Health Net, Inc. Woodland Hills Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, and Biotech Other
Allergan, Inc. Irvine Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Biotechnology
The Walt Disney Company Burbank Media and Entertainment Motion Picture and Recording Producers
Hewlett-Packard Company Palo Alto Computers and Electronics Consumer Electronics, Parts and Repair
URS Corporation San Francisco Real Estate and Construction Architecture,Engineering and Design
Cisco Systems, Inc. San Jose Computers and Electronics Networking Equipment and Systems
Wells Fargo and Company San Francisco Financial Services Banks
Intel Corporation Santa Clara Computers and Electronics Semiconductor and Microchip Manufacturing
Applied Materials, Inc. Santa Clara Computers and Electronics Semiconductor and Microchip Manufacturing
Sanmina Corporation San Jose Computers and Electronics Semiconductor and Microchip Manufacturing
Agilent Technologies, Inc. Santa Clara Telecommunications Telecommunications Equipment and Accessories
Avery Dennison Corporation Pasadena Manufacturing Paper and Paper Products
The Clorox Company Oakland Manufacturing Chemicals and Petrochemicals
Apple Inc. Cupertino Computers and Electronics Consumer Electronics, Parts and Repair
Amgen Inc Thousand Oaks Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Biotechnology
McKesson Corporation San Francisco Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Pharmaceuticals
DIRECTV El Segundo Telecommunications Cable Television Providers
Visa, Inc. San Mateo Financial Services Credit Cards and Related Services
Google, Inc. Mountain View Software and Internet E-commerce and Internet Businesses

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the hartmann software group advantage
A successful career as a software developer or other IT professional requires a solid understanding of software development processes, design patterns, enterprise application architectures, web services, security, networking and much more. The progression from novice to expert can be a daunting endeavor; this is especially true when traversing the learning curve without expert guidance. A common experience is that too much time and money is wasted on a career plan or application due to misinformation.

The Hartmann Software Group understands these issues and addresses them and others during any training engagement. Although no IT educational institution can guarantee career or application development success, HSG can get you closer to your goals at a far faster rate than self paced learning and, arguably, than the competition. Here are the reasons why we are so successful at teaching:

  • Learn from the experts.
    1. We have provided software development and other IT related training to many major corporations in California since 2002.
    2. Our educators have years of consulting and training experience; moreover, we require each trainer to have cross-discipline expertise i.e. be Java and .NET experts so that you get a broad understanding of how industry wide experts work and think.
  • Discover tips and tricks about IBM programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized IBM experts
  • Get up to speed with vital IBM programming tools
  • Save on travel expenses by learning right from your desk or home office. Enroll in an online instructor led class. Nearly all of our classes are offered in this way.
  • Prepare to hit the ground running for a new job or a new position
  • See the big picture and have the instructor fill in the gaps
  • We teach with sophisticated learning tools and provide excellent supporting course material
  • Books and course material are provided in advance
  • Get a book of your choice from the HSG Store as a gift from us when you register for a class
  • Gain a lot of practical skills in a short amount of time
  • We teach what we know…software
  • We care…
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