I’m working now for many years for WS Audiology and its predecessor companies, one of the largest hearing aid manufacturer. Over all these years, one thing didn’t change: People don’t want hearing aids, even if they perceive heavy deficits in hearing. Great advances in technology leading to improved sound quality could not overcome the stigma associated with wearing hearing aids.
How might we overcome the negative emotions connected with hearing aids especially if people don’t know much about them?
Looking for hints online to answer this question, I came across the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF). They offer a course called Emotional Design: How to Make Products People Will Love which was exactly what I was looking for. The largest learning for me was how human brains are processing the information from the environment. This course made me realize and understand that the users have to get into a more central role, maybe I should say in the central role of the innovation process. Coming from an engineering focused company, this is a big change. Making assumptions about the users and their needs worked reasonably well in the past. Striving for excellence, however, also in the light of intensified competition, requires to design and develop together with the users.
The IDF has great courses which gave me valuable insights in how this user centric design could be implemented. I selected Design Thinking: The Beginner’s Guide and User Research — Methods and Best Practices. Both are excellent courses, which I could stretch over a couple of months filling up my available time for learning and applying the contents in my work. It is not always easy to stay focused if there is no time limit to finish the course. It definitely helps that the material is organized in smaller lessons which allows to make progress in not more than 30 minutes of invested time in one go.
The journey has just begun. I’m looking forward to learn more about service design at IDF soon. Like in other industries, the hearing aid business has growing opportunities in providing services for the health care professionals and the users. I’m convinced that co-creation with our users and stakeholders is key.