Harnessing the concept of human-centered design, ASG Group is on the ground, working with its clients one-on-one to build the bespoke solutions that suit them.
Whether it is education, banking, policing, health, government or the resources sector, ASG Group has developed IT solutions for a range of industries, assisting companies to take advantage of technology to change the way they work.
ASG has changed the way it engages with the mining industry through human-centered design (HCD), an approach to problem-solving that involves deeply understanding the experience of people on the ground and designing solutions with their input.
Traditionally, digital tools used at work have been technology led, with end users sometimes feeling like an afterthought. In contrast, HCD has proven to be the inclusive consultation component workers have been crying out for.
ASG regional capability manager and design leader Greg Stewart says design thinking and HCD have become a cornerstone of the company’s service delivery.
“It’s a philosophy by which we attack most of our big, transformative projects,” Stewart says.
Stewart says the ability to design new capabilities and find creative solutions to problems rather than simply install technology platforms has increased as the digital age has smartened, allowing human input to come to the fore.
“One of the biggest sources of pain for people is when the tools they have to do the job become frustrating, or worse useless. If it’s no good, people will find a way to work around it, or they’ll just leave efficiency and opportunity on the table,” Stewart says.
“It often used to be that the systems we use at work wouldn’t be quite right because of a technology limitation. But as technology has become more sophisticated and more flexible, we can concentrate less on the tech itself, and more on the people using it.
“This is because we can bend the technology to support what the people need to do, and critically, to do it in a way that suits the way they work and their context.”
ASG has harnessed its HCD approach to provide solutions to many major organisations, including Western Australia energy corporation Western Power and several Tier 1 mining companies.
One mining client asked for a revolution to its maintenance administration methods.
Stewart says the major Australian miner wanted to transform the way it managed maintenance, as a lot of the maintenance processes at this company were paper based.
“Instead of assuming we knew the answer, building a tool around that and foisting it on them, we took the time to understand the changes the business needed to see, and what the reality was for the maintainers,” he says.
“We asked them, ‘What information do you need right now, how do you want to see it, and what’s wrong with the way you see it right now?’”
“Being with them while they work and where they work is a great way to unlock less obvious sources of value. That way, you see the problems that people have gotten so good at working around, they might not recognise it as a problem anymore.
“Also, their context – their working conditions matter too,” Stewart continues. “What you want to give a person holding a screen in the glaring sun, covered in dust, wearing safety glasses, or what a person in a confined space requires, is vastly different to what can be seen on a big screen in a crib room or a nice office.
“So, we had a nice combination of giving them what they wanted in a way they wanted it, and also standardising processes so the business could get all the information they wanted, to make sure the maintenance happened well and captured the kind of data that will let them get on with the next generation of improvements with AI etc.”
As ASG continues to evolve, the company aims to increase the scale of its HCD offering while also staying on the beat as industry advancements occur.
“Equally if not more fruitful will be working with mining companies as they make wholesale adoptions to ways of working that lend themselves to HCD,” Stewart says.
“A great example of that is adopting agile thinking on an industrial scale. Mining is more and more about optimising complex interdependent systems. The approach of identifying targeted results and pursuing them with a series of hypotheses and experiments is the way to go. That approach couldn’t lend itself better to support from design thinking.”
Underpinned by a mantra of accessibility and personability, ASG’s HCD approach is the new frontier of intersectoral collaboration, enabling everyone to join in on the digitisation party.
This article appears in the December issue of Australian Mining.