As part of our new shared reality, the Jarvis Con – Space Edition was moved online. The first edition started off with a bang with Guest speaker John Benac giving a talk on “Amplifying the voice of the customer to engineers”.
John is currently based in Houston, Texas, and is a Director of Advanced Concepts at Nanoracks. Nanoracks is driven by the vision of using their unique exercise to solve key problems both in space and on earth and is committed to lowering the barriers to entry of space exploration. As part of this commitment, they have not only launched over 1000 projects into Space, added an airlock to the space station but also on route to owning and operating private space station outposts from repurposed in-space hardware (otherwise known as “space junk”).
A part of their success in offering Space services is their ability to not only excel in hardware engineering and manufacture but also in creating a user-friendly approach and culture. Engaging more effectively with clients and advising in the most appropriate fashion to enable incredible discoveries in space, by users across the world spanning from leading experts to government agencies, student teams but also experimental research and design teams. This ability requires efforts on the part of the whole team to not only design user-friendly hardware with COTS when possible but also an effort to utilise a language that commercial customers can relate to.
Throughout his presentation, John presented to guests the approach that they utilise in Nanoracks and how it can be applied to wider engineering projects.
Here are the key takeaways:
- Create (or even hypothesise) a persona for your product, keeping in mind the priorities they want to solve and most importantly the budget they have in mind. This creates a voice for the customer.
- The interface between you and your customer is not always the same, keep in mind expectations for specific missions, some members may be more technical or non-technical make sure to be mindful of this and cater roles, responsibilities and expectations appropriately.
- Performance and goals are unique – optimisation may not mean the same thing for each mission, keep in mind what metrics to quantify & optimise for each project
- Engineers are developing amazing products but their success relies on connecting their expertise & work to their customers’ needs – make sure to communicate, plan and track expectations, needs and performance.
As part of John Benac’s job as Director of Advanced Concepts, a large component of his responsibility is to make complicated things simple. Our first Jarvis Con’ session certainly convinced us that amplifying the voice of the customer to engineers was not only incredibly important but also uniquely simple. In John’s words: “Welcome it, embrace it, plan for it!”
If you want to catch up on what you missed, watch the full recording here:
About John Benac:
John Benac has worked at different types of Space Enterprises, across the product lifecycle, and on a range of different space vehicles. He believes that expanding human activity in space will bring peace and prosperity to humankind. John lives in Houston and loves to explore planet Earth while planning the exploration and development of the solar system.
Connect with John.