• June 27, 2022

Rocket.Build 2019: Disruptive user experiences

When we disrupt, we choose to uproot how we think, behave, and do business. “Disruption,” as it applies to technology, can also signify rapid evolution—changing our business by deconstructing current processes and creating new, more efficient, and more valuable technologies all at once.  At Rocket, we’re so focused on creating efficient, valuable modern technologies that we’ve made “Disruptive User Experiences” one of the core themes at our Rocket.Build hackathon this year.

When you have years of knowledge layered, meticulously, into a product, whether you’re a developer or a user, it’s easy to get used to the way things are. Over time, this tends to result in adding new features and functionality incrementally based on structures that may or may not be reflective of the modern world. When someone new, and without those years of knowledge, uses those interfaces, they just don’t know where to start. But good product design means building products to match your customer’s needs, not expecting your customers to adapt to your products.

This week, we’ve grouped developers, designers, solutions engineers, and Rocketeers from across our organization into teams to challenge themselves and consider Rocket products from new perspectives. Rocketeers are out of their usual offices, working with both new and familiar colleagues and customers, in a brand new collaborative space intended to spark innovation. These teams are building tools to help users around the world better interact with mainframe, Power systems, and enterprise databases in enjoyable, user-friendly ways. Final Rocket.Build projects will be evaluated by how well they solve customer problems for both existing and potential users just beginning to enter the workforce.

In my own department—design and user experience—a full 75% are on Rocket.Build teams this week, and all our summer design interns are participating, too. Considering “Disruptive User Experiences” is a daily practice for the designers here, but inspiring the Builders with the theme is a chance to rapidly evolve the state of our products. Setting aside time and space to drive change and let development teams upend the limitations of the past is why we host this event. At Rocket.Build, we’re disrupting our own shared visions for our products, so that we can more easily build the right experiences for end users throughout the rest of the year.

Designers this week are working on Zowe app generators, chatbots for the mainframe, interactive z/OS tutorials, virtual desktop personalization settings, and more—projects that couldn’t have even been considered without some serious disruption to mainframe user experience!  Even parts of Zowe itself famously grew out of a Rocket.Build project, and it’s now being used by all of our hackathon teams as an enablement platform for more disruption. Today’s disruptors become tomorrow’s baselines.

Rocketeers are building based on not only the way things are, or the way they have always been, but the way things could be. If we can build a disruptive user experience and break through yesterday’s limitations in the course of this one little week, just think about what other amazing things we might be able to create next year.

Kimberly Andersson 0 Posts

Kimberly Andersson is Director of User Experience at Rocket Software. She leads a global team of product designers and information developers focused on making IBM Z technology simple and straightforward to use. She believes in uncomplicating the complex, building change through collaboration, and creating corporate cultures that are customer-centric. Kimberly credits her skillset to formal design education, self-directed computer science coursework, and a lot of figuring it out in practice.


  • Fake Reply

    July 1, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Technological advancements like the mobile phone—Lyft, for example, couldn’t be possible without it. It’s required the observation of friction in the consumer experience or the identification of an unmet need in the market—just think about how Netflix made Blockbuster obsolete

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