Blockchain Invoicing for TradeLens

Research and design a blockchain-based logistics service at IBM

Blockchain Invoicing for TradeLens

Starting in late 2018, I worked with offering manager Rak-Joon Choi and architect Yedendra Shrinivasan to research and design Blockchain Invoicing for TradeLens.

Background research

I joined the project initially to advise on whether to revise or rebuild an existing offering in this space. To that end, I conducted expert-based evaluative studies with my product team and SMEs, followed by a two-day study at a client site involving interviews, contextual inquiries, and design thinking activities with SMEs and prospective users. This allowed me to produce deliverables for my product team and a recommendation to rebuild the application, but co-designed with the prospective users.

From here, we were able to pivot from the previous method of traditional spec-based design instructions to a co-design workflow. We built artifacts like job stories and journey maps to keep us focused on design, maintain perspective of the users, and provide clear language that our product teams could use to do their own planning.

Design iterations

Initially, I developed three concepts for a solution and used conceptual testing methods with stakeholders to align on a single one to proceed with. We used agile processes to iterate on it with regular primary research with users and stakeholders, evaluative work with users and SMEs, UI design, product team syncs, and operations work.

Closer to the end of our initial release cycle in mid 2019, my time was primarily spent on design quality assurance (QA) with my front-end development team, primarly on visual design fixes. I also contributed a few components, edits, and suggestions to IBM’s Carbon Design System and Carbon Charts.

We were featured at THINK 2019, IBM’s flagship conference, where the company unveils and presents the technologies it feels will help transform customer’s IT environments. Our session described our years of working with top clients to deploy scalable supply chain solutions like BITL and Food Trust, including demonstrations of both.

We also patented the underlying supply-chain service technology for automated conflict resolution. To get a bit technical, one example operation may include one or more of setting, by a first node, a cut-off time for a resolution of an update to a service contract received from at least one node of a plurality of second nodes over a blockchain, acquiring, by the first node, resolution parameters from a blockchain ledger, and executing a smart contract to resolve the service contract based on the update to the service contract and the resolution parameters.

Unfortunately the product never launched due to IBM/Maersk calling off all of TradeLens :(. Contact me to discuss this further.