Making an impact is more than just a job for Delaney Kolberg. Her passion for helping others succeed takes her from the workplace to the classroom, and back again.
Kolberg, a UX Design Lead at John Deere, has spent the majority of her 8-year career at Deere making an impact by designing solutions for customers and dealers so they can spend the majority of their time solving problems they need to solve, improving their lives and their business.
"I love making things better for a person using our applications, which is a huge part of my job,” she said. “As a user experience professional, I am always trying to better understand users and help design solutions that meet their needs. Being able to come up with a solution, implement it, and see how it changes their work is one of my greatest joys."
She is just as passionate about the products she creates and the company she works for. Kolberg and her team make it their goal to drive intuitive, authentically John Deere digital experiences for everyone through guidelines, common design patterns, and reusable code. “Our mission is to be united on the essential brand and foundational elements while allowing for flexibility in implementation,” she said. “John Deere's physical products are best in class and innovative. Ideally, our web products are the same way --- rivaling the quality of our machines.”
Making an impact
Over the past four years, Kolberg has continued to develop that passion on a different platform; the classroom. As a mentor and teacher in Deere’s Computer Science Academy, she works with high school seniors to help them develop the skills they would need to solve a real-life problem, one that a Deere customer might encounter.
In conjunction with the Bettendorf and Pleasant Valley, Iowa school districts, Deere developed the Academy to give students the opportunity to get a head start on developing hands-on technical skills in a real business environment. Not only is Kolberg a mentor and teacher, over the years, she has taken on the added responsibilities of overall program coordination, developing content, instructional design, and recruiting her colleagues to become mentors as well.
“It is interesting to me to be able to teach (UX and Agile) skills that I use on a daily basis, to students who don’t have the same background or skills,” said Kolberg. “I love to make sure the content is relevant to them and to what they want to achieve.”
The Academy is designed as a capstone course for seniors and is offered their last semester of high school. According to Kolberg, students work with Deere employees four days a week to develop Android apps that have the potential to provide a real-life solution. The students conduct interviews with users, create storyboards, and receive feedback from their customers and mentors. They then create a prototype and run user testing, setting them up to develop a working application based on user feedback. The class ends with a final demonstration of their work. It gives students experience in a real-time situation and exposure to an IT working environment.