Designing a Certification Tool on a Complex Subject Matter


The STEP Foundation was a startup and consortium of Information Communication Technology (ICT) professionals that were passionate about the value that ICT brings to the green space. Their mission was to promote, educate and recognize the considerable value that ICT provides to smart and sustainable buildings.


After a successful video awareness campaign that we developed for STEP, the executive director wanted us to design a rating system tool to allow eligible ICT manufacturers to participate in the STEP process.


The first challenge was that the STEP process, highly technical and complex, was not yet vetted or finalized. The board was still deliberating the direction of STEP, yet the director wanted to move forward with the certification process. On top this uncertainty, there was very little source information to go on. We did not have a technical expert to consult with or have an established model or organizational precedent to refer to. 


Given our experience in the manufacturing industry with standards and standardized work, we were able to create a professional and user-friendly rating system that interfaced with the available technology. We:

  • established standards by which users could rate themselves,
  • crafted a tool with Excel to allow users to prepare their applications and apply,
  • designed the process by which users would rate themselves,
  • designed the process by which the owner would vet the applicants,
  • leveraged available technology such as DropBox and their Website, and
  • created a user’s guide for applicants.


The process was tested and received very well by end-users. The director used the tool and the process to make his case to the board.