…Smart Experience students tend to be younger, technically-savvy, and willing to experiment, so we don’t have to adhere to tradition when we think another way is better. If we want to run a “class” about field research that meets in private homes watching how people use their home computers, we can do that. We don’t have a binder full of stifling policies to keep us from innovating.
I posted the slides from my Getting Good Designs Built talk at the New York IxDA meeting earlier this week. Of course you won’t get the full experience from a deck, but there’s some useful references in there.
I’ve spent the Winter and a better part of the Spring planning and scheming, and I’m ready to get back into the fray in a public way. Here’s where you can catch me in the next few weeks:
- Getting Good Designs Built is a new session I’ve created, hosted by the New York chapter of the Interaction Design Association. Tuesday, June 26.
- Using Internet Business Strategy is the second iteration of my workshop and the very first class at Smart Experience. Tuesdays, July 10 & 17.
- What happens next? Career progression for UX professionals is a panel on which I’ll participate, hosted by the NYC Computer-Human Interaction group. July 11.
- Information Architecture Summit Redux is a sampling of presentations from NYC presenters. Lou Rosenfeld will reprise our case studies on starting our own businesses. July 19, 6:30-9:30 at Razorfish’s offices, NYC. More info to come.
I ventured up to “cottage country” north of Toronto this past weekend for Overlap 07, now in its second year of exploring the overlap of design and business in a small event format out in a beautiful, woodsy setting. Again, it was inspiring and useful, perhaps more so as the mix of design, business, media, and scientific perspectives was more even. Thanks go to the folks from Torch for making it a success.
There’s a lot to say about it. But one of the big topics of conversation was our growing discomfort with field’s myopia with innovation: discomfort with the word as well as the focus on the high-risk/high-return sort of innovation. We talked and heard research about organic growth and risk profiles that allowed companies to thrive in the long term with less risk and pretty good returns. The highlight IMHO was Jeanne Liedtke‘s overview of their research in this area and the profile of individuals who tend to succeed, which I summarized:
- Personality of ambidextrous entrepreneurs is shaped by their work experience, usually changing roles often to build their repertoire.
- They exert great influence in their environment.
- Some are assholes, but some simply practice pragmatic leadership — setting goals, expecting performance, being tough but still loved as leaders (not just touch-feely counselors).
- They have a true interest in customers instead of the usual market research.
- They have a senior boss run cover for them as they ignore organizational constraints to pursue revenue.
Along the way she mentioned the work of Carol Dweck who I need to read up on.
There’s some Overlap07 photos on Flickr.
My friend Austin wrote me, “I’m putting together a list of recommended books for designers interested in strategy, the business side, and jumping into entrepreneurship. Can you recommend 3-5 books you think are indispensable?”
I don’t think there’s a single book that fits that description well, and I’ve wondered if a ‘business for designers’ book would be popular or not. But pressed for an answer, here’s the 3-5 I pointed to:
What the CEO Wants You to Know — what I use as a textbook in my ‘Business & Design’ class at Pratt. A simple primer.
Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days — reading it now, very interesting as history and very reassuring for me during the initial, difficult stage of building a business to know everyone goes through the same pain.
Strategy Safari is probably the best primer on strategy. Innovator’s Dilemma is important these days, as is Blue Ocean Strategy. Though they’re all so long I don’t have time to actually read any of them; they’re reference.
Want more? John Hagel (whose writing is excellent) has a great list of tech-influenced strategy references.
If you don’t have severe symptoms, use the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and speed healing…
- Ice. Put an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the injured area for 20 minutes, four to eight times a day.
- Compression. Put even pressure on the injured area using an elastic wrap, special boot, air cast, or splint.
- Elevation. Put the injured area on a pillow, at a level above your heart.
My friends are doing brilliant things these days and I feel compelled to send out some props. I’ll start with Jim Kalbach, whose book Designing Web Navigation: Optimizing the User Experience will be out in August, but who apparently can’t stop writing and has started a blog.
We haven’t had a book on this topic in years, and Jim’s will be the first book dedicated to this topic to talk about how to design navigation, not merely describing how existing designs work. I’ve swam deep in those waters, and almost wrote a book as well, so I like to think I know the territory. So it won’t surprise when I say I think this is a significant topic, one that influences a large swath of society’s use of information these days. And I’m happy to say that Jim, with his dual academic background and years of hands-on experience, is perhaps the best qualified to write the book. I’ve only seen a couple chapters so far, but I’m anxiously awaiting the rest.