That my team — a design team — does research, has at times confused colleagues unfamiliar with design methods. Some expect that customer research is produced solely from the market research team and that any design findings only come out of the usability lab. So, to set the scene on our latest field study I presented an introduction about how ethnography has played a part in the product design and innovation of many brands we are familiar with.
The thing I have noticed is that when the anecdotes and the data disagree, the anecdotes are usually right
Bezos said it was important for him to stay directly connected with customers because it was easy to fall into the trap of relying too heavily on data and metrics. “I’m actually a big fan of anecdotes in business,” he said.
Skip the hype cycle, recognise your biases and default position as well as other’s biases and default positions to look at problems in context of their changing conditions. This is the overriding message of The Heretics Guide to Management by Paul Culmsee and Kailash Awati. This book was recommended to me by a sage and savvy colleague and friend. It opened my eyes to just how attached I was to certain tools, processes, and practices — namely Design Thinking. This book challenged me to think about just how unproductive we can be when we don’t acknowledge our professional culture wars. If you hold on to traditional strategy methodologies, if you think the latest innovation model is the best way, if you think design thinking is the only way, read this book.
Problem framing before problem finding — Why Cynefin is useful when deciding when to follow Design Thinking and when not to
Design Thinking, like any methodology, can be quite prescriptive when followed from start to finish. Broadly speaking there is
There are several sites I go to again and again for their original content and comprehensive resource lists of methods and tools. And who doesn’t love a list?
“… The ability to listen to new ideas, the ability to listen to new voices, gives you the ability to adapt … it’s the number one quality besides competence.” — Nilofer Merchant on the Boss Level podcast.
Earlier in the year I had the good fortune of presenting to a class from the University of Technology, Sydney’s Interaction Design course. As someone who occasionally hires designers, experience in user testing and a sincere integration of users in the design process is what makes candidates stand out. Why? Because this is what reduces errors, minimizes IT and build change requests and helps ensure users can understand and use our products. It’s a mistake to think something has to be detailed and almost production ready to be tested. Test ideas, test sketches, test digital, test services. Test early, iteratively and often.
“UX proponents tell tall tales about how good design really takes place. Bottom-up, evidentiary design implies that the designer is ultimately unnecessary, a mere facilitator who draws out a solution from the collective… And top-down, genius design becomes indistinguishable from salesmanship. As a result, design dissolves into other, more established disciplines like business intelligence, product marketing, and corporate evangelism. It’s an error that makes good design look far easier and more replicable than it really is. And worse, it allows people to conclude that their own expertise from data analytics to advertising to illustration is a sufficient stand-in for design.”
“The faster a business grows the faster it dies also … We decided to put ourselves on a growth program … so all decisions from then on were made as if we were going to be here a hundred years from now. Slowing down the growth, saying no to a lot of opportunities and just being more responsible.” — How I Built This – Patagonia: Yvon Chouinard