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Book Review: The Heretics Guide to Management

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.

Learning through making

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.

It’s an error that makes good design look far easier and more replicable than it really is.

“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.”