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Management by discovery

An IA Institute job posting for "System Designer / Prototyper" at Klein Associates in Dayton reminds me of the "Management by Discovery" workshop that I attended in March. The workshop was part of the Mind your leadership conference at BGSU. (I missed the rest of the conference because I was travelling to the IA Summit.)

The workshop was officially titled "The cognitive dimenions of leadership: A practitioner's toolkit." I had no expectations, was mainly attending because it sounded interesting and it was close to home - worth the risk of a day of my time. What surprised me was that I already knew a lot of this stuff because Gary Klein is well-known for Cognitive task analysis and other HCI work (not sure how I missed Gary up until then). I had "stumbled" into an HCI person presenting to a business audience, so I felt right at home.

Management by Discovery is different than Management by Objectives and other management styles because it focuses on emergent goals (instead of upfront, well-defined goals, which never happens anyway). It means a lot of story-telling, sense-making, iteration and other things we assume with a user-centered design approach. "Taking UCD to the management decision level" might be a good summary.

Jay Rothman added his expertise on conflict engagement to the workshop. This was Gary and Jay's first collaboration on this topic.

All-in-all, a good day for me - sitting with a bunch of organization development people and "peeking over the fence" back at my own profession.