Nexus for Change

I dipped my toe into the field of organization development last year when I attended a workshop on Management by discovery. Despite being a total outsider (I was among people who had advanced degrees in this), people seemed interested in my stories of how large organizations were adapting to the challenges triggered by the web. It only takes a few examples for people to see how designing a user-centered web site can expose gaps in how the business is organized. And how businesses are changing in order to survive. It is sorta a corollary to Conway's Law:

Organizations which build web sites are constrained to produce information architectures which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations

(Thanks to Steve Portigal for helping me find that Conway article from 1968. I started looking for it 6 months ago. Our local library has it stashed away somewhere, but would not send me a copy - who has time to go visit a library?)

I am going to dip a larger body part into "organization development" in two months. I will be attending Nexus for change, March 22-23, at BGSU. "An unprecedented conference bringing together practitioners, researchers, leaders, activists, and educators to advance participative change methods."

I won't be the only user experience person there. Peter Jones of Redesign Research and fellow UXnet local ambassador in Ohio is presenting.

A few hours after this event is over, I will be getting on a plane for the IA Summit in Las Vegas, so I am hoping I will be able to synthesize something from these worlds.

[Technorati tag to track other blog postings about this conference]

Blog topics: 

Five things about me

I finally got tagged for the "5 things you probably do not know about me" chain letter blog doohicky. Thanks Bryce - sorta. Here goes, I will play along, but I do refuse to pass this on.

  1. One of my first brushes with fame as a lad came in a local parade, where I pushed a wheel barrow behind a horse-drawn float. There was only 1 incident where I had to use the shovel, but it was at the end of the parade, in front of the grandstand full of people. I was known as the "pooper scooper" for a while after that. By the way, those are the same grandstands you would sit in if you attended the National Tractor Pulling Championships.
  2. I cannot count the number of times I have seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I know all of the lines by heart. The kids enjoy the movie too - not sure if that is a sign of a good or bad parent. I would happily go see Spamalot once a week.
  3. I got started down my career path in 8th grade when I bought my own Ohio Scientific computer. In my senior year of high school, I was programming an IBM 360 for college credit.
  4. In the late 80's / early 90's, I was very active in the college hockey community. My antics varied, from developing "The College Hockey Computer Rating", to consulting for the NCAA, to editing the BGSU Falcon hockey fanzine "Beulah's Bugle."
  5. I also play ice hockey - goalie. I am not very good but I enjoy it.

If you really want to know more about my "personal side", then check out instones.org - our family blog.

IBM and the local economy

IBM's engagement with RGP to build an "economic identity" database for the region is over and it sounds like it was a success. (See my earlier blog post on the announcement.) This is the only coverage of the final result that I have been able to find:

Leave a comment if you find any other news of this.

I do not know if this is related or not, but IBM has a classified ad in the jobs section of the Toledo Blade this morning.

IT - IBM Corporation. Maumee, OH, surrounding locations and various locations throughout the U.S. We are looking for experienced Technical Professionals, including but not limited to Engineers, Software Engineers, IT Architects/ Specialists, System Analysts/ Administrators, and Business Consultants. Competitive salary and benefits. Preferred experience in Java, C++, Unix/Linux, AIX, SQL, UML, or SAP, etc. Bachelor's or Master's degrees required, or equivalent.....

In IBM HR lingo, I am one of those "IT specialists." Good to see IBM interested in this area. Maybe, since they built the database, they saw a trend that this area was an untapped market for IT professionals? Or maybe this is just part of a normal sweep for applicants.

The ad listed a PO Box for resumes, but of course you can also search online.

  • US jobs for an overview of employment at IBM
  • Search for IBM jobs - "Powered by peopleclick" so it does no good to send me usability problems you encounter (^:

I did a search for all IBM jobs associated with the major cities in the area (not just Toledo but also towns like Lima, Upper Sandusky and Archbold) and got 937 results. I did not see anything specific to the area - all of the locations were "Flexible". Still, if you live in this area, IBM could have a job for you - I have been a happy employee for almost 6 years now....

Guy Kawasaki coming to the area, April 13th

Guy Kawasaki is coming to BGSU in mid-April as part of the 4th Annual Sebo Series in Entrepreneurship.

Tom Kelley of IDEO spoke last year, but I did not learn about it in time.

I think I can make this one - just waiting for more details from the BGSU Entrepreneurship program (and yes, that is local-boy-done-good Scott Hamilton helping to fund all of this).

Update:

IUE panel on the state of the web UX

I will be a part of the panel "The State of Web Site User Experience in 2007", along with Dave Mitropoulos-Rundus and Stephanie Rosenbaum on February 21st. This will wrap up the second day of presentations at Internet User Experience 2007, a conference in Ann Arbor.

This panel explores the user experience that is most prevalent on web sites today and debates the highest impact options for making improvements. The panelists, each of whom is involved in web design, explain how satisfied or dissatisfied they are with the state of web site usability today. Attendees will walk away with a sense of purpose and focus on the highest impact improvements for today and the future.

Dave runs these panels about once a year; I am glad that I could return after participating in 2003. I wonder what I will say! And how will I make sure folks come away with a "sense of purpose...for today and the future."

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