IBM Joins User Experience Race

I remember reading this back in May, but I guess I never blogged it back then. Better late than never: IBM Joins User Experience Race. Quotes from Mike Rhodin, Lotus, and their commitment to user experience. Too bad there were not quotes from the many other parts of IBM that are also racing for the UX checkered flag.

Real politics

I usually do not pay attention to real politics, instead only dealing with corporate politics in my day-to-day job. Two things are slightly changing that.

First, a friend is running for Congress so I am reading Ohio political blogs now and observing how the Ohio 5th district candidates are using the Internet.

Second, Hillary Clinton's Innovation Agenda came up at work. Notice this section on "services science" and some of the wording used (italics added by me for emphasis):

Create the Services Science Initiative. The services sector now accounts for approximately 80% of the U.S. economy. Nevertheless, innovation is rarely associated with the generation and delivery of services. Companies are increasingly carrying out service R&D, but there is no discipline that promotes innovation and productivity in the services sector in the same way that electrical engineering, for example, has led to technological advances in the development of the computer chip. Accordingly, Hillary will create a Services Science Initiative. Modeled on the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the federal government will help support R&D in services; support and encourage cross-disciplinary research that draws on fields such as computer science, management, operations, and organizational behavior; and also facilitate the dissemination of knowledge. The Services Science Initiative will help improve the competitiveness of American business, and in the process, create jobs.

Now compare this to some of the phrases IBM uses to describe Service Science, Management, and Engineering and its academic initiative, like "multi-disciplinary research and academic effort that integrates aspects of established fields such as computer science, operations research, engineering, management sciences, ...". And IBM has helped form the Service Research & Innovation Initiative with similar goals to Hillary's.

I have no idea what is going on here, just noticing common themes. It is not every day that a candidate talks about something I am dealing with at work.

The last time I think I paid this much to government policy was during the first Conference on Universal Usability in 2000 when I heard about the economic policy for digital opportunity.

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The Information Architect as Change Agent

Matthew Clarke has a new article on Boxes and Arrows about The Information Architect as Change Agent. I have not read it carefully yet (too early in the morning), but I added a comment about how I have come to many of the same conclusions through my "innovation and change" investigation.

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I joined the International Institute of Business Analysis over the summer. I forget how I heard about them, but I had not joined a "fringe" professional association in quite a long time. I was an STC member long ago, then an AIGA member. Time to join a new group for a year or two and see what I can learn from them.

Shortly after I joined, I got an email from the Cincinnati chapter that confirmed I was onto something:

You are invited to attend the Cincinnati IIBA meeting (Tuesday - June 19,2007).

Topic: Overview of tools and techniques from the user experience community that can be applied by Business Analysts to improve the quality of their requirements.

Speaker: Challis Hodge, VP of User Experience at Bridge Worldwide here in Cincinnati. Challis is incredibly knowledgeable and an engaging speaker.

I should have known that Challis would have been a few steps ahead of me (he always is). I could not make it down to Cincy on such short notice, but here it is 4 months later and I finally tracked down his presentation.

Challis explains "experience planning" and how UX people are good at it. His next-to-last slide shows the overlap between Business Analysis and User Experience.

There is a lot more to explore: his presentation seems like only the starting point. After joining IIBA, I later learned about Catalyze which is targeted at the BA and UX crowds. I do not see this presentation listed there: I guess I will have figure out how to make my first contribution to Catalyze.

Frontiers in Service

A bunch of IBMers are at the Frontiers in Service conference in San Francisco this weekend. (Not too surprising, since IBM Research/SSME is a sponsor.) The eBrochure has an overview; the full program is a PDF. The topics being presented (and co-presented) by IBMers:

  • Measuring Information Relevance in Services
  • Meeting the Challenges of Service Science Management and Education in the New York City Area: An Inter-disciplinary Initiative
  • Information-Driven Service Systems
  • Comparative Analysis of the Russian IT Services Market. Scenarios, Tendencies and Recommendations
  • Bringing Services Theory and Methods to Online Service Applications
  • Lessons from a Service Innovation in the Consulting Industry
  • Component Business Modeling for Effective Enterprise Risk Management,
  • Virtual Service Delivery Centers
  • Service Excellence in Government: A Constituent-Centered Model
  • Servicing for the Future
  • ProACT: A solution for Automatic Customer Satisfaction Analysis and Business Intelligence in Contact Centers
  • Model-based Business Transformation for Engineering Services
  • Challenges and Models of Workforce Scheduling for Delivery Center Based IT Support Services
  • Increasing Efficiency of Call Handling Service using Cross-Border Knowledge Search
  • Estimating Value in Value Networks: A Case Study from Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Using Organizational Simulation to Support Service Business Transformation
  • Understanding Service Innovation Ecosystems
  • Designing and Building Technology Enabled Service Systems: Challenges and a Solution Framework -- Two Case Studies
  • Modeling Productivity and Performance Growth in Labor-based, Custom Services Firms
  • Towards Services Innovation in Japan
  • Leveraging your IT Investment using Business Intelligence (Panel)
  • Service Innovation and Company Profit (Panel)

Jim Spohrer invited people to attend, but I do not see anyone live-blogging from the event. I will keep my eyes open for summaries that get posted. If you spot any news from the conference, please leave a comment and a link to what you found.

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October regional user experience events

Many of the user experience groups in the area kicked off the "season" with meetings in September. Here is what is in store within a 3+ hour radius of Toledo for October.

Let me know what else I am missing from this list. Also, MOCHI is gearing up again and a UPA chapter is forming in Columbus.

On November 8th, there will be quite a few regional events for World Usability Day.

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New book arrived: Do it wrong quickly

A book arrived on my doorstep today, unexpectedly. I had not ordered anything lately.

It was Do it wrong quickly: How the web changes the old marketing rules by Mike Moran, a former manager of mine at IBM. I helped review early versions of the book and had specific feedback on the information architecture parts.

In the spirit of the book, I am blogging it wrong quickly and will do a better job later (after I have read the final version).

First grade interview

Blaine is starting a social studies unit on "People at work" in his first grade class. He had to interview a parent and bring in a picture of that person at work. We talked about what I do, and here is my job, thru the eyes of a six year old.

1. What is your job? Works at IBM. Fixes IBM's web site.

2. What are your duties at work? Draw pictures to help IBM organize information. Talk on the phone.

3. Why do you have a job? To make money so we can buy food.

4. What are some things you like about your job? Solving problems. It is fun.

Photo taken by Blaine, in my office.

Day 2, Raw notes, Emergence conference

Sunday's raw notes from Emergence 07 (better late than never). Others have more interesting and more enlightening reports from the conference.

Chris Downs, Creating Profitable, Sustainable, and Responsible Services

  • live|work
  • Lucy Kimbell, Designing for services blog. "Academic research into service design in science and technology-based enterprises"
  • Designing interactions by Moggridge
  • Measuring triple bottom line impact: Economic, Environmental, Social
  • Public sector client - using the service design language, good sign
  • "We are a service business that just happens to make a product"
  • Stop now - that was his planned talk, rest is his new stuff, based on conversations at this conference.
  • Has this been an effective year in service design?
  • What is services (innovation and) design?
  • What is the reach? "If you can servicize a horseshoe nail, then you can servicize anything"
  • How is it different to transformation or experience design? Discipline or umbrella term that pulls others together? Is it social design? Green design?
  • Teach the front-line staff how to think about customer experience (instead of doing it for them).
  • What other disciplines are involved? Collaborative, multi-disciplinary. Core skills: Visual literacy/info design, empathy, complex organizational networks (new skill that is needed), facilitation skills (influence, not control people).
  • How different from management consulting? Optimism. Things can be improved. Open and collaborative. Outside-in.
  • Compare with service science? Some experience talking with IBM: technology driven, not about the customer experience.
  • Just "designing for services"? Not just good design? Design for good?
  • How do we measure it? Is it important to measure it yet?
  • How to make sure it reaches potential, not a fad? Be a service designer by "performing services". Be a member of the front-line staff, cannot be a good service designer without that experience. Students - give them real-world experience on the front line.
  • (who will pick it up next?), Jeff Howard reading list.
  • Service vs experience design? He does not know the difference. They thought they were experience designers a while ago, but it seemed more about 1-off experiences, branding, events. Not aligned with day-to-day operations of service.
  • Management consulting comparison. They are gonna get it quickly. Today, they do not listen, trust, learn. Unwillingness to even learn design language, we are pretty good about learning their languages. How to work with them: Start small, build trust, show value, keep nose out of trouble, be brilliant.
  • Risk: if service design is owned by design, it is in jeopardy. Give it to marketing and management consulting, in hope it will really live.
  • How do you help with organization behavior? They do it a lot, but not explicit. Biggest successes are the changes in culture. Give them authority, tools and confidence to make the changes themselves.
  • Fantasy curriculum? Not classroom based. Place students in service organizations. Evening is class time.
  • Organizational design affinity? Optimize the org chart around the customer experience. Others can apply these methods in their own discipline.
  • What fields make up your group? Product design, branding, social anthropology, operations management, ....
  • Umbrella or own discipline? No idea. This conference has opened up that question for him.
  • What happens when you label it? Building a business vs. building a discipline. Waves of design thinking with flashy names. They decay in many ways. It will be co-opted and reduced. Design should not be looking to design for the answers. Business models and the way we promote ourselves are challenges. Look at how markerting got from nothing to today. Or finance - how come all companies speak the language of finance? Study other disciplines.
  • What is the art in service design? Art is about the craft in design. Beauty of relinquishing control, giving them the gift to do their own service design.

John Bailey: Early Reflections on Practice Diagrams to Facilitate Service Design

  • Almaden research, part of a new area called "services research" - interdisciplinary. getting design established within services research. "This is where we hide the social scientists within IBM".
  • Over half of IBM's revenue comes from services
  • B2B may be thought of back-stage services, but in this context becomes more front-stage. A legal contract and negotation for this service (vs. promises in consumer world).
  • What is strategic outsourcing? One company runs the IT or business functions for another company (because they specialize in it, can innovate it) . Often geo-distributed. Highly customized.
  • Practice diagrams - to help with the sales part of the process.
  • Existing: documenting what the work should be, break the work into little boxes, but we want to know what people are really doing. The real world does not fit into those little boxes: where is the person in this?
  • Tell us what you do and ground that in a recent project
  • Wanted a diagram that is familair to their process people (e.g., database icon).
  • Go from work organization to work practice
  • 80% of the proposal work is shared content from many groups, lots of dependencies
  • "Helps us move forward, makes it feel more like a partnership, shared success". Helps them be customer-savvy, sports team mentality.
  • Quick and effective, UML was too much
  • How much driven by legal issues? Very prominent. The bulk of the work.

Jennifer Leonard: At your service: The blind men, the elephant, and the design of the world

  • About the value of wholistic thinking.
  • The poem about the blind men and the elephant
  • Massive change book: multi-disciplinary, "economies" morphed into "ecologies"
  • Examples: India innovates: foot pedal washing machine (Energy ecology), citizen reporters (information ecology).
  • How does it relate to service design? Embrace wholstic thinking, collaboration, multi-disciplinary.
  • Service means: support, penalty, risk, reward
  • Quality of services depends on responsibility, accountability, vulnerability, ability to give to ourselves
  • Trust - totally dependent on people along the way
  • Give good service, get good service - dialog between people
  • Bill Clinton, Giving: citizen activism and service are powerful agents of change
  • About Jennifer
  • Is service design a sub-discipline of design (like Indsutrial design)? It is much more than that. Meta-discipline: universal joint between all things produced. Obstacle - other disciplines (like architects) have built in client participation to the process. Will other disciplines participate? Medicine, law, etc. IS it our ambition for design to be the joint between things?
  • Not limited to those who call themselves "designers". For example, she interviewed chemists and economists for her book. Too broad? It is a discipline and it is a way of life.
  • Implications of these stories for organizations? First, do human design, find patterns, apply them for behavioral change, thus make the world a better place. Tell more stories. BizWeek is always talking about innovation and design. Business is more about collaboration than competition.
  • How to design-in the human element (e.g., facial expressions) into the service? Design is people. All of the details. Technology does its thing but human interaction, the person's attitude/smile/etc. is crucial to the experience? Antanas Mockus.

Oliver King (and panelists): How service design could have saved the world

  • Pass the parcel / hot potato with the microphone.
  • State of the future 2007.
  • Designers as facilitators? What makes us qualified to do this? There are professional facilitators out there.
  • Influencing change, giving up responsibility, initiating ideas.
  • Making things easier, is that our job? Make flexibe tools and services, and observe use.
  • Help people help themselves. Long-term responsibility (service contracts, not engagements). Entrepreneurialism.
  • Service design - be the glue layer, add value, like systems engineering. Integration skills.
  • You can change your local world, but the world as a whole is a political thing (and thus it cannot be changed?).
  • The problem changes as you work on it. You need to be embedded in the system.
  • Designers integrated into a multi-disciplinary team vs. centralized group of designers. You need to live in both worlds: within the system and within your profession. There are design consultancies when we need centralized expertise. How do individuals stay connected to their profession: maintain the network.
  • Find pockets of cohesive people and enable them.
  • Are we just patting ourselves on the back - apply service design to make society worse (Halliburton).
  • Cradle to cradle: efficient vs. effective.
  • Working with large (evil) corporations: make small improvements, plant seeds ("This will be the last car you ever buy").
  • What is "good"?
  • What makes some networks / multi-disciplinary labs work? At start-up: strong, passionate leaders. Then it runs on its own.
  • Teach the kids.
  • Notation, interpreters, translators, common language.
  • Stuart brand - The Long Now.

Richard Buchanan, Personal summary

  • Four boundaries of service design: 1. Graphic design (old discipline) 2. Product (industrial) design (focus on use is different) 3. System design (technical and organizational systems) 4. Management ("bad management" lacks wholeness, visualization, embodiment/losing touch with production).
  • Scope of service design - clear definitions not needed, focus on the end result of service design.
  • Not "make experiences". Got tired of AIGA Experience Design, too soft.
  • Core of services design (like healthcare and education) are core of human society.
  • George Nelson: design as humble occupation, serve people.
  • Information is lifeblood of good sservice - so Internet plays a special role.
  • Missing from the conference: 3-4 basic strategies that sit above the methods and techniques.
  • "How do we work together" was common discussion.
  • Activating people has power.
  • His definition of service design: Equitable distribution of resources and tools to use them (just like architects)
  • Service design as an umbrella.

Discussion about the conference

  • "I am utterly confused now, thanks!" - what more do you want from a conference?
  • Missing was the "make something together" piece, creative element (e.g., draw something together).
  • Who was here? How do I stay connected with the others who were here? Attendee list being sent out to attendees.
  • Industry/practitioners: no time to write a paper.
  • How to be a force for change.
  • Case studies.
  • Yahoo! group on service design.
  • Collection of sites about service design.
  • Bye!

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