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.
  • servicedesign.org (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.
  • service-design-network.org.

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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Day 1, afternoon, raw notes, Emergence conference

Todd Wilkens: The end of products

  • Eastman: the camera as an entrance to a service (the factory does the rest).
  • "Everything is part of an ecosystem" - not profound anymore.
  • Embrace complexity, build empathy.
  • Products in the lab; services in the field.
  • Stage 1 - it is possible. Stage 2 - features. Stage 3 - Experience.
  • Difference between Rio and iPod: hide the complexity, service of the iTunes store.
  • Giving up control (of every piece of the experience) makes it exponentially harder. Flickr - just sits in the middle and makes it seemless.
  • Not the end of products, but the end of the product mindset.
  • Is this the end of service design (as a niche, special field)? We will be obsolete soon (because everyone will be doing it). "And I hope I never see you again either, Todd."
  • It just becomes "good design", not "a new way to design". AdaptivePath does not sell "service design" but clients understand focusing on experience, not on features. Start with "what are your problems" not on terminology.
  • Designers are good at making ideas tangible - but not only designers have that skill.
  • Are all products in fact entry points into services? Yes, but many are not fulfilling the potential.
  • Also, hang out with marketing/ad people.

Panel: Maybe we can always get what we want?

  • Ubiquitous computing and the future of services.
  • Expectations are high, lead to disappointment.
  • Unintended consequences and the dark side.
  • How can you give people what they want when they do not know what they want?
  • We have no choice, privacy is gone, just participate (e.g., have to use the iPass).
  • It is not rocket science to figure out what people do (e.g., what people do in a hotel room) - good designers have always done it the right way.
  • Declining sense of justice in the world - how can service affect this, distribution of quality of life? "Service" approach helps focus on who is using it, and that leads to good things.
  • Eliminate the broken systems, do not try to integrate as best we can.

Bettina von Kupsch: How to Become a Service Champion

  • Cultural change.
  • How to measure the quality of service?
  • 3 layers: Basics, Behavior/environment, Commitment.
  • "Wow-box" - small idea, quick way to share positive feedback from customers.
  • Employees are the key to superior service. Long-term management commitment.
  • Negative experiences with SwissComm seen as 1-off: good.
  • Touch personally to have it talked about.
  • New products are often aquisition, service is retention.
  • Isn't this just good management? What is novel? Integrated approach, not just working on 1 piece.
  • How did you get service to be so important to the company? We are Swiss.
  • If employee morale goes down, service quality will go down.
  • Looking outside theirindustry for benchmarks of good service.

Off to the Andy Warhol Museum

(Reformatted September 14th for easier scanning)

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Raw notes from Day 1 (morning) at Emergence 2007

Friday night

Jamin Hegeman, Shelley Evenson: About the conference

Martin Wattenberg, Fernanda Viegas: Visual thinking at a global scale

  • Many eyes with lots of examples of death, drinking, oil and political speeches.
  • Community angle lets visualizations evolve along with the discussions.
  • Text analysis: tag clouds, word trees.
  • Article about Blog discussions of the visualizations.
  • Integration into other sites: Visualizing Earmarks.
  • And many more stories where these visualizations are making a difference. Scientific discovery, personal expression, journalism and advocacy, social interaction/fun.
  • Target pain points (traditional) vs. Erogenous zones.
  • This is an example of "visualization as a service", instead of as an application.

Harold Hambrose: Service as a discipline, Designers at the helm

  • From last year: Service triangle (where technology is in the middle). His model: Technology (off to the side) to enable the human providers of the service.
  • Examples: 911 call center, diner menu system. These "back stage" systems often not designed by designers.
  • Designers are: observers, communicators (visually), modelers, problem solvers.
  • Health service examples from Electronic Ink.
  • Start with observing and drawing the relationships, processes, etc. Visual artifact example: data visualization of transfers to other hospital units, leads to recommendations on physical organziation. Then can come some technology recomendations, like wireless devices.
  • Net: this group of people had no means of drawing pictures (models) to understand what is going on at a high level.
  • Documenting "breakdowns" (not all are bad things).
  • Biggest problem: Selling design here. Quickly provide value (within a week).
  • Needed for insurance, healthcare, etc. - but Design Education needs this the most. "Why would we ever send a designer into a hospital? We do posters."
  • Designers are unique because as they analyze, they start thinking of the solutions (vs. just documenting the problems).
  • Collaborate with human factors, and many others, so it is really the multi-disciplinary team that is the key.

Claudio Pinhanez: Services as Customer-Intensive Systems

  • What is the difference between manufacturing-thinking and service-thinking?
  • Negative definition of "services" - what it is not. Can go too far - everything is a service. Both useless.
  • Definitions of "customer" - the person who pays vs. the person who recieves the value.
  • Customer-intensive is when the "production" cannot really start until the customer arrives (car repair, hospital). YOU are on the conveyor belt.
  • Customer-centered view: provider and receiver, part of the process, it waits for me, it uses me.
  • Official list of services (NAICS) - which are not customer-intensive industries? Movie-making, publishing (including shrink-wrapped software).
  • Continuum of manufacturing to service models.
  • Minimize the perceived time (e.g., fix the PC overnight).
  • Measure of quality of a service includes the process.
  • Emotionally-loaded.
  • Product designers vs. services designers.
  • Good: human-centricity. Bad: New methods needed because of customer intensity. Ugly: Theater director type skills needed, not artistic talent (people, timing, emotions).
  • What happens when the customer is a business? Navy does not know how to procure a service.
  • Back-end systems are impregnated with customer stuff.
  • Question: Utility company, put customer consuming electrons at the center of the model.
  • Question: B2b services, pace-layering.
  • Question: Is service design fundamentally different from product design? Design of the iPod (vs. designing iTunes store).

Time for lunch

(Reformatted September 14th for easier scanning)

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Emergence 2007 conference, Pittsburgh, September 8-9

I just registered for Emergence 2007 - "Exploring the boundaries of service design." I have been reading up on various service innovation topics and I see a lot of connections with user experience. The Emergence conference looked perfect because it was within driving distance and focuses on the design aspect.

Parts of the program I find most promising are the 3 different talks from IBMers and Todd Wilkens ("the end of product design") but I am sure I will learn a lot from the whole event.

I also find it interesting that this is a weekend conference. Is it a rule that "new fields" start out with weekend conferences and then as they become more established, they hold their events during the week? All based on whether the boss will let you take time off work.

If you are also attending, leave a comment so we can meet up.

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Abundance, errors and measurement

Chris Anderson of Long tail fame compares the "economic" models of abundance with scarcity. (I found it reading Abundance and UX at UX Magazine.) He explains that user experience improvements like the GUI are the result of thinking as computing power as an abundant resource, vs. poorer experiences because you have limited CPU cycles. A summary:

ScarcityAbundance
ROI memo, get green-lighted for a large projectWe will figure it out because it costs so little to try it out, do small projects
Forbidden unless permittedPermitted unless forbidden
We (central authority) know what is bestYou (users, audience, market) know what is best
Top-downBottoms-up
Command and control corporate managementOut of control: let it happen, measure it, dynamically respond, amplify good, suppress bad

This reminded me of a new book that is coming out for marketers: Do it wrong quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules. Disclaimer: the author, Mike Moran, is my former manager at IBM and I gave him feedback while he was writing the book.

Like Chris' message, you will hear about trying something small, measuring, and then altering your course of action. Mike uses the catchy "do it wrong" message: when there is an abundance, you can afford to make mistakes, and you are better off quickly making smaller errors.

If you have found the experimentation and risk-taking mentality a problem where you have worked, then tell Mike your "most egregious tales of delay, indecision, paralysis by analysis, and refusal to try things out" and win a prize. Better yet: the person who you write about will be sent a copy of the book.

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Collaborative sensemaking workshop

I will be attending the Collaborative Sensemaking workshop at the HCIL symposium on Friday. I have not been in the "research groove" for about a decade (since I was still at BGSU), but collaborative sensemaking is one research topic that seems to apply to what we are doing on ibm.com and what information architects do every day. So I thought it was worth coming to the workshop to give my practitioner's perspective - and learn more.

I'll report later with more information (after I get back from vacation...).

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