Risk Getting Fired

This ingredient and many more can be found in my book, 101 Design Ingredients To Solve Big Tech Problems:

You see most clearly when you’ve got nothing to lose.

Teams who fear making mistakes will never try anything different to change the world.

Stand up for something you believe in, and back it up by taking risks that show your conviction. Become an innovation subversive.

  • Prove it works first
    Set up a crack team to create a proof of concept that demonstrates your way is a better way. This puts you in a far more powerful position than before, when your ideas were just opinions. If you decide to quit, at least you will have left on a high note.
  • Change the scenery
    See if you can move into a more interesting role, even if it doesn’t exist yet. Come up with a business proposition that covers all the benefits, and pitch it to your boss and potential new boss. Get a mentor to advise you. If it will make you happier and the business gains something valuable, it should be a win-win situation.
  • Start your own company
    If you’re ready, quit and let those who can support your new venture know what you plan to do so you can hit the ground running. Understand the consequences of your decision, though, so you don’t go into it blindly. With the right expectations, preparation, expertise, and clients, there’s no reason you can’t be successful.

If you’re interested in buying my book please have a read and let me know what you think :-)

Agile 2012 report: How the UX virus infects everything we do.

Agile 2012 was great for non UX and UXers who both championed the discipline as advocates and leaders (Jonathan Rasmusson, Adriadna Font and me, Eewei Chen)

Dallas Texas, normally brings images and sounds of a bucking rodeo bull, JR Ewing’s ten gallon hat and gun galore to mind. I must admit I set out to get myself that ten gallon hat and eat steak every day at least once. I achieve the latter but the hat still eludes me.

Agile 2012 has just wrapped her self up, that Texan Blonde with a side order of Geek salad has just gotten up and hit the saddle after another successful baton change (it was over the London 2012 Olympics!) over from last years ten year anniversary event in Salt Lake City, Utah. The 2013 the event will be held in Nashville, Tennessee.

UX is bigger than a stage

Adrian Howard (@AdrianH) and I (@Ultraman) co-produced the UX stage this year. All that preparation and curation really paid off as all the sessions went down without a hitch. We had breadth and depth in our UX stage sessions and for the first time, we had an even split of developers, business, usability, product owner and hard core UX designers delivering the talks and workshops.

So what is going on here? Shouldn’t UX folk do the UX lectures and workshop facilitation? The surprising answer is NO need. Mission number one this year was to prove that as a practice and philosophy had infiltrated and converted strong advocates to fight for and promote our cause; thinking of themselves as important UX practitioners even if their label did not signify this. Examples of non UX folk delivering session on the UX stage include:

Get them talking about UX even if they don’t know they are

The UX stage was just one stage out of fifteen. How can we start to reach more folks and evangelise about the power of good UX if all we were allowed was 11 sessions over the course of a whole week? How can we compete against other stages with amazing speakers talking about leadership, culture, collaboration, coaching, trnsformation and all things Agile? These sessions all run in parallel. You ask anyone and they will same thing: “It is so hard deciding what to see as there is so much great stuff going on at the same time. How do you choose?”

Thankfully, as I experienced by sitting in on some awesome non-UX stage sessions, our job is being done for us once again. You can’t really talk about any subject related to Agile without factoring in UX. It is part and parcel of the Agile philosophy. Individuals (needs, capabilities) & (Useful user) Interaction, Working (usable) software, customer collaboration, responding to (user validated) change. remember take the user out and you have awesome software that no one wants or no on can use!

Examples of non UX folk delivering session on the non-UX stages include:

We must continue to challenge, educate and improve

Great that we are starting to see people talk about and champion UX as non-UX professionals and as part of Agile leadership, culture, enterprise and business transformation topics, but we can’t rest there. We must start to promote UX further and clearer into the strategic part of any conversation and planning exercise. UX is identifies the real issues, it build empathy with our customers and it helps problem solving so that as a team we can all deliver awesome experiences taking into cosideration business and technology needs at the same time. UX is the missing link that we all need to continue to promote, love, include and constantly use to help validate why we do things, how and what we build.

As UXers, we must continue to educate, fight the good fight and most importantly, share who we are and what we do so that by the next conference we no longer need to have a UX stage because we will have talks and workshops that just are part of business and customer success. UX is a catalyst that should be in everything we do. I challenge everyone to pick up this vision and strive for it!

Understand cultural implications to make design relevant

I recently spoke and ran a workshop at UXUtSAV, the first and largest international UX event in India’s history. I was so honoured at being asked to present and although tiring came away very exhilarated and content. this is my third trip to Bangalore and each time I am always amazed at how intelligent, switched-on and willing to learn and feedback the creative business community are.

On this occasion I realised how different, culturally, India is from Europe and Asia. Apart from certain mannerisms, beliefs and the obvious cultural etiquette, I realised I had to adapt my presentations and workshops to cater to what is most culturally relevant and appropriate. My talk focussed on promoting UX to the higher echelons of the board room and being able to strategically influence the direction of a business using design techniques and approaches. I had to fine tune the presentation to allow for the fact that India has a steep and long history of design innovation which seems to be under going a renaissance right now. They more than most realise that they are moving quickly out of the services industry into on of product design and original creation. Startups are being invested in that are changing the world. The stereotypical image of Indian call centres is slowly being superceeded by one of innovation and brave risk taking.

My workshop focussed on how to disrupt the movie industry to make it more relevant in the near future. As we all know Bollywood is sacred and a huge industry second to only that of Hollywood. So to take on such a massive and influential, yet potentially realistic and culturally significant challenge was not one I could take lightly. Fortunately I had a day to talk to delegates and my peers to get a feedback on how to make certain amends to my workshop to make it more exciting, relevant and useful to those attending so that the key take aways and learnings ‘hit home’.

I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to share my thinking and techniques to make any company perform better and work on the most relevant competitor differentiating ideas. I have to say though they taught me as much about factoring cultural differences into presentation and workshops as I i did imparting my knowlefdeg. A big thank you to India and the UX Utsav organisers for an amazing experience.