Wednesday, May 04, 2005

A Tiny Bit Farther

Livia has been asking how is IA practices can assist with innovation in business. As time goes by, I think we're seeing more reference about how this can work.

Victor notes that Chris Conley from IIT is selling a New Kind of Professional. I like how Victor pictures different disciplines vying for the "prize," but won't make it until they realize that a great way to make progress more quickly is to cooperate and share knowledge. Some of you, I'm sure have been part of project teams that actually worked together.

At this same time, Roger Martin from Toronto's Rotman School of Management tells Fast Company:
"Business people don't just need to understand designers better -- they need to become designers."

Well, the opposite is true as well. Designers need to become more business savvy in their practice. Who better to learn from than the business people? Why not teach each other on-the-fly? And, of course, we could share knowledge with engineers as well.

The Fast Co. article also mentions that designers (and, by extension IA practice) examine a "mystery" and propose a "rough solution" with our imaginations. We can also help make sure that solution is validated and refined. This approach balances out the business tendency to boil down new problems into familiar analogies and apply old solutions in new ways.

In practice, both approaches will balance each other out as we come to appreciate the other's expertise and ways of thinking. We've all over-thought design solutions, esp. within groups of designers. It would be nice if, occasionally, someone said, "why don't we just... like we did over there?"

Then, throw in Dan Pink's A Whole New Mind, which, from what Christina and Dan Brown say, is an amalgamation of analytical and creative thinking on a level that we only toy with at the moment. Certainly there are some of these people out there right now, we all know a few. I'm happy to follow in their footsteps and find how my talents and experience lead me to a set of skills portable no matter the economic environment.

These issues are what have encouraged me to join the "other side" as a product manager. From the business perspective, however, I'm learning that my situation is asking me to use my IA chops more than pure business ones and try to find ways to illuminate UX principles in the business context. Progress seems to come in fits and starts, but it is happening. Stay tuned...

No comments: