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So, the long and the short of it is, you too can become a designer. I suggest you try it using these three steps:
#1 – Pick one among the challenges you face daily. It can be as simple as refining the best way to commute to work, or as complex as designing your own methods to put your baby to sleep with minimum crying and maximum speed. Just pick one.
#2 – Develop an awareness for the process you follow to tackle that challenge. In particular, notice some of the changes you’ve made recently to improve your outcomes. Be mindful about what works and what doesn’t, and how you iterate your solutions to make continuous improvements.
#3 – Now comes the hardest part. Say this to yourself: I am a designer.
We have entered a new age of embedded, intuitive computing in which our homes, cars, stores, farms, and factories have the ability to think, sense, understand, and respond to our needs. It’s not science fiction, but the dawn of a new era.
This confusion happens all the time. Quality is not an absolute measure. It doesn’t mean ‘deluxeness’ or ‘perfection’. It means keeping the promise the customer wants you to make.
From Misunderstanding quality
Many people think of business travel as a chore. I see it as an opportunity. Not to generate new work, necessarily (though that’s nice, too), but to exercise my curiosity, think about problems in new ways, and get inspired.
We will talk about a new development technique called WDD or Worries Driven Development.
You might know another couple of *DD techniques: TDD and DDD but they are by far less powerful than WDD.
TDD or Test Driven Development has been invented by Ken Beck (@kentbeck). As Wikipedia states “is a software development process that relies on the repetition of a very short development cycle: first the developer writes an (initially failing) automated test case that defines a desired improvement or new function, then produces the minimum amount of code to pass that test and finally refactors the new code to acceptable standards”.
DDD or Domain Drive Design is a little more recent, especially it’s hype, and as Wikipedia says “is an approach to develop software for complex needs by connecting the implementation to an evolving model.The premise of domain-driven design is the following: Placing the project’s primary focus on the core domain and domain logic; Basing complex designs on a model of the domain; Initiating a creative collaboration between technical and domain experts to iteratively refine a conceptual model that addresses particular domain problems.” In Italy Alberto Barndolini (@ziobrando) is really good at it!
WDD is more powerful because it works at a deeper level. It acts at the level of motivations. We tend to do what we do for one of two reasons: to seek pleasure or to avoid pain.
Now our culture tend to push us to the ‘avoid pain’ side so we tend to use it more often as a motivation to do what we do. So what’s more relieving than solving a problem to ‘avoid pain’?
That’s where WDD come from: we do what worries us. Or better we do, schedule, put in priority what can have consequences that can worry us.
So the algorithm is: if you don’t have it, create a problem, throw it in the future, communicate it so that everybody can be worried. Now you are ready to make a lot of overtime to solve it to ‘avoid pain’.
The secret? WDD is not that new: it is quite often used as a primary development paradigm in many offices of medium-big corporations. And it works …. maybe.
I’ve heard, in different moments in time, different definitions of how an IT Manager, a CIO, should look like. Which are the most important skills, the background she has to have.
At the beginning, it was all about technology:
IT was too far from human beings
and IT was available only in big corporations. The IT Manager was the guy with the white coat: an expert of her matter. An IT guy.
Than IT became more commodity and it was the time of business:
IT was too far from the business
and IT decided it was time to talk the language of the business. So the IT dept moved under the CFO or the COO, and the IT Manager became a ‘business man’. Technical skills were no more important for her: there was the outsourcing and the SLAs to cope with the ‘technical stuff’.
Then the internet came, and Google, and Facebook, and Twitter … and all of the sudden
IT, inside corporations, is too far from real life
and people inside the company use to have such a bad IT experience that he would never accept at home … even for free.
To manage all of this we need a new race of IT Managers: they must have deep understanding of both parties. They must know a lot about IT and a lot about making business. But today it’s no more enough. Nowadays IT tech skills and management skills can be an obstacle, sooner or later, if they are not enriched with good design skills.
In the innovation and design era, to move IT at the right speed (maybe 10xFaster) and at the right level of innovation, IT + management + design have to be carefully used, melted, weighed out.
p.s. Thanks to my friend Nico Bigi for the inspiration of this post
The natural tendency of most organizations is to restrict choices in favor of the obvious and the incremental. Although this tendency may be more efficient in the short run, it tends to make an organization conservative and inflexible in the long run. Divergent thinking is the route, not the obstacle, to innovation. – from “Deign Thinking for Social Innovation” by T.Brown, J.Wyatt
One thing that I took with me from the speech is that:
“user’s need are verbs and not nouns”
Let me explain that: when you have to understand people’s needs, because you have to design something to service them, ask them to describe the need as a verb.
So I don’t need a STAIR (noun), a stair is a already a solution, “I need to go up (verb) to …” .
I give you an extra tip for free : the most the description of the need is ‘open’ (= less constraints, more general), the highes is the number of innovative options you can get back.
p.s. Thank you Matteo for teaching me that
my goal is to share and describe a service model generation canvas that intentionally parallels the visual layout of the BMGEN canvas, but that presents ideas I wrote about in my book, Service Innovation (McGraw-Hill 2010), along with other more recent thinking I have concerning service excellence.
Briefly, I believe that a canvas specific to service models is important because most services have unique elements that deserve special attention, including the important role of frontline service providers, direct interactions between customers and the company, the inseparability of service production and consumption, and the more direct effect of corporate systems and capabilities on the customer experience.