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To compete in an innovative market, our profiles as knowledge workers has to change if compared with 10 yrs ago. We talk about T-shaped persons using the T as a metaphor of our competences:
The vertical bar on the T represents the depth of related skills and expertise in a single field, whereas the horizontal bar is the ability to collaborate across disciplines with experts in other areas and to apply knowledge in areas of expertise other than one’s own. . Wikipedia
I think this vision is not enough. Nowadays the horizontal bar need to be extended: there are so many competences that are adjacent to your business, interests that no one has time and memory enough to acquire all those skills.
Where does this extension comes from? Easy: your network! The Extended T-shaped person actively extends his competences with the competences of his network. I say actively because being part of a network is something that need the most precious resources we have today: time and attention.
According to a Harris Interactive poll conducted in September, 49% of Americans believe “wearable tech is a fad.” That sentiment seems to be a result of the less-than-stellar reception given to recently released devices such as the Pebble and the Galaxy Gear.
In the wearable devices market we need the same step Apple did with the first iPhone: touch moved from something almost unusable and for-geek-only to something natural that anyone could handle. Will Apple again do the magic?
“Non comprate un nuovo video game: fatene uno. Non scaricate l’ultima app: disegnatela. Non usate semplicemente il vostro telefono: programmatelo” – B.Obama
E voi? Cosa state FACENDO?
Le cose non fanno schifo per caso: fanno schifo per un motivo preciso, che non sei tu quello che fa muovere il modello di business, anche se a volte sembra così. Simone Brunozzi anni fa ha scritto uno splendido post sul perché gli aeroporti fanno schifo. “cercate da dove arrivano i soldi” scriveva. Ecco. Indizio: non vengono dal vostro biglietto aereo.
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