OFF + ON

Peter Jones Innovation, Wu Wei

UK’s Trendwatching gives us OFF=ON. Everything offline takes on characteristics of the online (esp Web 2.0) world. Indeed this is a trend many of us have pushed with clients overly investing their brands in one medium/world or the other, but not both effectively. The primary vector in their article is mapping online features, design, and interaction modes to the built and ID product world. Extending consumer products with an interdependent web identity. Some of this can be meaningful – looking at the Letterman list of 10 ways though, much of it is also Web 2.0 add-on (my comments in red): It doesn’t take marketing genius to apply OFF=ON and ON=OFF to your own brand. Here’s what you can set in motion today: Incorporate online symbols into one of your next designs. (Great, add Digg icons to print? But a Flickr link might add value to a print advert.) Have customers design something from scratch online, then bring it into the real world. (Customized Webkinz?) Add any kind of online functionality or access feature to existing physical products. Study and then …

Designing design in non-design organizations

Peter Jones Innovation

Should designers embed with their clients? Designers have tied themselves closely to their clients since the early days of the Vatican. In design consulting, you must understand your clients’ business to advise effectively. So we have to work closely with clients to understand their users/customers. We’ve done this since 2001 as a boutique research/design consulting firm, and have noticed that smaller consulting firms have always done this. Its the larger firms likeIDEO that have to formalize a process for customer intimacy – but when you’re already close to your client, you nurture them in many ways outside of the contractual relationship. The evolving processes of “Design 3.0” have now also turned this imperative toward the organization itself – organizational processes are becoming “designable options.”  In ever more projects, we are advising user experience processes, consulting on overall product design and branding, conducting holistic UX research (end to end), and advising on organizational design and new practices. Rather than merely extending an organization’s UX capacity, we are designing that capacity, more management consulting than “design delivery.” I stay close to long …

Failure is a Matter of Timing

Peter Jones

On Boxes and Arrows, Part II of We Tried to Warn You! is now up, with several great comments that are worth the visit. Boxes and Arrows is a truly beautiful and readable online publication, one that I recommend as an example of how to do things right. One of the core points in Part II is the notion that we don’t see organizational failures coming because of the long lead times between early (and detectable) signals of trouble and the ultimate re-orgs or product portfolio changes that occur. By the time managers act on the larger failure, so many contributing events will have occurred that most observers will be unable to connect the dots. A section early in the article that explains this follows: A major difference in the current discussion is that organizational failure as defined here does not bring down the firm itself, at least not directly, as a risky strategy might. But it often leads to complete reorganization of divisions and large projects, which should be recognized as a significant failure at the organizational level. One …

Socializing Business Decisions

Peter Jones

What are the most effective ways to coordinate organizational transformation? Theories and experiences differ widely. Nearly all schools of strategic transformation assume a top-down decisionmaking style that wreaks “transformation” like a plague of new process changes across the organization. When the dust settles, it’s often the case that it was just another re-org, and now the very notion of transformation is relegated to a management fad. You cannot do “transformation” twice in the same organization. Complexity scientists and strategic thinkers both speak of the  dynamics of emergence in change processes. Emergent strategies are powerful for smaller firms, that can prepare for contingencies with strategic options that can be selected over time. Emergent strategy leverages a bias toward environmental scanning and opportunism in the marketplace. Not bad, but not transformative. In the same way, transformation that’s emergent seems a misnomer, the very notion of transformative change implies bold design. How else can true organizational transformation occur? How about laterally, through locally designed interventions guided by strategy, and energized by the socialization of agreement? Socialization is a type of organizational routine applicable …