Perhaps innovation’s perspective is bound by personal friction
One discussion often turns into many. It is excellent when several disparate, disconnected conversations begin to carry a common theme. Not forced, but something more organic. A tweet and it’s resulting thread illuminated an obstacle to a wider change, found on a much personal level — friction.
I am wildly inefficient on my phone. For me, any coordinating or communicating is best done on a laptop. Anyone else feel this way?
Thoughts while reading the thread more or less landed here: how does one design beyond the limits of their own cognitive behaviors? Can they if the personal friction that brokers their workspaces is so embedded?
Meaning, there’s probably a clearer reason why some innovations take longer to become “mainstream.” It is because of enough (loud) personal friction by just enough folks isn’t able to be overcome and so a narrative is formed and reiterated. What’s most iterated? That the newer tool/feature/behavior doesn’t do what the old one had done as easily?
It probably magnifies exponentially when a luminary in the (older) method takes the opinion public. At that point it is no longer just one’s personal feeling, but now it’s validated by someone with reputation.
Does it mean we should keep personal friction points to ourselves? Probably not. But, we might be better taking steps forward if we realize that whatever the friction is, has a perspective which might ripple well beyond our own “it feels uncomfortable.” Those who can overcome such a perspective open themselves up to a phase change. The change is transformative, and likely results in an inability to shape themselves into the former behaviors/perspectives any more. Their friction is now in convincing those who couldn’t move past theirs that there’s something beyond where they are. And what’s beyond will likely transform everything to come. Such a perspective is a new measurement not only of success, but of life itself.
Sitting down to write and on the window is an insect I’d not seen before. Not a spider, just six legs. And yet, I’m more intrigued at it, than it probably is at me. The closer I get to it, the more it takes steps to move away from my gaze. Even going as far towards moving into an upper corner of the window, to a place it’s likely under more danger from birds or even other insects. For all I know, the insect was here enjoying the background music and I simply disrupted its moment to gaze quietly. It didn’t expect to have my eyes its way, and defiantly not my motions. Such an analogy to not just this week’s notable reads, but also some of how we might be processing a connected life going forward.
Here’s this week’s reads — the processing will be left up to you.
And a few from here:
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Happenstance or happen to have a stance
Reviewing some older notes on organizations and user experience, came across a few bits on the UX Maturity Scale. What’s clear about it is that it’s not so much a discussion on whether understanding user experience is possible or not, but the competence of what’s understood because of the maturity of the organization attending to leverage it.
If one were to view their organization’s processes or departments through this lens, it is possible to uncover aspects of work and process which fit the day-to-day expectations, but result in increased friction towards the very groups the org aims to empower. Introspective? Yes. This lens confronts the org with the very core tenants of their reason for existing. Granted, some might have the stance, we don’t do this for clients/consumer, but for shareholders. Yet, even then, a culture has to mature towards this, minimizing friction in respective spaces until the core audience is consistently pleased.
Beyond the design perspective, maturity looks similar — what are the implicit rules being followed, when do those rules become autonomous stimuli, and when do those become defining character. One could assume that much of this happens by chance. That, at some point in the evolution of an org, certain traits come to the surface over others, creating the framing to which the org will define itself. Yet, it seems that for some of the adored and loathed orgs, this is less random and more structured. These orgs happen to craft some stance on which their very orgs will live or die, and then it becomes so insistent, that aspects of an org which seem they should be unaffected, now conform to such a vision.
Clients and customers feel this. They feel the connect or disconnect from the touch-points of an org and their messaging. It might even be subconsciously understood even if it’s consciously exercised. A company might hold itself to the highest standards of diversity and inclusion, yet have the very difficult task of retention because their hiring processes and department haven’t reorganized and re-measured around diversity/inclusion metrics, still keeping the same friction and KPIs of the very practices and industries they market themselves different than. A company might say sustainability, security, and privacy, yet their most ardent customers degrade, irritate, and unhealthily expose other members with such ferocity that no amount of company posturing removes the friction felt by those being subjected to alternate views. Experience isn’t something found by happenstance, it is very much designed into the very structures of what makes an org live.
Have been giving the uneasy smirk in explaining to organizations that user experience isn’t a product — it is the summation of the client/consumer’s ability to feel/not feel friction between their expectations and reality. To an org which is mature, this isn’t a challenging point of view. It is a level-setting one. If your org believes themselves to be mature, having a stance will cause the greatness that happenstance cannot.
Rest and recovery… or something like that. For one reason or another, you can’t seem to slow down until your body (or the organization you are a part of) seems to also take a rest. Aspects of today’s connected environment allow for a bit of this self-coaching. An emphasis on data, yes; but also an accountability to other professions who once used this data and interpretations as a special intelligence. What’s gained with rest is strength. What’s gained with recovery is endurance. Using the connected devices and services at your disposal should grant a level of knowledge/understanding you’d not had before. But, if you aren’t using them, you might as well be considered running on fumes.
Perhaps in these contexts, you find rest and recovery moments in what’s shared from this week’s notable readings.
And a few from here:
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Project: Masala.AI Branding Exploration
Describing an experimental workshop and a focused destination
In a few recent conversations about the goals for Avanceé, there has been the mention of a possible workshop series based around an existing client activity. Called “15 Minutes to Add Time to Your Life” it is a tech-focused exploration of using a tablet as the executive notebook or dashboard in order to gain efficiencies in relating to teams, or processing the outputs of managed teams. Challenging? You bet. While every leadership guru has something of the same pitch, what sets this workshop apart is a simplicity of focus — specifically on what is gained when an iPad or Microsoft Surface is used as the agent for behavioral change.
Does it work? Early returns are positive in this regard. One person who engaged in the workshop has almost completely removed themselves from relying on a paper file cabinet for colleague historical files (addressing a long-standing PII issue at that firm). Another has taken a smaller, yet no less insignificant step of using the iPad as a second screen when at their desk, but then taking it as the sole notebook (using Microsoft’s OneNote) when attending meetings. The light went off for them when they realized the ease at which they could organize smaller snippets of info, and then recall these via the on-device search. Again, these are small steps, but ones which add up to no more than 15 minutes of instruction — gaining more than 15 minutes back in time to dedicate to whatever needs the attention.
Can this work for anyone? Probably. However, in looking at a workshop series like this, the focus is on executive decision making and behaviors. Why this group? Because it is at this level were macro-decisions turn into a cacophony of tasks and expectations for others. By addressing their ability to make clearer and more effective real-time decisions, Avanceé is bridging the gap between the future they expect for the present, and their abilities to leverage what’s in their hands.
What happens after this session? That depends on the team. One executive turned a small segment of his team into an innovation-forward department. Meaning, they were to not only use the tasks in the 15 min workshop, but actively seek other ways in which time can be added to the days of those persons they are responsible for. Our conversations since have been about “lessons learned,” other applications/services which integrate into their workflows (or other workflows they weren’t as clear towards in their org), and other ways to see consistent innovative practices as the discipline of operations, not just a single/paradigm shifting event.
Will it work long term? No clue. Almost don’t care. The point is to move forward, and this focus enables many to carve out of their spaces the kind of perspective which is easily transferable to other areas of work and life. If it doesn’t work, it’s not because this was the outside person coming in with something they didn’t know of — this kind of workshop works best when the day-to-day is known and pursued in balance. From there, forward is the individual’s push, and the organization’s to cultivate.
If this comes to your org, how would you respond?
Cycles… everything seems to happen in cycles. None of these are all that spectacular in and of themselves, but we seem to be offered a bit of surprise about new cycles when they happen. In the transition from one cycle to another, we find the nuts and bolts of what makes life happen. How we respond to that shift determines a bit on how we are going to exist within that next cycle. Yet, there’s also lessons from reflecting backwards. Those previous cycles offer a bit of insight worth keeping in pocket as well. Those cycles are not to be relived, but they are meant to be learned from.
Cycles, or really the transition between them, continues as the theme for the week’s Notable Reads. How you figure and transition forward is up to the lessons you gather from these:
And a few from here:
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Reading a piece about totems and tantrums, was reminded of a term heard once before — mental knots. Basically, when people get into a cognitive state where their ability to filter sensory, contextual, and other input streams finds itself overloaded and unable to untangle from itself. This state is pretty easy to see in developing children. And somewhat also able to be discernered from drivers who approach other’s on the roadway as “in their way” or “not moving as they should.” What it amounts to in these contexts is an inability to untether all f the stimuli, ans therefore paralyzes and incites.
Mental knots also show up in organizational contexts. You might have an org in a transition state but unable to figure out how to get from under certain ties. A common scenario has a consultant come into a space, then ask people of various roles, experience levels, etc. their day-to-day activities. The consultant would be there in the capacity to address some process inefficiency. Yet, they find in these conversations such a tethering to their processes that any innovation would be met with a high amount of friction (resistance, tolerance, etc.).
How does one break or loosen these mental knots? Part of an answer is found in acknowledging the truth of the current state and one’s inability to move forward without first releasing some areas of tension. Another comes in looking at one’s abilities versus what was being attempted — knots are spaces where friction to move in a specific direction is unable to overcome the levels of input/output which sit on either side of that tie. An article prescribes walking as a means of releasing some of the bonds which restrict mental steps forward. Walking, physical exercise, mindfulness activities, can help to relieve some of those stressors — when an org takes a walk, this might look like a retrospective, a month of paused projects, or even a service activity.
Recognizing mental knots is simply self awareness of an inhibitor. An org recognizing them and taking steps to alleviate stress is also self awareness — and a market opportunity.
Perhaps it is a good thing to have talent to shape a workspace. Companies which figure it out call it culture. But, entrepreneurs and freelancers tend to shape that talent out differently. Like music compositions, there’s a challenge to both express and to reduce complexity. There’s here’s what’s worked for me and here’s what required in order to make a successful output. Perhaps the soundtrack to this week could be themed as simply finding the soundtrack. Or, maybe finding clarity in one’s talents is something altogether different. This week’s notable reads offer a canvas for both.
And a few from here:
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New headlines, not faster ones
Some years ago, attempting to take more control over an online footprint, decided to put an experimental mobile Web server onto a low-end smartphone. It worked really well. Why would someone do that? Or year, or maybe less, before that there was a video by the largest phone manufacture at the time. In that video they talked about, they actually just showed, there was very little text, and I’ll be in that lifestyle where the mobile device transformed itself into what the user need it right at that moment. From that, came a small group — very, very far inside of that company, who took the all powerful tooling which makes web servers tick, and fit it all into a phone. That was the type of future headline I never read before but wanted to be living within immediately.
Before sitting down to compose this, attended a presentation on the future of computing. As the person talked about what he envisioned the future of computing looks like, I wondered where his reference point came from. When he talked about blockchain, he neglected to mention the very public ledger his employer was already building. When he spoke about using voice to design applications, there was no pointing to JAWS or even Apple’s recently demoed voice control feature for iOS13. When he spoke of sensors and cameras which could infer meaning, there was only “it will do this,” not “here’s how we design ethical constraints around the inherent bias of machines primary senses.” There was only the tropes of current and past news — and to be honest, a future already living with two connected rings and a pair of connected glasses on my person now. His future wasn’t far enough.
Attended that talk with the expectation of hearing something, learning something, perhaps even just a perspective not heard before. But the future to some people, is the past to others. For some, the future is faster horses. For others, the future is a protopian canvas compromised of languages long forgotten, scribbled by senses finally given a chance to be exercised. A future which goes further invites the reality of a different floor — not just a “more” floor or an invasive one. It creates a language more than it extends an existing one. Yes, it augments — but it also alleviates and alternates. Going further means that we intentionally disinvite ourselves from owning the narrative — and decide that those with a newer native capacity drive, model, build, regulate, and reproduce.
Some days before, a conversation sparked because of (as was stated) “a clearly different understadning of how to use an iPad.” The person was not just intrigued, but wanted to know why they did not understand-for-use the same technology they had in their hand. As with a current client, this turned into a “what kind of present can Avanceé help you envision with what’s in your hands now?” For them, it was like asking them, “do you want the future right now, or later?” Our sessions start with the future being further than what they’d been working towards but not outside of their hands’ ability to grasp.
There’s something to be said about anchoring the future in what’s understood about the present. But, if you push out a bit further, you just might reveal something about the future which ignites senses beyond simply being stimulated. My goal with Avanceé is to help you push further into that future. Not to give you exactly what you might see from me. But, to offer you a lane, well-within your capacity to build and traverse, so the future you imagine, is also the one you live.
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Climate and weather are increasingly the points of topic in the northern hemisphere. Sure, part of it is due to the uncomfortable and unpredictable nature of weather. At the same time, the inability to control climate reminds us of our own fragility. The power of humanity (or maybe our intelligence) has certainly been in manipulating the environment such that we don’t seem to be as effected by our environment. And yet, we’ve learned to manipulate it because of the environment. Interdependency and augmentation have always gone hand in hand. Yet now, our ability to quickly communicate what has and hasn’t worked now presents a lot more of us with an earnest challenge: will we thrive because we are resistant to further change, or resilient because of it?
This is the framing for the links which have stood out this week.
And then a few from here:
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Many approaches, just as there are many senses
Having been involved with connected technology since the late 90s, there has been decent evolution in working methods. Where it was once, “only use online research for what can be validated,” now there’s “make sure there are qualitative and quantitative sources for materials.” The funny thing about the latter, is that often the approach still boils down to what can be seen or read. A visual literacy is the preamble to any declarative approach. And yet, we see time and time again, visual artifacts contain only so much information — to arrive at better conclusions, we often have to engage other senses to our approaches.
Engaging other senses sounds as if it could be more involved. And to some degree, that is true. For the beginning parts of our learning days, we are given multi sensory inputs: blocks to touch, colors to recognize, sounds to it knowledge, and more. Over time, our learning environment changes to include more memory retention and recall. If this makes sense, we move to what is understood as higher-order affects. Yet, these higher-order types of mental activities often make us feel so disengaged we run to other tactile, audial, and other senses in order to feel refreshed so that we can reengage with the productive environment.
How do we take the best advantage of using more senses in our environment in order to come to traditional, and often times more innovative outcomes?
Some of this may come out of the way that we evolve what we understand about our natural environment and productivity. For example, one client splits work across several segments of the day. We make a point to have a walking session for one of them, alongside the seated ones, when the weather permits. Those walking sessions tend to expose the deeper problems that we were trying to solve. For another client, we make certain to put exercise and time under the trees as part of the creative method. Yet, outcomes for this client usually require deeper thought. And there is some research which seems to acknowledge that getting under trees, sitting next to still/running water, or smelling different scents as being a catalyst to creative efforts.
This is not an approach that is conductive, or traditional, to the office environment. As a matter fact, it is so different it can look like anarchy to such an environment or culture. However, it is not. Getting in touch with ones other senses enables approaches to creative endeavors which respond heartily to outside of the box perspectives. What’s created then resonates with more than just what is input thru the pupils.
Uncharacteristicly quiet this week. Or, more like listening to what others are/aren’t doing in this space more intensly if there’s more to be said about it. The weekly long-form missed for paying attention to these trends has allowed some deeper thoughts about what it means to be forward. In one conversation, reflecting on the executive need for adding more time to the day meant looking again at what this effort is supposed to produce. In another, it has been about addressing some base tech skills so that data analytics and personal security aren’t missed as other efforts to move forward happen. That leads to similar endings at this point — links which have said things which matter. Beyond these, the conversation and effort continues to cut a different way forward.
Here’s what has caught my attention this week:
Last week’s notable reads 🔗 can be found here.
There were no new pieces this week, yet there’s been a ton posted this year. Here are a few favs:
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Independence. Given the celebration of such for the USA, it’s helpful to stay on theme so to speak. And yet, so much about independence is really about ownership of agency. Ownership of owning not only your consequences, but also your pace. Ownership of your mobility, just as much as ownership of your quiet. Independence is about an active boundary — a means to establish what you know in order to discover what you are becoming. And yet, as we in the USA are figuring out, independence doesn’t end with a document. It isn’t concluded because a part of the group has it. It isn’t ownership of agency until all parties (those who want it and those being separated from it) can exercise their lives within it.
For such reasons, platforms like @microblog might be a better expression of independence than you might have figured. Where you have agency to be, then you can be all that you can imagine and more.
With that said, here’s this week’s links of interest:
And a few from here:
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Not the pioneer, but the ones who follow, who create the roads
Speaking with a few “coffee office mates” about cycling advocacy, there’s something powerful about advocacy which comes to mind. When there’s positivity advocacy, it validates a framing — ethical, capitalist, emotional, etc. — where it is no longer the case if something works. With advocacy in tow, there’s no need for further validation of culture change, it will change. The only question then is how deep that change will be.
Perhaps advocacy could be thought of as the presence of a change agent. When it convinces an area or change, there are those who will adapt, and those who will remove themselves. There’s a moment when a decision needs to be made — a shift where advocates cause positive, negative, or indifferent change. Yet, the change agent isn’t the reason for the change. They are merely the messenger. It is up to the environment to make the decision to follow or ignore. But, when they do, then the power of the advocate is exercised.
In a few engagements, Avanceé is granted access to the strategy and execution of forward-running programs. This is where Avanceé runs best — the statements go something like, “we aren’t ready to do what you are doing. But, we need your guidance to get closer to than where we are now.” Avanceé isn’t the author of the change, just an advocate towards getting there. We work alongside others who wish to be culture/change agents and then arrive at a place where enough information is gathered, or behaviors challenged, where the organization makes a choice to go forward or not.
Similar to cycling advocacy, it isn’t those who are already cycling who create the sustaining change. It is inviting those who are closer to the lived-experience of the region. Those who see other benefits of cycling (financial, health, local business support, etc.) as key to making that cultural change. It’s at that shift where advocacy moves from being a discussion to a transaction. A transaction which invites other discussions, and likely other transactions also. But, the advocate for the initial, won’t necessarily be the advocate for the next. They too will need to change — and become a follower to someone else’s advocacy plan.
Late? Or elite? Part of the reason for things being later than usual, that is the posting of this weeks links, is because of a focus towards business development for a few new clients. One part of the work is trying to understand why they are not late in their respective industry, but why they are elite. Sometimes, timing works for us if we find a flow that is less dependent on whether or not people who could use our services — that is, we work in our flow and are found because we are distinctly not pushing against the grain. Simply becoming notable because your flow demonstrates that others are striving. From there, the work that you put in is what guarantees the business’ outcomes.
And a few from here:
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Every org is a tech org, every tech is it’s currency
In some engagements, the product is simply to raise the floor of a specific team or role’s technical literacy. This might mean training on a particular platform or application, connecting the dots between existing practices, or carefully appraising incoming personnel’s skill sets. In all cases, one of the arguments made is that no matter the application of the business’ attention, they are a technical organization. Their ability to skillfully use, adapt to, and moderate themselves (individually and collectively) will determine if that literacy is profitable or detrimental.
What amounts to functional literacy is different than even 15-20 years ago. It used to be words per minute was the metric of literacy. Nothing about the quality of the output, nothing about the ability to transform that into various other forms. Just input. Later, many industries evolved past WPM to Microsoft Office proficiency. Not merely being about input, this phrasing also meant the ability to transform and manipulate for specific ends. Unfortunately, it is a very wide request for proficiency (does one need to know mail merge for Word, how to create rules for Outlook, or how to write/edit VBA for macros in Excel). Sure, a good bit of this request for proficiency had to do with understanding how to find and leverage functionality. Yet, it was rarely stated this way. Weirdly enough, this phrasing actually leads to the gaps SaaS products have aimed at marketing.
So, if we agree that these were the leading steps of literacy over the past 30+ years of knowledge-based productivity, what does technical literacy look like now?
Or, is it creating something else entirely, which adds the benefit of improving productivity, increasing stakeholder returns, or filling a social need?
Skillfully using, adapting, and moderating technology (individually and collectively) will determine if that literacy is profitable or detrimental. Technical literacy is the floor, and that floor will continue to evolve, just as our base uses of computing evolves.
Thought about publishing the weekly links earlier since Friday was quite packed. But, it made sense to wait a bit. There were a few things on deck for Friday which shaped these a bit better. That shaping will lead to better buckets of life later — and interesting bits to consider for the weekend forward.
From here: - Connectivity As Wellness - Notable Reads for 14 June 🔗
When connectivity is wellness
A few conversations recently about connectivity and what it means to be well had sparked something of a different perspective. Namely, what it means to find wellness when you are connected. Sounds like a wrong shift of perspective to some, but we must realize that for many, to be disconnected will mean Essential death. It’s rather on a scale of connectivity where they will figure out what is too much, what isn’t enough, and what it means to be well.
Borrowing from the ideology behind digital immigrants and natives (see: Howard Reinghold), there’s obviously a difference between those who grew up with connectivity as it evolved and those who grew up with different aspects of it more or less normalized. Much like those who grew up with color TV listened to those who grew up with radio talk about the diminishing of imagination, there’s a similar angle to this discussion. However, we won’t settle on the perceived negative connotations, there’s room for that in other digital humanism discussions. We would be better to ask what wellness looks like.
On the other side of those things techie, there’s been plotting what it means to be connected but not overwhelmed. When wearing connected glasses and ears means “an ability to communicate but not be overdone with media connecting to you.” Or, adding a set of ears and finding the other spectrums of hearing not easily heard as we age. Or, adding a watch for wellness is also adding a human introspection of transactions and rest. In a sense, grafting connected devices and services not for the purpose of being consumed with media/attention, but for the purpose of using it to filter the world so that a humane perspective remains.
Wellness starts to sound more like exercising agency over how and what is connected to. It really is “use these attention-seeking, analytics-invasive” services and devices, but doing so under the lens of “let me stay connected to the parts of the world which matters.” Yes, sometimes that means disconnect, but more often, it means to use the settings, filters, and timers also present in order to lower the volume and tone.
Looked at a bike lock this weekend and wondered why an NFC-enabled lock was not (yet?) invented to make it easier to keep a locked bicycle from being taken. A bicycle being used speaks to being human-powered, and close to your surroundings as you travel. However, solutions for securing a bicycle are either to fold and take it with you, or use a fairly thick and heavy lock to secure it. There’s connectivity on a finger which could solve both of these if we thought about it differently. That differently isn’t to be disconnected (analog, or manual)m but to use connectivity in such a way it causes us to cultivate wellness, rather than disconnect because of fears.
If connectivity were also looked at as wellness, what could your humane-enabled perspective also create? What else would it empower? Why not connect to those outcomes instead of what we’ve been doing to date?
Persistence… for those to whom media has or hasn’t given them attention, there’s the swelling of persistence. For those engaging in environmental conversations, the addition of younger voices seems to validate their persistence. While the diminishing of data or resources invites a different type of persistence. Whether or not persistence is met with the intended desire, what’s been true about this week — and the links shared — is that persistence is just as much a tune for the age as any other.
Only a few items this week, but a few recaps of previous editorials:
Less “Finished” and More “What Else Is There”
Not every project ends in a beautiful design. Better said, not every project begins with the ideal experience being the thing that is delivered. Often, the idealized design becomes water down, modified, standards approved, or any other myriad of items before it lands into the customer’s hands. As a designer, whether talking about Web or services or hardware, you have to be OK with the idea of your craftsmanship being in an incomplete state. Still, being OK with that state doesn’t mean that there are lessons yet to be learned.
One lesson is that of the design experience was just a guide all along. There is some truth to the statement that often people do not understand what they want until they see it. And what happens here in there is that a design experience is created, however it is eschewed for something else entirely. There was one project we talked about here, that when it released looked almost nothing like the design that was created. The overall experience was actually similar to a few pieces of an early prototype. However, it was the choice of the client to MoveOn from the experience that was designed to experience that was closer aligned to their vision. Can’t be mad at such things, in that case, the product is actually doing well.
In another case, you may have the lesson of the design experience being held to, but the end result not calculated or foreseen. This would seem like an issue which comes from the lack of research, or even the lack of follow through with some of the metrics after the product has been designed. But actually, this is a matter of understanding that design experiences do not always, and should not always, understand every outcome. In fact, it is these unforeseen consequences of a design which should be sought after. This allows you to design a better experience later; and hopefully, there are no mortal injuries as a result of learning said lesson.
The last lesson, this one is for the practitioner specifically, is the lesson of doing too much. It is easily the case for an experience designer to calculate all possible directions for design experience. That ability to have a macro and micro view of the design experience is an asset. And often, notebooks are filled, Post-it notes are laid, and wireframes designed against both the macro and micro view. However, if the design experience is not brought to fruition as designed, the practitioner would feel that the design is incomplete. It is not incomplete; however, their expectations for what the design experience were supposed to contain was incomplete. They went beyond the scope of reality, not the scope of the design. This is an important lesson; it is the humility one.
Now, these are not the only lessons found in designing experiences. There are often several more. However, a recently concluded project brought to mind these lessons in part because there is a re-orientation that happens when you realize that an incomplete design is part of what should happen sometimes. The re-orientation is that design experiences are not the province of the practitioner, it belongs to those who will live with it and it’s consequences. The designer is merely the translator. Some phrases don’t need to be as polished as they hear them in their heads and hearts. All lessons need to be learned — these are just a few for those who create for others.
What happens when you start thinking about what you can do now and start concentrating a little bit more towards the horizon? Not, “future” in the respect of it’s impossible but we’re gonna think about it anyway. Future in the respect of, given a few things breaking the right way, this could certainly happen next. This horizon mindset might both be a safe space to dream, as well as a decent toolshed.
That’s the framing for what’s shared for this week. Not that far out there, but also not exactly around the corner yet either:
A few posts this week:
Also, if you are following via microblog, you’ll see additional items posted throughout the weekend.
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Unstructured thoughts on Apple’s 2019 WWDC Keynote
Did not intend to sit down and write this, so am using Siri dictation to do so. Because Voice Control is probably the most important highlight from the WWDC keynote. Well, the most important highlight for those people who may be looking to utilize Apple devices and services for the next 10 to 15 years. For those people, and for what seems to be pointing towards in writing/dictating this right now, the power will be in declarative computing - not simply pushing a mouse, keyboard, or cursor to where you want to go. But using intention as a control mechanism. Gestures are a part of this, but mental acuity is the canvas/pen.
A little bit more about Siri: it seems as if Apple has taken some lessons from Brian Roemmele and is making a more natural interface for potential conversation. Now, he might say that they could’ve gone further and made it purely conversational, and an active listener. But it seems as if they are setting the stage for doing that with watchOS doing noise-loudness detection, a new neural text-to-speech voice, and more. Not fully SiriOS, but the enablements there and with Shortcuts on iOS/iPadOS seems to point there cleanly.
That the iPad is now getting specifically focused iPadOS says a whole lot about the future productivity. Granted, if you’ve been listening to this channel or others for many years, you’re already bought and sold into that vision. The case is now that it’s possible not only for others to jump into that vision, but there is an incentive for developers to build that into their products, and for productivity to change to adapt to that reality. It’s almost like saying, the tablet is grown enough to be the kind of device it needs to be, here is the way you work that out. Three-finger text control gestures toss the “need a mouse” argument out; and PencilKit should finally mean something of a standard-fare in apps which use canvas/drawing surfaces to elevate that input mechanism and the connections it opens.
The new Mac Pro reminds of the Ford F150 from one or two generations ago. It went from a design that looks like a car, but try to take some of the smoother softer aspects of an automotive design and appropriate that to a truck. And while they did not hurt their sales numbers any, they were perceived as being less capable. When looking at the new Mac Pro, not only the design but also the features, the absolutely insane features of the top and models, you can’t help but see a similar cadence. A device like this is really built for professionals, not power users. Will not be surprised to hear those who do YouTube, tech journalism, fawn over the specs for this. But they are not the audience. To those to whom this will be the audience, a redesigned F150 will be exactly what is ordered. And just like Ford, Apple will likely see their perception and marketshare grow by leaps and bounds because of this attention to this specific group.
Swift UI is going to be more important for the health of macOS as it goes forward. Not so much because it gives away for iOS applications to come to macOS, but it allows certain skills and development to be shared from those persons who been developing for many years/decades to those who are just entering the space and find arcane frameworks or software development kits a little more cumbersome than they need to be. That’s not a bad thing, if you want to improve the user experience of some applications, you have to improve the user experience of the developers who are developing those experiences. Demo looked like Swift Playgrounds minus the gaming — kids who play Minecraft are well-positioned to go right into this.
All in all, it has to be something of a breather for those persons who have thought or have seen a decrease in the affluence and ability of Apple to set trends. Clearly, some of the softer bits are harder to see at this juncture (it is a keynote, at the annual developers conference). But if you look beyond the things that were announced, paying attention to the placement of items in the presentation, pain attention to the energy around some of the announcements, you can see that Apple is very much setting themselves up for future where the iPhone has now become like the Mac. Paying attention to the whispers: AirPods, HomePod, CarPlay, Siri — this is Apple next. And that’s not a bad place at all. Even with the economic and cultural headwinds happening right now.
Update: Videos for the keynotes and other sessions are all posted here.
Not every challenge is challenging
One of the most difficult concepts to get across in the middle of the sales process is complexity. Or more specifically, how “complexity doesn’t matter.” Given enough information, yet not always enough time to synthesize, anything that is truly complex isn’t. Recognizing complexity is a type of humility. Humility that respects the problem, its audiences, and even the solutions.
It comes across as arrogant to say “oh, that’s easy I get it.“ And that’s because in their framework, in their context, they see an insurmountable problem. But you are outside of that box, you sit in the context not as burdened with the income or the outcome. You are just enough involved to help them see where they could not see before.
Drawing on the outside of the box some refuse to get outside of
Challenges to the way that we move, the way that we behave, the way that we create are a box. And it’s a good box. This box is good for boundaries of protection, boundaries that measure our success, and boundaries that measure the scope or reach of our influence. Those challenges also constrain us. Constraints are a type of freedom, but they are also a limitation. Walking alongside someone who is not inside of your box is an admission you can not overcome the challenge alone. You see their strengths, and opt to graft to your own so that a step forward may happen.
But, they are likely not challenged by your challenges. They have their own challenges. Yours is probably a stimulant to continue past their challenge. Might even be the ink they use to draw on the outside of your box. They don’t’ have your limitations, nor should they. They aren’t supposed to fit in your box…
…they are to empower you to reshape your box.
Finding and synthesizing readings when the months slow down into heat of summer tends to be a little difficult. Not because there’s not as much value in what’s generated or shared, but because the connections become less apparent. The challenge isn’t challenging — however, there is no easy fit. Designing structures to understand associations is a bit of a kennel’s game — sure, you can put a wrapper around items, but that doesn’t mean it matters to more than the one doing the wrapping. The hope is that it does matter, and at the point when it does, connections manifest into opportunity.
Here are this week’s most interesting reads:
A very heart-felt piece written about a great woman met some years ago. Amazing life and energy. So grateful to have met Peg: Last Conversation — Painfully Hopeful
Just a few pieces this week:
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