Weeknotes #267

Photo of the week:

What I did this week:

A gateway or a ladder

Neuroscience tells us that what makes human minds special is our sense of narrative and being able to sequence events. It’s what allowed us grasp complex cause and effect relationships which are the foundation for science and rational logic. Telling stories and using metaphors to explain concepts is a useful and well-accepted method of communication, but perhaps less so within organisations. My writing is usually quite technical and concrete, but this is changing as I explore other ways to help people understand my work, and make better decisions from it.

I’ve been working on ways of making identity verification better. It has quite a bit of complexity to it, with the user experience of having to provide documents with personal information, the technicalities of managing the systems that store the document files and record progress as they are check and verified, and the processes that collect, validate and verify a person’s identity. So, to communicate the different ways we could approach identity verification I used the metaphors of a gateway and a ladder. The gateway is the same for everyone, once their identity is verified they can pass through. The ladder has different steps that someone can be on if their identity is verified to different degrees. Hopefully the metaphor can be used as shortcuts to discuss both options.

Designing for privacy and protection

I’ve been working on how we might implement the Age Appropriate Design Code. It requires some quite critical questioning of the code and our systems and processes. As we progress with this work I’m keen that rather than designing for the most likely and usual, and then designing other processes that deal with the deviations, we take the approach of designing ways that work for everyone. Those product managers who spend their time trying to push the needle on user retention don’t know they’re born. Charity product management is where it’s at. It’s the extreme sport of product management.

Breaking down hierarchies

I went to a really good virtual meetup about hierarchies and networks by the Barnardo’s Innovation Team. Apart from being a really good idea to get people together to share ideas it also opened my eyes to different ways of thinking about hierarchies and networks.

Work together better by knowing more about how others work

I have a hypothesis that multi-disciplinary and cross-functional teams aren’t as effective as they could be because thy create mini silos of specialisms within the team. I think if every role had some understanding of each of the adjacent roles, the team would have better shared language, more effective conversations and make more considered decisions. In an attempt to do something about this I’m trying out the idea of users guides for digital roles for those who aren’t specialists in those roles, which I’m calling Adjacencies.

Thought about this week:

Transitional states

A colleague set me a link to a video about ‘transitional safeguarding‘, a phrase used to describe the problem of thinking in binary ways about childhood and adulthood and the gap it creates in the way young people receive support as they transition from childhood to adulthood. This made me think about two things; 1) how I’m really interesting in digital safeguarding as a foundation for all online interactions but that it’s really broad and complicated area to understand, and 2) that thinking about how people interact with digital services as in-flux transitions rather than beginning or ending fixed states opens more possibilities to meet people where they are but is also really complicated. Our language doesn’t lend itself to describing things that are changing, so then how do we even talk about it, let alone develop the mental models to understand transitions deeply. Every user interface shows the fixed states between the transitions (however temporary they may be). I don’t even know how to start thinking about this.

Creating a writing habit

I write quite a lot. I write documents at work, weeknotes every week, and occasional blog posts. These are quite formalised, so I wanted to try to create more of a habit of writing more freely and spontaneously. So I decided I’m going to try to write a blog post every day throughout October. Of course, in my usual way I started planning what I would write about each day, collecting research, making notes, and completely missing the point of building a habit of writing spontaneously. Anyway, we’ll see how it goes.

And read about:

Liberating structures

I’ve reading through the Liberating Structures menu to think more about how virtual meetings might be better, if they can’t be done asynchronously, of course.

Digital nomads

As I’ve been considering starting up my Digital Nomad Newsletter again I’ve been reading other digital nomad newsletters, including Playing with ideas, Wayward Wayfarer, Nomad Hacker, The History of Digital Nomading and Diary of a Digital Nomad.

My growth area:

Giving feedback

I was asked to give feedback for a colleague. I thought about it for a couple of days, I looked at this, and thought more about number ten: understanding what they value, and then wrote my feedback. I couldn’t provide feedback that helps them improve in their discipline. I could only help them apply their discipline towards making a better product. But this is my objective. It might not be theirs, but they didn’t tell me what there’s is. I’m left thinking that my feedback is less than useful because I don’t have any context in which to provide it. So, my growth area this week is to try to understand what the point of providing feedback is, what is it suppose to achieve.

Weeknotes #243

This week I did:

Roadmapping

I’ve been working on a developing a process for coordinating a product roadmap and delivery plan with the operations of the teams running the training courses for young people. I haven’t quite got the strategy figured out yet but as it shapes up the biggest challenge is going to continue to be how change and adapt quickly to deliver a good enough product just in time for the course delivery.

We discussed the difference between an operating model which explains how things usually work and a support model that explains how to respond when things go wrong, so now we just need to build out those models and make them work in practice.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

I started collaborating with an old friend on writing a children’s book to answer the question, Why did the chicken cross the road? I hand-coded the website in a couple of hours (it loads in 68ms and gets 99 performance grade) and want to use it to try out ideas around ways of writing a book iteratively. The plan is to not have a plan, but to explore and figure where the project goes at each step. At the moment it’s meant to be a read-along story with an adult reading to the child and the child pressing the buttons (which is why the website needs to fast, to avoid frustration), but it might evolve into a story for older children, or into a game, or something we haven’t even imagined yet.

Digital creativity exam

I did my Digital Creativity exam, which finishes the module and means I only have one module and my dissertation left. I really enjoy studying, even though it takes lots of time I get a lot out of the pressure it applies.

Prototyping

This week’s Service Design course was about prototyping. We talked about rapid prototyping of digital services which involves building only enough to test your idea, and then going right back to make an improved version once you’ve gotten the feedback you need. Quite timely, I think, as it’s pretty much the approach we’re taking with Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road.

Upgraded my office

I bought a wireless keyboard which means I can have my laptop monitor up at eye height rather than looking down and getting neck and back ache. If I was still writing about being a Digital Nomad I think I’d use this to talk about how people adapt their surroundings to fit their needs and what that means when your immediate environment is more limiting and changes regularly.


I read:

Human-Centered Design Considered Harmful

Donald Norma from NN Group writes about how Human-Centred Design can be harmful when it causes designers to create for a single idealised user and so excluded others. I’ve been thinking (a little) about how the approach of designing for the extreme user and so including everyone else might work in practice. And when I say design I don’t mean ‘what a web page looks like’ (although that is part of it also), I mean how we design systems and structures and organisations to work for everyone.

Computers and Creativity

This wonderful essay by Molly Mielke, a product designer at Notion, asks the question, “How can we push digital creative tools to their full potential as co-creators, thus harnessing the full power of creative thought and computational actualization to enable human innovation?” This idea is interesting to me as I’ve been studying digital media and how it affects creativity.

Welcome to the Experience Economy

The experience economy is where commercial activities move to beyond commodities, products and services. Pine says that the difference between service and experience is how the customer regards their time. When they are accessing a service they want it to be convenient so they spend as little on it as possible. But when they engage in experiences the customer wants to make the most of their time, and will pay more for it. I wonder if the same thinking could be applied to how charities approach how services are delivered?

Speed as a habit

I believe in speed. For the advantage it offers in almost all situations, and for the tendency towards taking action and getting fast feedback that it brings. In this article is Dave Girouard talks about how, “All else being equal, the fastest company in any market will win“. Speed of decision-making is the main topic the article covers, including some of those anxieties we tell ourselves exist as reasons not to make decisions, things like dependencies, perfect knowledge, and understanding impact, all things that apply if the default decision is to not make a different decision anyhow, we just choose to ignore it.

The Open Paradigm in Design Research

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282772798_The_Open_Paradigm_in_Design_Research

The shift from closed to open paradigms in new product development is seen as an emergence of new forms of production, innovation, and design. Innovation processes are shifting from open source software to open source hardware design. Emulating open source software, design information for open source hardware is shared publicly to enhance the development of physical products, machines, and systems.Similarly, the rise of the “maker culture” enhances product tinkering,while the do-it-yourself (DIY) movement embraces “the open” in design.Users participate in design via crowdsourcing and co-creation on platforms such as OpenIdeo and Quirky and by joining proliferating open innovation challenges. At the back end of the design process, customers are invited to participate in mass customization and personalization to personalize products.The open paradigm has received scholarly attention through studies of open source software and open source hard- ware. Moreover, user engagement in the design process has been studied as user-centric innovation,participatory design,and co-design, as well as customer co-creation and crowdsourcing. However, the “open” landscape in design lacks consensus regarding a unified definition for open design practices. This lack of agreement partially results from the gap in approaches to design. Studies of innovation and new product development are focused on user-centric approaches and customer engagement in several stages of the design process, whereas current definitions of open design are focused on openness of technical design information and largely exclude, in particular, the early stages of the design process. The open design definitions also lack the commercial aspects of openness. Thus, the existing definitions are too narrow to holistically represent the shift from a closed paradigm to an open paradigm in design. Moreover, the lack of clarity and consistency in definitions is hindering the development of open design as a design approach. To fully advance the research on methods and practices, a more comprehensive perception of openness in the design process is needed.

Social design – Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_design#:~:text=Social%20design%20is%20the%20application,to%20bring%20about%20social%20change.