Weeknotes 324

Things I did this week:

Adoption plans

Been thinking about how people take on new things; different thinking tools, working practices, stuff like that. My go-to model was Roger’s Adoption Curve and using the five characteristics of ‘compatible, trialable, relative advantage, observable, and not too complex’ as a guide to communicating the thing and as ‘tests’ of whether it will be adopted. I know I’m in the minority, but I completely standby building plans and practices on the work of experts rather than starting from scratch and guessing.

Charity opportunity canvas

One of the things that I’ve been/will be applying the thinking around adoption to is the charity opportunity canvas. I’m working on a plan for at work and I’m adding it to my website to make it available for other to use.

Asking better questions

This week’s Irregular Ideas email was about asking better questions. Using search engines as the example of how not asking good questions leads to negative consequences. The idea for this email started with thinking about the need for asking better questions, because I don’t always see other asking, or ask myself, questions that as well-defined. So, I want to do some work on defining how to ask better questions in the context of research, design and product development. Asking unanswerable questions doesn’t make you look smart.

Things I thought about:

Decolonising product development

I started by thinking that most of product and service design and development processes are designed for environments that don’t work for charities. For example, the Discovery Alpha Beta Live process is designed for well-resourced cross-functional teams that work on a product throughout its lifecycle.

Charities need a process that recognises working in a resource-constrained environments and for teams that may not be stable or have all the skills they need. The process should also centre lived experience and shift systems.

Thinking about what that process might look like led me to thinking about how colonialist the process of service design and product development might be. The idea of ‘discovery’ as an act of those with power going into the places and spaces of those without power to access their resources, to the advantage of the powerful. And the use of problematic terms like ‘service safari’. All of this needs more critique. I have a lot of reading to do.

Design looks to be a bit further ahead in thinking about decolonisation than product development, but there’s a long way to go in changing the practices of teams.

Technology charities

I wondered if there’ll ever be ‘technology charities’ like there are technology companies. Thanks to the wonderful people on Twitter I got lots of ideas to play with in trying to answer that question. One of the first things should be to define what we might mean by a technology charity. I need to do some more work on that, but my first thoughts are that it probably uses proprietary technology and acts as an intermediary and enabler, but there isn’t even a clear definition of a tech company.

Too many ideas

I think I’ve starting to figure out why I haven’t made any progress on any of my projects over the last few months. I think I feel overwhelmed by so many ideas. There are five ideas in this post alone (charity opportunity canvas, a framework for better questions, a charity-specific new product development process, decolonising product development and defining a technology charity) which could, if I explored them as I’d like, be weeks or months of work. Every week I have more questions, more ideas, more things to explore than I have time for. Every new idea seems more interesting than the last. Too many ideas.