Experience is the Product

eter Merholz from Adaptive Path says “Don’t focus on technology and features. Heck, don’t focus on the “product.” Focus on the experience you want to create, and build a system that gets you there.”

In this recorded presentation from the dConstruct2007 conference, Peter points out that “Experience is the Product.”

Peter Merholz is President of Adaptive Path, an experience strategy and design firm based in San Francisco. He is an experienced information architect, writer, speaker and leader in the field of designing for user experience (UX). Peter is perhaps best known for his blog, published since 1998, where he writes about design, business, and technology. In fact, Peter was the person who coined the term ‘blog’ in the first place.


What Do CIOs Worry About? – Results of the 2007 SIM CIO Survey

For the last several years, the Society for Information Management (SIM) and Professor Jerry Luftman, Associate Dean of Graduate Information Systems Programs at Stevens Institute of Technology, have conducted a survey of CIOs.  The 2007 survey sponsored by SIM included IT executives from 112 companies across a range of industries.  Dr. Luftman administered and interpreted the results and presented the survey results at the 2007 SIMposium conference in Memphis, Tennessee on October 16, 2007.

In the 2007 SIM Survey press release, the highlights of the findings and insights were as follows:

  • Retaining IT professionals has surpassed IT-Business alignment as the No. 1 concern for IT executives, a major change from the 2006 Survey. Compared to the 2006 SIM Survey, the focus on IT-Business Alignment came in second.
  • The market for IT professionals is the fastest-growing in the US economy. More than 1 million new jobs are projected to be added between 2004 and 2014. Six of the 30 occupations projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to grow the fastest in this time period are IT related. IT job prospects are expected to be good as demand increases because of rapid advancement in technologies, new business opportunities for leveraging applications, and the number of baby boomers expected to retire.
  • But there may not be sufficient IT talent in the pipeline to meet this growing demand. The IT hiring downturn during the early part of this decade and the fear of offshore outsourcing have caused a drop in enrollment for computer science and information systems courses at many universities. In the past decade, the number of students majoring in computer science has dropped 40%. A report from UCLA’s higher-education research institute shows an even steeper decline of 70% between 2000 and 2005 of freshmen who planned to major in computer science.
  • The loss of IT skills and IT professionals will only accelerate the shift of IT jobs overseas. This inaccurate fear that IT jobs are going offshore has caused this shortage in the pipeline. If nothing is done to turn this trend around to meet the anticipated strong demand for IT workers in the United States, organizations will be forced to source their IT resources offshore. Additionally, there is a significant change in the type of skills required for IT professionals; with the softer (e.g., communication, marketing, negotiating, business, industry) skills clearly on the rise.

CIO|Insight also summarized the top 10 Things that CIOs Worry About from Dr. Luftman’s survey.  The % of CIOs who identified each concern are listed in parentheses next to each finding:

  1. Attract, develop and retain IT workers (51%)
  2. IT business alignment (42%)
  3. Build business skills in IT (40%)
  4. Reduce the cost of doing business (29%)
  5. Improve IT quality (28%)
  6. Security and privacy (27%)
  7. Manage change (26%)
  8. IT strategic planning (25%)
  9. Make better use of information (24%)
  10. Evolving CIO leadership role (19%)

The press release also mentioned that you could interview Professor Luftman and receive a copy of the report on the survey of information executives by contacting Patrick A. Berzinski at +1-201-216-5687 or pberzins@stevens.edu.

Are You A Design Thinker?

Are you taking advantage of design to generate strategic business differentiation?

I got turned onto the topic of design thinking from Cone Johnson – an iRise user who helped organize an event around design thinking in Dallas today.

So what is design thinking?

From the Design Thinking event site, they talk about design thinking as follows:

“Classic business models are threatened—the economics of competition have changed. Quality, efficiency and price are quickly matched. Being different requires flexibility—it’s squishy. Squishy seems to imply risk.

Such is the conundrum of the balance between science and art—a balance readily facilitated by Design Thinking, fundamentals for strategic business differentiation.”

At the Corante blog, Paula Thornton describes design thinking as “leveraging implicit elements of design practices, as a means to approach problem solving” and calls it a “critical factor for innovation”.   Paula also notes that “Good Design Thinking is the ability to see things not readily apparent to others (that’s where market differentiation can occur).”

The Noise Between Stations blog provides 6 building blocks of design thinking:

  • Collaborative, especially with others having different and complimentary experience, to generate better work and form agreement
  • Abductive, inventing new options to find new and better solutions to new problems
  • Experimental, building prototypes and posing hypotheses, testing them, and iterating this activity to find what works and what doesn’t work to manage risk
  • Personal, considering the unique context of each problem and the people involved
  • Integrative, perceiving an entire system and its linkages
  • Interpretive, devising how to frame the problem and judge the possible solutions

The net-net is that design is good – and that design can and should be leveraged to even greater heights by coupling it with business strategy to generate new innovations.  I’d love to hear comments about how others are using design to solve problems.

(For some additional background information, here are some del.icio.us links on design thinking provided by Cone.  This entry was originally posted in the Catalyze Current Wisdom blog.)

10/25 update – Here’s some more information I ran across this morning on Design Thinking from Bruce Nussbaum’s blog (NussbaumOnDesign) where he compares Design to Design Thinking.

30 Usability Issues

If you are a usability fan or just want to learn more about the key topics in usability, you need to check out the article on “30 Usability Issues To Be Aware Of” from Smashing Magazine.

The exhaustive list includes definitions for 30 usability issues, including my favorites — the Baby-Duck-Syndrome and the Zeigarnik Effect.

-7±2 Principle
-80/20 Rule (The Pareto principle)
-Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design
-Fitts’ Law
-Inverted Pyramid
-Cliffhanger-Effect (Zeigarnik-Effect)
-Gestalt principles of form perception
-The Self-Reference Effect
-Foveal viewport (Foveal area)
-Graceful Degradation (Fault-tolerance)
-Mystery-Meat Navigation (MMN)
-Physical consistency
-Progressive Enhancement (PE)
-User-centered design (UCD)
-Vigilance (sustained attention)
-Walk-Up-And-Use Design

iRise Fusion ‘07-Barry Libert and the Power of “We”

Barry Libert, CEO of Shared Insights, kicked off the final day of the Fusion User conference with a presentation titled “Putting the Power of ‘We’ into Your Career and Your Business”. All participants also received a copy of a new book called We Are Smarter Than Methat was just released last week. Barry was the lead editor on this new collaborative book about the power of we.

Before Barry could get started, 3 members from Stomp worked up and woke up the crowd with a couple minutes of vigorous drumming on buckets and other assorted implements.

Barry’s overall message is that building community works and emotive feelings are coming to business. For example, 36% of American adults use Wikipedia but nobody uses Encyclopedia Brittanica anymore, 85.9 million people blog, there are more podcasters than radio stations and more than 250 million pieces of tagged social media. There are now more than 35 million Facebookers and it is growing at more than 65,000 members per week.

Experts agree, WE is cool. Gartner says that community development is the single most critical success faction in the enterprise. Another analyst say that enterprise social software will be the biggest new workplace technology

Business are communitizing – why? Customers know better than companies what is important; customers are experts, they understand the products and their requirements; and customers are a crowd committed to your success.

Businesses are communitizing in many different areas, including customer service, market research, employee training, and product innovation.

We can Innovate
Example, Dell Idea Storm is outsourcing product innovation to their customers.

We can Service Ourselves
Example, user forums help others solve problems.

We can Sell Products
Example, eBay. More people make their business on eBay than work at Wall-Mart. The bottom line is that everyone who could be your customer could be your sales person

We can Finance You
Example, Prosper.com. We can ’show you the money’ all in the spirit of community transparency just like the old-fashioned ‘community’ bank by matching savers with borrowers.

We can Simulate Us
Example, Catalyze which is ‘Facebook’ for your business analysts and usability professionals. We are all a community of WE. Community will be important to insure the success of you, your group, your team, your boss and your company.

Leaders are becoming We Companies
Example, the Person of the year for Time Magazine last year was “us” or “we”. Community is not just true for kids, students – but for companies.

Did you know, we can Write a book too. For example, in writing the We Are Smarter Than Me book, there were more than 4500 contributors, 750 discussion forums, 100 bloggers and 50 podcasts.

Barry left us with 7 rules for We Success:

  1. think big, start small
  2. its not about the tools
  3. form a club of like-minded people
  4. communities require moderation (not self-service portals)
  5. give up control – communities don’t like it when you take control, if you abuse them even once, they will make their voices known
  6. don’t forget the content (content is king, queen and every other member of the royal content; content will include blogs, discussions, podcasts, resources and webcasts)
  7. good community takes time – community is built on relationships not on transactions

Welcome to the World of We – it’s happening faster than anyone imagined.

A PDF of his presentation can be found here.

[Barry Libert can also be contacted at blibert@sharedinsights.com or 1-781-995-4709.]

iRise Fusion ‘07-Be The Voice

David Spark, Spark Media SolutionsBe The Voice (sm) is the mantra of the new social media phenomena. David Spark, a pioneer in the social and newmedia space, spoke at the iRise Fusion Partner Conference today and here is a summary of his message.

David presented on how social media, new media and conversation are propelling thought leadership today.

David’s key points included:

  • Evangelize your brand through custom publishing
  • Distribute content through conversation
  • Fuel conversations with content
  • Be truthful or be exposed

David is a strong believer in Facebook and urged everyone to join Facebook today. Facebook is no longer for college students and the fastest growing segment is the over 35-year-old market.

He also encouraged everyone to become a participant and even better, to become a connector. Connectors bring together others and point them to better content.

Finally, he stressed the importance of providing your ‘consumers’ with plenty of options. Let the customer engage when and where they want to – and make it easy for them to choose their option that is convenient for them whether it be online or offline, video or podcast, etc. Customers don’t need more choice, they need more “TV Guides”.

National Mandate for Modeling and Simulation

Who can argue with these two phrases?

Whereas the United States of America is a great and prosperous Nation, and modeling and simulation contribute significantly to that greatness and prosperity

Whereas modeling and simulation in the United States is a unique application of computer science and mathematics that depends on the validity, verification, and reproducibility of the model or simulation, and depends also on the capability of the thousands of Americans in modeling and simulation careers to develop these models

This is an excerpt from legislation passed (H. Res. 487) by the U.S. House of Representatives in July that gives a national mandate to the modeling and simulation (M&S) field.

Specifically, the House voted to:

  • Commend those who have contributed to M&S field
  • Urge that science, technology, engineering and mathematics remain key disciplines for primary and secondary education
  • Encourage the expansion of M&S as a tool and subject within higher education
  • Recognize M&S as a National Critical Technology
  • Support the development and implementation of governmental classification codes for M&S occupations
  • Encourage the development and implementation of ways to protect the intellectual property of M&S enterprises

This legislation was championed by U.S. Representative J. Randy Forbes of Virginia and the resolution earned bipartisan support.  Forbes has also started the M&S Congressional Caucus which currently includes 23 Representatives.

While the scope of M&S as currently seen as a major component in the defense industry, modeling and simulation have also been responsible for developments in health care, homeland security, construction and transportation.  The specific examples of M&S cited in the legislation included weather forecasting, simulating national disasters, assessing stream simulations, medical simulation training, and accelerating the effectiveness of joint training simulations.

The M&S legislation is a definite step in the right direction for increasing the importance of software simulation.  iRise will be following up with Rep. Forbes and other in the M&S Caucus to ensure that iRise and software simulation are included in future discussions in the M&S caucus.  Since many M&S scenarios include building the right software the first time, using software prototypes or mock-ups or having easy-to-use interfaces, simulation with iRise should play an important part in this community.

Stay tuned here for future updates.

In the meantime, here are some additional links to pursue if you want to learn more about Modeling and Simulation: