Thoughts By Thought Leaders bridges the digital divide between the web and business communities. Here you’ll find case studies, ideas and experiences that have helped organizations realize real business value in adopting or implementing advanced web practices in #UX, #IA, #CS and #WW.
- Angie Nikoleychuk
- Austin Govella
- Brad Nunnally
- Clinton Forry
- Jamie Gerrard
- Jeff Parks
- Jill Christ
- Kate Wilhelm
- Kris Mausser
- Laura Creekmore
- Laura Hampton
- Mario Bourque
- Michael Carvin
- Nadine Tomlinson
- Olga Howard
- Ricardo Fleck
- Roger Davis
- Sally Bagshaw
- Werner Puchert
In 1968 Peter Drucker wrote a book with an elegant title, The Age of Discontinuity. In this book he identified four main topics which he believed would exert a profound influence on the shape of our world:
- the explosion of new technology, that could be expected to result in major new industries emerging and older ones disappearing.
- the change which he saw taking place from an “international” economy to a “world” economy.
- the need which he saw for organizations of all kinds to learn new responses to the rising pressures imposed on them by society as a whole, and by individuals – whether those inside them or those outside them.
- the emerging “knowledge society” and “knowledge economy” and their implications on all of us.
How right he was! And how ill-prepared most of us were …and most businesses and governments still are to this day.
As I look back over the last 2 decades, the pace and scope of change is breath-taking. Businesses and governments today face a dramatically new and different environment.
- Low rates of growth in demand and in income, at home and overseas
- Under-employment of resources
- Major fluctuations in the value of our dollar, and of other currencies against each other, bringing radical shifts in competitive advantage.
- Old markets, old customers, and old suppliers changing and often disappearing
- New technology to master, in every job.
- New knowledge to acquire, in every job.
- New public and social demands.
- New and changing expectations from within organizations as new values, new faces and new skills replace old
As Clifford Stoll, author of High-Tech Heretic: Reflections of a Computer Contrarian, Silicon Snake Oil, and The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage has noted:
Data is not information. Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not understanding. Understanding is not wisdom.
To address these new realities we must take the time to stop and think. We need to question for clarity with our peers and especially with those for whom we are designing. We need to take the time to learn from a variety of cultures, values, and ideals the world over.
There is no top 10 list that will resolve an organizations’ fundamental issue with staff or clients. There is no application that you can download or purchase that will make you millions of dollars.
I believe the essence of the UX discipline has the potential to push beyond the usual conversations of the tools and methodologies we hear about everyday. This is possible if we take the time to think about the variety of values, ideals, and insights of others whose culture and experiences differ greatly from our own.
The average person cares little about technology so long as it works and becomes a ubiquitous part of their everyday lives.
I believe that collectively there is nothing we cannot accomplish so long as we don’t make such findings about any one individual, process, or company. Our problems are global. Our solutions must take these realities into account for the benefit of all.
If only we stop to think.
If only we take the time to question the experts and to consistently look to others outside our discipline for inspiration and new ideas.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Parks is the co-founder of DIGIA UX Inc., an information architecture, user experience, and content strategy consultancy in Ottawa and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Information Architecture Institute. Jeff has lead conversations with thought leaders in design from around the world in the fields of Information Architecture, User Experience, Interaction Design, and Human Factors for Boxes and Arrows and Johnny Holland. In addition, he was the closing keynote at the 2012 Polish IA Summit and continues to guest lecture at colleges and Universities across Canada and around the world.