Listen to me speak

At the very end of the VizThink Conference in January, I sat down with Jeff Parks from Boxes and Arrows who organized a podcast with myself, Christopher Fuller, Rebecca and Ken Hope and Noah Illinsky to talk about the conference, mental models, Interaction Design and lots more!

Check it out here.

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4 responses to “Listen to me speak

  1. Daniel,
    Listened to your interview, and loved the point about the need to get diverse people in the room to drive innovation. You are so right about how often the group in the room is similar in some profound ways that affect how they will approach a problem.

    What kind of tools/processes do you offer people to help them include/embrace the differences?

  2. There are a few different ways to approach an issue like this. The first thing I do is confirm that it’s in fact the best thing to do. Sometimes a group has an issue that has a fairly specific focus and isn’t too complex. In that case I wouldn’t push for something too radical.

    If we’re going to push some boundaries, I might have groups engage with some reading material about some diverse topics and then transfer that new knowledge to the problem at hand. For example, have a group learn about coral reef eco-systems and then have them design an IT architecture based on the principles they uncover.

    Another way to create some new insights is to force-combine models. You can have people articulate their individual points of view about a topic and then do an exercise where they have to combine the two models into one. If you have a sales person working with an engineer, this type of exercise will begin to bridge the gap between their different experiences. By carefully designing who works with whom, there’s a high liklihood that novel ideas will emerge!

    I hope that helps and I look forward to keeping the conversation going.

  3. What tools do you use to help an engineer and a sales person actually communicate? I agree that a force-combine generates amazing creativity, if they can get beyond the communication styles differences (stereotypically linear/sequential vs a more people oriented conversational style.)

  4. The “tool”, if you will, is to get the engineer and sales person to work together on a portion of the overall challenge and to let them bridge the gaps in their knowledge/experience by creating something together.

    For example, if the overall challenge is a new product launch, I would have a sales person and engineer design the ordering process together. The co-creation exercise will cause assumptions/perspectives/viewpoints from the different parties to emerge. The sales person will appreciate why it takes 3 days to fulfill an order (system complexity) and the engineer will begin to appreciate the pressures that the sales team has in order to meet their targets.

    The key is that this type of exercise is driving towards something that is of value to the business (ie. a new product introduction).

    I will also use some Appreciative Inquiry types of exercises and pair people up accordingly. Or I might ask participants to engage in a conversation that discusses the type of awards that are held in high regard by a particular industry. For example, if a marketer tells an engineer what it takes to win a Clio award and an engineer tells a marketer what it takes to win an award from the IEEE, the two people will start to learn what motivates them in their day to day work.

    So much to talk about on this subject!

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