Wherefore design

28 Aug 2007 - 9:45am
496 reads
Mark Schraad

When I was on the consulting side of design, we were always looking for a way to put ourselves further up the food chain. We often felt that to many critical decisions were made prior to our involvement. For us, research was the solution, moving us into the picture earlier. It also provided us with all of the tactical benefits of the research.

This kind of feels like what developers were trying to do with agile. When agile became more than a passing curiosity, we realized that the iterations that are core to all agile, were very familiar. Every good designer I have ever known works iteratively. Over and over I have conversations with designers who just don't get agile... until they realize they have been doing it to some extent all along.

There is a great quote in 'Dreaming in Code' that (and I am paraphrasing), finely defined process for (fill in the function... design, development, etc) is better for selling books than re-engineering a culture. The repeated failings of six sigma and TQM before it, are the results of applyng a process to an inappropriate culture. In my experience, that sort of change is very difficult. The best processes are those that occur systemically. To apply that sort of change from external sources either takes a long time, or you burn the town down and start from scratch. Both are painful. Too many managers are reading process and success books and applying them lock stock and barrel with inadequate data and poor cultural integration.

These same principles will apply when trying to inject design into the corporate dna.


On Tuesday, August 28, 2007, at 10:07AM, "David Malouf" <dave at ixda.org> wrote:

>I find that whenever "agile" comes up it means that an organization
>hasn't really put design into their DNA. When I say design, I mean it
>in the "design thinking" ways that are as much strategic as they are
>tactical. While design "research" is always an option, most seemed
>to have agreed on this list that it is a necessity towards making
>better and differentiated products.

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