Report from 2007 IxDA Board Retreat

30 Nov 2007 - 8:42pm
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Elizabeth Bacon

Hello IxDA members!

This message is to provide you with a report from the IxDA Board of
Directors’ annual retreat. The IxDA Board comprises: Robert Reimann,
President; Dave Malouf, Vice-President; Josh Seiden, Secretary; Greg
Petroff, Treasurer; Dan Saffer, Director; Niklas Wolkert, Director,
and yours truly, Elizabeth Bacon, Director. The Board met in
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on November 17-18, 2007. We
spent two full days in the conference room at the Executive Hotel in
Vintage Park.

Meeting for in-person discussion is an important annual event for the
IxDA Board, as we discuss strategic issues and formulate tactical
plans for the coming year. We especially want to thank those members
who responded to our recent survey as your input was reviewed in
detail. (And we want to apologize again for the poor survey design --
we promise to do better in the future!)

Here is an overview of the Board’s key discussions and intentions
for IxDA:

1. Local Groups
a) Local Groups are a very important focus area for IxDA. To better
support Local Group leaders, we will be organizing a working group to
help address various needs that have been identified.
Presently operating in many cities, Local Groups face certain
challenges that the Board can facilitate and certain challenges that
the Board cannot. We remain committed to seeing every Local Group be
a success -- whether such success consists of several people
gathering occasionally for pints of beer, or hundreds of people
gathering for organized events.
b) We also want to recognize that while Local Groups are an important
component of the IxDA community, some members live in places that do
not have Local Groups. This is especially true of our sometimes far-
flung international constituency. We will continue to foster Local
Groups, and yet continue to serve the global community through
various improvements envisioned for our IT infrastructure.
c) When it comes to our IT infrastructure, we have done absolutely
all we can with the technology systems that we now employ. We’ll be
assessing how to proceed with implementing various Local Groups tools
and other ideas in the coming year. One big question is, build or buy?

2. Electronic Community of Practice
a) The Electronic Community of Practice is a way to envision the
current IxDA constituency: we are all engaged in a process of social
learning around our common interest in IxD, becoming a group of
people who are collaborating and developing a stable community.
b) Going forward, CoP efforts aim to:
- make the inherent value of members’ discussion more accessible
- enable new forms of content creation
- create social graphs of IxDA members to reveal people's affinities
- give voice to Local Groups
c) The new website-based Discussion tools, which include an RSS feed,
are an expression of IxDA’s investment in CoP tools. We are
analyzing even this technology and realize that as the list grows, it
may not fit the needs or modes of communication of all who subscribe
to it. The website releases people from a burden on their inbox, but
we recognize that more needs to be done to nurture the amazing
resource that is this group’s communications.
d) So, more initiatives will be investigated and hopefully launched
throughout 2008 to support CoP goals.

3. Membership
a) IxDA will remain an open organization that does not require
payment for membership. So, we will continue to function as a member-
supported organization that occasionally conducts fund-raising events.
b) This means if you are part of the IxD Discussion and feel that you
are an IxDA member, then you are!

4. Conference planning
a) The conference planning is proceeding apace. We appreciate all the
volunteers who’ve stepped forward. Many details remain to accomplish
before the big event.
b) We’re thrilled about our program, and are excited to provide ways
for our entire membership to participate in the conference
experience. Spread the word, and see you in Savannah!

5. Financials
a) The organization is healthy. The Board voted for the retreat costs
to be paid by the organization this year. For the first time in 2007,
we will need to file taxes.
b) The Interactions 08 conference is hopefully going to bring in
revenue for the organization, and is intended to be an annual event.
This source of income should help us achieve various key initiatives
that will require technology support, as well as continue to grow and
enrich our in-person community; it will also help streamline our
b) An IxDA job board is a likely additional source of revenue that we
will explore in 2008.

6. Governance and operations
a) IxDA will be seeking new candidates for the Board of Directors
from our membership, so please stay tuned for further communications
on this front. Currently operating with 7 members, we want to expand
back to 9. The Board operates with staggered two-year terms, so in
this next election cycle 5 board seats will be open.
b) We feel that the IxDA brand could benefit from better stewardship,
especially in terms of facilitating Local Group creation, consistency
and persistence. We will be prioritizing various internal marketing/
PR needs in the coming months.

7. Volunteers
a) Everything that we do is volunteer-driven (although the Board has
occasionally hired professionals to provide services that we were
unable to obtain pro bono.) Many of our best qualities as an
organization were initiatives driven by volunteers -- from every
Local Group to the new website. We aren’t bureaucratic in our
volunteership. In fact, we’ve been pretty disorganized, and
initiatives often have been driven by passionate individuals.
b) We’re revamping our volunteer coordination process, and generally
aiming to make better use of member resources on existing & new
projects. If you’ve previously volunteered for IxDA but your
services were not used, we hope you are not put off from volunteering
again someday!

8. Education
a) The Board is interested in reaching out to educational
institutions to help them match the training of interaction designers
to the needs of the marketplace for both corporate and agency
employers. We know that there are a lot of steps necessary to create
an educational system for IxD that works for both groups. While we
acknowledge the relevance of this topic, we are not currently ready
to take on this large and important task. We hope by the next annual
conference to create a forum where IxDA can facilitate dialog between
those institutions training interaction designers and those employing
them. If you are interested in this topic, please contact the Board.

The Board welcomes your input on any of the issues discussed in this
message! Feel free to post publicly, or write me personally and I’ll
initiate a conversation with the rest of the Board.

Finally, I’d like to end on an appropriately “rah rah!” note.
The IxDA Board is excited to be steering this great organization, and
we hope to continue to do good things. As always, fresh energy, ideas
and volunteer efforts are welcome at every level. After’s
all about you!

Best regards,

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