Re: Designer mobility to management (was ixd curriculum)

17 Sep 2004 - 2:52pm
10 years ago
5 replies
714 reads
Doug Anderson
2004

Hi Prady,

Interesting post. I wonder whether a correlation between variables is being mistaken for a causal relationship between them?

For the sake of discussion, let's take as true your perception about the negative correlation between design education and movement into management. A design education background is not likely a cause for comparatively low rates of migration into management (not likely to "handicap" one). Rather an inclination toward design combined with a complementary disinclination toward management is likely the cause of both the pursuit of design education and a comparative disinclination toward management.

I wonder about your characterization of movement from hands-on design toward management as moving "higher". That presupposes a vertical continuum with management arbitrarily higher than design - an organization-hierarchy continuum. As one with graduate education in business administration and more than a dozen years of technology-related management experience, I am now, and prefer to be, a hands-on designer. On my satisfaction hierarchy, I've moved higher by getting out of management. ;>)

Just a thought...
Doug Anderson
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, MN

Original message:
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2004 12:17:25 -0400
From: Prady Rai <pradyotrai at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] ixd curriculum
To: g_petroff at yahoo.com
Cc: discuss at ixdg.org

<snip>

I have discussed it with few folks, my collegues, friends (ID/IA/UX)
and member of this list. And somehow everyone finds themself in a hole
after sometime. After Sr. Analyst/Sr. Designer level it requires
something else to go to *manager* or *director* level.

Here's my question -- Has anybody seen any study which explains which
class of Designers/IA/UX goes higher in this profession? Any
statistics? Or your personal experience/opinions? The term *class* I
use to explain background of people in the profession, namely (but not
limited to), Visual Communication, Interaction Design, Industrial
design, Library Sciences, Psychology, Human Factor, etc.

In my close nit survey (amoung friends and the company they work for),
I have came to the conclusion that folks with less *Design* education
goes farther than those with more emphasis on *design* education.
Technical Writing, Psychology, Library Sciences runs higher in my
list. IMHO, they somehow understand better how to manage &
communicate. Is there something that the curicculam should acquire
more from Human Skills? In another observation, I found that people
with hands on Design skills gets more emotional, likes to work in
isolation... Can there be any education which can teach leadership,
teamwork, motivation, decision making, politics, salesmanship?

I am not sure, if the sample data I am relying for my conclusion is
worth much analysis. But what I want to open for debate is -- Emphasis
on more Human skills, Communication, understanding leadership,
Motivations, teamwork, politics of Design, Art of selling &
marketing... all the nuances of Organizational Behaviour (besides
basics of *Design*).

I know this is sort of less warm topic and Listera isn't interested. :)

Regards,

Pradyot Rai

Comments

17 Sep 2004 - 10:49pm
Pradyot Rai
2004

Hi Doug,

This is my bad. Actually David Heller posted a response (somewhat
similar to you) to my mail. I replied to him, but forgot to press
"reply All". (Blame it on Google. Oh no! I take my words back :)

I am pasting my reply again here, so that it is included in the
context. I will try to touch base with your topic soon. I think some
of the issues that you posted are explained. By the way, if you want
to take a pick on issues that I mentioned, that will be good too, to
discuss.

I am extremely sorry. I have just 6 hours before I catch the 7:00
clock Metro Train.

Prady

---------------------------- Here's what I wrote
-------------------------------------------------------

Thanks Dave for your comments. I couldn't find anything where I can
add or differ with you. You did a great job simplifying things for me.
I will narrow down the issue that I was trying to raise.

I have my own experience to say that Designers/IA/UX have played very
important role. We are doing what MBA profession was used to do most
of the time. User research, market survey, field studies, usability or
thinking about product innovation, setting up design/usability
goals... all of these overlapped with MBA's job profiles. Designers
have created a place in Product management, Marketing, Requirement
Management, Development/Engineering and are playing liaison, which
wasn't given to designers 10 years back. This opportunity should be
explored with some innovation in design education.

Somehow, I have gathered that we do not get enough credit for all our
contributions. I attribute this to lack of overall education, which I
refer as human education. As I mentioned, leadership, decision making,
management of work/people, salesmanship, etc. should be part of
curriculum. At least to a very basic level.

I have noticed organizations are taking a very good use of
Designers/IAs/UX as CONSULTANTS, but not giving them enough space in
the management decisions. Now, I give one example of Apple and Steve
Jobs. He is a Designer in my opinion. He runs the company unlike MBAs.
I know that he does not belong to any formal educational background,
but he is my yardstick for this design curriculum to produce. I don't
think that is difficult. There should at least be one college with
focus on this sort of training.

How can this be done, by my theory, is -- take Design theory, add
subjects of Organizational Behavior, add some
Marketing/sales/operations theory, put it in a glass jar and shake it
well. Pour it in the classroom for two years and you have a crop that
will be kick ass : )

If you follow the recipe, you may see couple of more Designer CEOs in
fortune 100, in next couple of decades : )

In my career, I have realized that we have won the war with
engineers/developers. There is a value already created for Designers
there. The new challenge is from those who are blocking Designers from
entering into management. Seems like a war-mongers theory, right :)

Now I may be sounding as if I have agenda against MBAs and want to
base just our education to counter it. But that is not the case. I
have found that most of the general subjects (other than their
specializations) that MBAs have, if been exposed to Designers, will
help Designers far more than what it does to MBAs. And I say this
because, I started attending part time business school this fall
(Sorry for the self promotion). I find that the curriculum is very
useful for my profession, and if I was exposed to it earlier, I would
have done much better job. Things like qualitative and Quantitative
analysis, Organizational Behaviors, Marketing, Design Management are
much imbedded in MBA curriculum than in Design. That makes the
difference -- when a Designer speaks he sounds "emotional" against
when an MBA speaks, which sounds Logical, Clear and Planned. Now,
don't hit me in my belly for this one. I am simply reporting the
perceptions. I am still a Designer, highly inflammable, very-very
fragile :)

I will conclude --
I am not suggesting to MBA-ish design education. I am also not
suggesting how much & what exactly one should add. I am saying create
curriculum to target different things. Like, Columbia is good for
Finance, Sloan is good for Leadership, Wharton is for OR, Kellogg is
for Marketing,... Create some verticals in design education, which is
catered to the ambitions I just presented. Target applicants
accordingly. I know there are plenty of folks like me, who needed this
at some time in their career.

Have a nice weekend.

Prady

18 Sep 2004 - 10:00pm
Pradyot Rai
2004

Anderson, Douglas W. <anderson.douglas at mayo.edu> wrote:
> Interesting post. I wonder whether a correlation between variables is
> being mistaken for a causal relationship between them?

My apologies for the delay. You disturbed my sleeping pattern :)

I have found that management sciences have some pattern very common to
Design education. And if there is even a probability of 0.05 to this
resemblance (and I am not greedy), we should give it a serious
examination. Both these streams apply their expertise in gathering
data, making assumptions, analysis, and selling it to, well, whoever!
Both these areas can be challenged as not-science, not-art.

Now this is very subjective issue. Somebody can do the same with
bringing inferences from lawn mowing and propose that lawn mowing be
considered for Interaction Design. So if you are questioning my
premise and assumptions, sure, you are right on the target. Let
audience be the judge.

> For the sake of discussion, let's take as true your perception about the
> negative correlation between design education and movement into
> management. A design education background is not likely a cause for
> comparatively low rates of migration into management (not likely to "handicap"
> one).

I think it can. I have a close witness, where designers/developers job
in a company is defined as "non-core" and is going offshore. Believe
me.

I would request if you bring in some data/rationale to back your premise.
-- How much an individual designer/IA/UX makes?
-- What are their compensation structures?
-- How many draw "bonuses" for their efforts?
-- How many have their share in what Management decides?
-- How many Design Directors are in industry those who have done
design in their life (ignoring their wisdom of common sense)?

I am interested in comparative/competitive study. And I am aiming
*affluence* with directly related to *success*. I don't want to die
and let my work be appreciated in the next century.

All that I have witnessed is that Design Consulting died much before
taking off. Sapient (and their look-a-likes) had to change their
modal, and take refuge in India. But there are evidences that
Technology and Management consulting still makes what they used to.

Please don't confuse my statements with individual cases. I know
personally few Designers make more hourly rates than some of the
average of Mckensey(s) and Booze Allen Hamilton(s). I call them
"outliers", in statistical term. The point is about pushing the whole
Designer profession to grab new challenges and snatch some of them
from parallel professions. I am talking about aiming this design
curriculum to target those who fall under 25 to 75 percentile. Because
they are the targeted masses for my proposal.

> Rather an inclination toward design combined with a complementary
> disinclination toward management is likely the cause of both the pursuit of
> design education and a comparative disinclination toward management.

Very true, only for exceptional cases. You can remain designer and be
consulted by management (my "outlier"). For that matter, I pursue
Jonathan Ivy as my role modal. I claim persona of Steve Jobs an ideal
*designer*. But how many of those are there? -- That is another
pyramid, if you want to climb.

> I wonder about your characterization of movement from
> hands-on design toward management as moving "higher".
> That presupposes a vertical continuum with management
> arbitrarily higher than design - an organization-hierarchy
> continuum. As one with graduate education in business
> administration and more than a dozen years of
> technology-related management experience, I am now, and
> prefer to be, a hands-on designer. On my satisfaction hierarchy,
> I've moved higher by getting out of management. ;>)

I will take back my word "higher" from the context. Accept my
apologies. It does sound demeaning to personal satisfaction hierarchy.
I completely agree.

But Doug, you are "outlier" case for the argument I am making. Let
say, I have to pick 20 samples (designers/IA/UX) form this list and
ask questions to furnish stats for this case, your profile will be
represented with very-high-degree-of *variance*. Please take it as an
accolade :)

It is not about individuals (specifically with outliers :). And it is
very qualitative, and generalized.

I know! I know! Listera's famous remark – "generalizations are mostly
inaccurate".

Keep this argument targeted -- Should there be an emphasis on overall
*human education*, or rich with Design masaala?

Back to you,

Prady

19 Sep 2004 - 12:54am
Jef Raskin
2004

> And if there is even a probability of 0.05 to this
> resemblance (and I am not greedy), we should give it a serious
> examination.

I have ascertained that over 98.2% of convicted criminals have eaten
hamburgers prior to their criminal careers. The figure for interface
designers is 96.5%, due to the relatively high prevalence of
vegetarians. However, it is clear that the closeness of those two
figures is not due to chance, and therefore the probability that an
interface designer is a criminal is 0.948, and that this is caused by
consuming hamburgers at an early age. Television watching and smoking
pot do equally well as predictors of antisocial behavior. Therefore
eliminating interface designers will lower the cost to society of
maintaining prisons.

19 Sep 2004 - 8:49am
Pradyot Rai
2004

> I have ascertained that over 98.2% of convicted criminals have eaten
> hamburgers prior to their criminal careers. The figure for interface
> designers is 96.5%, due to the relatively high prevalence of
> vegetarians. However, it is clear that the closeness of those two
> figures is not due to chance, and therefore the probability that an
> interface designer is a criminal is 0.948, and that this is caused by
> consuming hamburgers at an early age. Television watching and smoking
> pot do equally well as predictors of antisocial behavior. Therefore
> eliminating interface designers will lower the cost to society of
> maintaining prisons.

I needed Jef's advice, really bad.
Jef your advice was really bad :p

Theres another one, most popular -- "GOD IS LOVE. LOVE IS BLIND.Stevie
Wonder is Blind. therefore, Stevie Wonder is God. "

Jef, there's bunch of them here -- http://www.fortogden.com/foslog.html

Prady

19 Sep 2004 - 9:01am
Pradyot Rai
2004

> > ...that over 98.2% of convicted criminals ....
>> ...and therefore the probability that an
> > designers is 96.5%,... probability that an
> > interface designer is a criminal is 0.948,...

Weren't you drinking the whole night?
How did you calculate probability?

:p

Syndicate content Get the feed