Inspirational, persuasive speaker recommendations?

8 Mar 2010 - 6:13am
4 years ago
11 replies
1352 reads
Chris Collingridge
2007

My organisation is giving some time to thinking about how we develop attitudes towards UCD, usability and a user experience focus within the company. While we're doing lots of stuff at "ground-level" and there  is lots of executive support, we're looking to reach out to the many developers, testers, analysts and managers involved in software development.

One of the things we're thinking of is getting an inspriational speaker in from outside, who can really persuade and motivate our people - perhaps reinforcing the belief in UCD and a design-focus for those who have it, and giving those who are not so convinced some pause for thought and reconsideration.

So, I was wondering whether anyone had any recommendations for a speaker who they have found inspirational motivational, or who they have seen achieve this speaking to a largely technical audience?  All input gratefully received!

Thanks,
Chris.

Comments

8 Mar 2010 - 7:04am
Dimiter Simov
2006
8 Mar 2010 - 7:31am
Neil Suffield
2008

We worked with Gerry McGovern some years ago when I was with the Environment Agency. Very good. Entertaining. Experienced. He's based in Ireland so within easy striking distance of the UK.

8 Mar 2010 - 9:19am
Ant Davey
2009

Caroline Jarrett at Effortmark is good, and has done excellent work with the Open University, among others.

http://www.effortmark.co.uk/

9 Mar 2010 - 10:39am
Chris Collingridge
2007

Thanks very much to everyone who replied. For interest, I also received some (off-list) recommendations for:

 

Cheers,

Chris.

9 Mar 2010 - 2:54pm
Dana Chisnell
2008

I can't believe no one has suggested Jared Spool for this.

10 Mar 2010 - 10:04am
Jared M. Spool
2003

Thanks Dana! That's very nice.

Chris, I'm curious about those who are "not so convinced". Can you say more about where their resistance is coming from?

In my experience, if someone isn't convinced, bringing in an outside presenter, no matter how inspirational, is likely to change their thinking and (more importantly) their behaviors to start taking a design-focus seriously. Until you address the source of the resistance head on, I'm thinking you may not see any change.

Jared

15 Mar 2010 - 4:51am
Chris Collingridge
2007

Hi Jared,

Thanks for your response. The challenge we have (or think we have) is not that people are obstructive to the idea of making great software, not at all - all of our people are very much committed to that - but more that there are a range of views about the best way to do that, and what makes it "best".

So what we're hoping to achieve is that perhaps some of the people who currently have a mainly technical perspective, or a mainly feature-centric perspective, would be inspired to give consideration to other ways of looking at the problem to achieve "best" - mainly a user-centric perspective. I should say that this is not a one-off activity, or expected to stand alone by itself, but very much an ongoing exercise - as I'm sure it is with many organisations.

Thanks,

Chris.

15 Mar 2010 - 10:42am
Chris Nodder
2010

From what you say, it looks like this is not necessarily about motivation as much as direction/perspective. The team is already motivated to produce good software, but you feel that they would benefit from having a broader tool set that includes user-centric techniques. I typically find that in this situation it helps to give team members a set of usability/UX concepts to work with and to ensure they always speak from user data.

Speaking from data does two things - it removes the arguments that arise from the "my idea is better than your idea" frame of mind, and it ensures that the team comes to YOU for that data ('cause you're the user data person).

As for what concepts to teach, I like to go for things which have an element of common sense but also give a good grounding in design mentality - check out the apps class I give for details (http://www.nodder.com/user-centered-applications/).

Finally I'd say that although having a charismatic or motivational speaker come in may get people fired up, longer term it's your job to keep them moving down the right path. I would seriously suggest giving the class yourself if you feel sufficiently confident and if you can keep it light/upbeat. If not, I'm available ;-)

Chris

15 Mar 2010 - 12:10pm
stephengay
2010

I just attended Peter Phillips seminar, "Creating the Perfect Design Brief". 

http://www.dmi.org/dmi/html/education/seminars/cgdb_bio.htm

18 Mar 2010 - 7:14pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Speaking from data vs. speaking from narrative. Which one gets the job done.
My experience is actually that stories are for more, long term effective than data. Data might get "the job" done now, but usually can't be maintained for the long haul. Creating a rhetorical framework around a narrative that is evangelized truly moves an organization forward in directions that numbers only does bit by bit. 

Of course, what is best is when data is embedded into the narrative itself. I think Jared's recent talks on Amazon have been fantastic at demonstrating this combination. 

Much has been done w/ designers sticking to narrative though. It is what has sustained designers for oh a good century or so, so I wouldn't dismiss its effectiveness too quickly. Amazing stories that can re-frame an entire cultural rhetoric are so effective. Hard to do, but amazingly effective. It is a skill that few are taught (even in design school, explicitly that is) but is at the foundational core of how criticism (not evaluation) is structured.

-- dave

26 Mar 2010 - 2:50pm
Ant Davey
2009

Caroline Jarrett at Effortmark is good, and has done some excellent work with the Open University, among others.

 

On 08 March 2010 at 13:39 Chris Collingridge &lt;contact@ixda.org&gt; wrote:<br /> <br /> &gt; My organisation is giving some time to thinking about how we develop&#160;<br /> &gt; attitudes towards UCD, usability and a user experience focus within the&#160;<br /> &gt; company. While we&#39;re doing lots of stuff at &quot;ground-level&quot; and there&#160; is&#160;<br /> &gt; lots of executive support, we&#39;re looking to reach out to the many developers,&#160;<br /> &gt; testers, analysts and managers involved in software development.<br /> &gt;<br /> &gt; One of the things we&#39;re thinking of is getting an inspriational speaker in&#160;<br /> &gt; from outside, who can really persuade and motivate our people - perhaps&#160;<br /> &gt; reinforcing the belief in UCD and a design-focus for those who have it, and&#160;<br /> &gt; giving those who are not so convinced some pause for thought and&#160;<br /> &gt; reconsideration.<br /> &gt;<br /> &gt; So, I was wondering whether anyone had any recommendations for a speaker who&#160;<br /> &gt; they have found inspirational motivational, or who they have seen achieve&#160;<br /> &gt; this speaking to a largely technical audience?&#160; All input gratefully&#160;<br /> &gt; received!<br /> &gt;<br /> &gt; Thanks,Chris.<br /> &gt;<br /> &gt;
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