Why does IxDA exist?
Why does IxDA exist?
This was the question the IxDA Board of Directors began with as we gathered this past weekend for our annual retreat. It was an important place to start for two reasons: Clarification of what we are, and even more importantly what we are not; and reminding ourselves why we are a part of IxDA.
1. Clarification of what we are, and even more importantly what we are not
IxDA exists to advance the discipline of Interaction Design. To achieve that, IxDA provides platforms on which the global community can gather locally (Local Groups), as a global group (Conferences), and always virtually (IxDA.org). We believe that it is the community, and not the organization, that defines the discipline and practice by coming together in the spirit of creating dialogue, sharing resources & insights, and debating approach. It is the job of the organization to surface that definition as a starting point for all that approach IxDA.
This is not to say that we take a hands-off approach in advancing the discipline. For those of us who dedicate time and energy to leading and participating with the organization, we have a great responsibility to take advantage of the platforms fully, using them to catalyze the community to discuss important topics and to provide supporting initiatives & opportunities in service of the mission.
The reaffirmation of IxDA's mission and our focus became a compass for how we as a Board and as an organization need to be spending our limited set of time, energy and funds.
2. Reminder of why we choose to be a part of IxDA
The Board is made up of nine individuals from the community (meet us here: http://bit.ly/cknbDK), all passionate about interaction design, IxDA and what it can provide to the greater community. That said, it's easy to get caught up in the logistics and mechanics of running an organization, particularly one that has experienced such amazing growth in interest. We do what we do because we believe our efforts create an environment of personal and professional growth for community members. We feel we have found a professional home.
We don't do this alone. You are part of this, whether you participate actively or passively. It's in the efforts of the local leaders who create moments for their local communities to gather all over the world, conference organizers who work tirelessly to create a momentous event, volunteers that support the organization to keep it running, and individuals who exchange ideas either in person or virtually. Together we do this. Without your participation the organization is simply a shell.
Curious about specific outcomes of the retreat? Read on:
Local groups, led by Amyris Fernandez and Kevin Silver, have experienced both growth and maturity over the year. Many of our groups are into the second year of existence (some even more), and there is great interest in starting new groups around the world. Take a look at where we're located so far: http://bit.ly/aS3bOm. We now have regional coordinators to act as a direct liaison with groups - Santiago Bustelo in Central and South America, Tonia Bartz in North America, Dirc-Robert Wortley in Europe and Sudhindra V in Asia. Our Local Leaders are our lifeline on the ground, and we are so thankful for all they do for their local communities and the organization.
Interaction11, chaired by Jon Kolko and MJ Broadbent, experienced an amazing response to their call for participation. Thank you to all who submitted lightening round sessions, workshops and activity ideas. The complete program will be announced at the beginning of October. Registration is open now, with early bird pricing ending November 1st. http://bit.ly/bQxGjQ. Thanks to the tireless effort of the entire conference organizing team and our partners at Boulder Digital Works. Boulder, where we held our retreat, is an amazingly beautiful setting.
Interaction12, chaired by Steve Baty, will be the first Interaction conference that utilized an open call for location nominations with strong local group and university support. Thanks again to Berlin, Delft, Dublin, Helsinki, and Paris for your nominations. The conference committee is undertaking the difficult process of selecting the location.
Jon and Steve are working on a set of guidelines that we will be able to use each year, creating a set of guidelines that help ensure each conference feeds into IxDA's mission. We will always be planning for two years ahead, and at every conference you should expect to meet our conference chair for two years out as well as learn more details about the following year's event.
We have experienced tremendous growth in the past year, much of which we simply were not prepared for. To address the growth, we pushed out a new IxDA.org site to meet growing needs. From this experience, we realize we did so in haste and in turn may have created more challenges for some of you in engaging with the community. We don't take this lightly.
We believe we need to rethink how IxDA.org is utilized. Our reliance on email in its current state as the main interaction is problematic. We haven't tapped into the potential of the resource library outside of our conference videos. We are looking to pilot a site-based interaction approach with new members, and are starting to investigate different models of use.
In the meantime, some small but mighty changes were made to improve the site during the retreat, thanks to Kevin Silver, Matt Nish-Lapidus and Jon Kolko getting their hands dirty in the code:
- Updated email digest format to be more readable
- Added a log-in button
- Updated the homepage to include more content (highlighted content for new members, and top videos from the resources section)
- Improved discussion subscription/unsubscribe process
- Subscription process improved for local groups
- Added a short-cut to access the local groups you're involved with
- New users are no longer automatically subscribed to email
- Drafted and now evaluating a new terms of service for the site
This is just the beginning. There are many things on our priority list, but many require more extensive time and potentially funds.
Participation in initiatives by the community sustain IxDA far more readily than funding does. There really is no lack of interest in helping from the community; the challenge comes from breaking down the work into bits that volunteers can readily take on and matching people to the right areas of interest. To that end, Kendra Shimmell, Nick Gould and Steve Baty tackled this interesting challenge, taking the view that this is not just about logistics but about motivation, engagement, and feeling a part of the organization's mission. Nick will be taking the lead on this, and we hope to see great improvement in engaging those of you who so readily want to participate.
Our mentorship program has had incredible interest but organizationally we have been unable to support it well. We are working with the IAI to understand how they manage their mentorship program, and investigating other ways to instigate mentorship. Several people have shown interest in supporting this initiative, and we simply need to determine how to best use their energies as we're moving forward.
We have had wonderful conversations with organizations such as IAI, ACM-CHI, STC, AIGA, Icograda, and UPA over the past six months. There are many opportunities for us to come together to strengthen our shared goals, and we will share more as those come to life.
We do not charge membership dues to be a part of IxDA. There is no barrier to entry in using our core platform at IxDA.org. We believe that must be maintained. That said, supporting our platforms and the organization's needs (legal and structural) often take more than effort and time. They simply take money. Our annual conference often gives us some funds to work with, but mainly feeds back into the next conference cycles. We spent time coming up with ways we could create a steady stream of revenue to host, maintain and grow IxDA.org; how we can pay for legal and accounting support; and how we can create more funding for supporting our initiatives. Some short- and long-term approaches are in the works and you will be hearing more about those in the coming weeks.
Special thanks to Kendra Shimmell, our treasurer and Nick Gould, our secretary for all of their hard work in ensuring we are a fiscally responsible organization and have the processes and support in place to support our growth moving forward.
We welcome your response and questions, as well as ideas for how we can further meet our mission. Feel free to respond here or to me directly (janna.devylder @ ixda.org).