My various jobs have taken me to a lot of cool places. LivePlanet sent me to Sundance for three days. Razorfish sent me to Las Vegas two nights. 23andMe, sent me to the skies, for a slow ride 1000 feet in the air above Silicon valley upon Airship Ventures 23andMe branded zepplin. How cool! My favorite part about the whole thing is that the windows actually open and you can stick your head (or your camera) out. Thanks 23andMe!
Yesterday, while I was writing my post about national debt, my brother called. He’s a conservative Republican. We couldn’t be more different politically and our conversations lately always lead to politics. Without even thinking of it, within minutes, we were both on the White House web site, downloading summary of Obama’s FY2010 budget.
In my whole life I have NEVER actually looked at the federal budget, or even really thought about it too much.
Obama is the first president who is committed to using modern tools to promote information transparency. The site is great looking, useful and easy-to-use, designed to keep us connected and informed. On the most basic level this change inspires confidence. We’re busy people — we don’t have a lot of time to hunt down infomation — easy access to the facts promotes informed discussions. Thanks President Obama!
The Web 2.0 Expo keynote presented by Bryan Mason, COO and Sarah Nelson, Design Analyst from Adaptive Path, connected their experiences as professionals in the arts with their other role as experience designers for clients in an agency setting. Mason began his career in the stage arts and Nelson is a classically trained, lifelong violin player.
They gained insights from the processes and organizational structures of various creative entities such as the highly structured restaurant kitchen, and the theater experience, “Too Much Light makes the Baby go Blind” written and performed by Chicago’s Neo Futurists .
As a creative professional in a dynamic agency setting, it is thrilling to see a project go from initial seeds of an idea, to a fully formed product. However getting through the process can be intense, complex, and challenging. Ultimate success relies on a certain set of constantly changing rules, circumstances, and resources.
By dissecting other successful creation models, and applying the analysis to their current business model, Adaptive Path is saying: We don’t know it all. We can be better. We can be different. We’re always learning.
Adaptive Path’s work environment seems like one that supports and fosters creativity — and it’s not just about putting your people in a room and asking them to emerge at the end of the day with THE BIG IDEA. It’s about finding activities and processes that will allow that stuff to naturally and smartly emerge.
I want to work in an environment that subscribes to the following points Adaptive Path presented:
- Cross train the team. Foster empathy – let people see what it’s like for others. Its about cross-pollination, more like a web, not nodes.
- Rotate creative leadership. Don’t let people get burned out. Let leaders play a support role sometimes.
- Actively turn the corner. Know when its time to stop brainstorming (where collaboration rules and roles are less important) and start making/producing (roles become more important people need to know what’s expected).
- Know your roles. Hierarchy streamlines production. Clear sets of responsibility enables communication.
- Practice as a team. When in execution mode, it’s not time to practice individual skills. The group needs to work things out and trust each other.
- Make your mission explicit. What’s the creative project you are trying to solve? Develop strong process for making decision. Clarify communications. Increase constraints is counter-intuitive but helps decision making.
- Kill your darlings softly. Don’t be afraid to let go of good ideas. Put it in Phase 2!
- Leadership is a service. I love this one!! Its your job to enable others to do their job well.
- Generate projects around creative interests. This will keep people engaged and give them a sense of ownership.
- Remember your audience. How many times are decisions made to benefit business needs at the expense of user’s needs are forgotten.
- Celebrate failure. It’s ok – only by taking risks, can we get to something great.
Adaptive Path – Sign me up!
Posted in Design, San Francisco, Tech
Tagged "Adaptive Path", "experience design", "user experience", "web 2.0 expo", agency, creative, creativity, Design, experience, leadership, management, process, San Francisco
This week San Francisco hosted the Web 2.0 Expo and I was there for a few days of networking and industry buzz. Here are my highlights:
Best Keynote: 10 Tools For Managing a Creative Environment by Bryan Mason, COO and Sarah Nelson, Design Analyst from Adaptive Path. (See next post for more about this keynote)
Best Keynote Energy: Tim O’Reilly – keynote extraordinaire. His passionate talk even ended with a poem that he read to his father on his deathbed. I didn’t envy the folks that had to follow that! Here’s a video snippet about audacious goals.
Other keynotes I attended:
A Flickr Approach to making Sense of the World by Dan Catts. A technical yet entertaining look at how geomapping works on flickr. Brings up some interesting issues regarding where one neighborhood begins, and another ends. What really are the boundries of Noe Valley, and who sez?
The Next Generation of Tagging: Searching and Discovering a Better User Experience by Kakul Srivastava, Director of Product Management at flickr. Excitement around a community that thrives on tags. All good and well, but as a flickr user, I find it very time consuming to retouch, upload, title, describe and tag hundreds of pictures. When will they make that easier? I’m fantasizing about voice tagging… wouldn’t that be cool?
Best Schwag: Disney Internet Group
Best Booth: Honestly, nothing really stood out, however the booths that served beer and snacks yesterday, definitely deserve high marks!
Best Party: Digg Meetup at Mighty. Not an official event of the Expo, however, free drinks, no cover, Rock Band for all my friends and a live dancing unicorn. How can you top that?