Successful designers must influence product direction and strategy

23 Feb 2009 - 1:26pm
5 years ago
8 replies
504 reads
russwilson
2005

Comments

23 Feb 2009 - 2:49pm
Mike Myles
2009

Have you read Bill Buxton's views on the role of design in executive
leadership? (found in his book "Sketching User Experiences") If not
I'd recommend it. It makes points very closely related to those in
your article.

Both designers and executive teams need to take action that will
bring about strategic design at a company. Designers need the skills
to think & act strategically, but the CEO and others on the executive
team equally need to fully understand the value & role of design.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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23 Feb 2009 - 11:52pm
russwilson
2005

@Andrei: true, money is the ultimate goal. But that's the
equivalent of non-designers saying "just make it simple." To
influence, designers need to understand how the financial and
marketing executives think, and gain insight into more complex
interim strategic goals that aren't as straightforward as "make
more money."

@Steve: "why be satisfied to influence"... this is such a huge
topic - I wish I had a few hours to type... it's not about being
satisfied -- I think as designers we see the world as revolving
around us (just like everyone else), and I think it's easy to fall
into the trap of thinking we can fix it all. Are designers financial
experts? Are designers marketing experts? Are designers strategy
experts? Shouldn't a designer's purest goal be to deliver the best
design possible? But in business the best design does not always win.
So how does a designer reconcile that? Sure many of us wear
different hats and some are more broad (t-shaped) than others, but if
we focus on how we can influence the right decisions rather than
assume we know how to make all the right decisions, I think better
products will be created. It's really more about mindset. And it's
not about "giving in".

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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24 Feb 2009 - 1:52am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Feb 23, 2009, at 8:52 PM, Russell Wilson wrote:

> @Andrei: true, money is the ultimate goal. But that's the
> equivalent of non-designers saying "just make it simple." To
> influence, designers need to understand how the financial and
> marketing executives think, and gain insight into more complex
> interim strategic goals that aren't as straightforward as "make
> more money."

To be clear, I'm not referring to "make more money" but "money" in the
broadest terms: How it's spent, how it's earned, how changes affect
income, how it's used to market products, how much is spent earning
customers, how much is spent building the product, etc.

That's how many executives think (and rightly so). They use money to
understand and create their business very much in the same an
interface designer uses pixels to understand and create everything on
a computer screen that makes a software product.

Simplistic? Maybe... but the question was how can a designer gain more
"executive perspective."

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

24 Feb 2009 - 2:32am
Angel Marquez
2008

Where freemiums begin and end, network effects?
How much more money you can make as a non-profit opposed to a corporation...

It's all design.

24 Feb 2009 - 3:09am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Feb 23, 2009, at 11:32 PM, Angel Marquez wrote:

> Where freemiums begin and end, network effects?
> How much more money you can make as a non-profit opposed to a
> corporation...
>
> It's all design.

I have absolutely no idea what your point is.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

24 Feb 2009 - 3:55am
Angel Marquez
2008

>>How it's spent, how it's earned, how changes affect income, how it's used
to market products, how much is spent earning customers, how much is spent
building the product, etc.
These are all design variables. If I am understanding you correct you are
saying executives are brilliant at creating requirements which in turn
become specifications that map to some sort of functionality on a front end.
In a sense the executives are designers, they provide the kernel. That's all
my point was.

Understanding how to wield the uncontrollable variables to yield profit in
unforeseen circumstances is far more than design it is an art a science
even.

Wether the designer is conscious of this isn't really the determining factor
it is the allowance from the powers that be.

If you are saying you have to fit in with what the executives have already
decided they want I would agree. If you are saying me as a designer knowing
about all facets of the business ecosystem is going to leverage my views I
would have to say probably not.

On Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 12:09 AM, Andrei Herasimchuk <
aherasimchuk at involutionstudios.com> wrote:

>
> On Feb 23, 2009, at 11:32 PM, Angel Marquez wrote:
>
> Where freemiums begin and end, network effects?
>> How much more money you can make as a non-profit opposed to a
>> corporation...
>>
>> It's all design.
>>
>
> I have absolutely no idea what your point is.
>
>
> --
> Andrei Herasimchuk
>
> Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
> innovating the digital world
>
> e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
> c. +1 408 306 6422
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

24 Feb 2009 - 6:25pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Feb 24, 2009, at 12:55 AM, Angel Marquez wrote:

> These are all design variables. If I am understanding you correct
> you are saying executives are brilliant at creating requirements
> which in turn become specifications that map to some sort of
> functionality on a front end. In a sense the executives are
> designers, they provide the kernel. That's all my point was.

Ahh, ok... then I get it.

Basically, yes. But it's better to try and not treat the thing like
"it's all design" but more like how does it work inherently and not
map to much onto it until you grok it more. That way, you also try and
gain more direct perspective about how "money" is the thing that makes
the world go round from the mindset of an executive.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

24 Feb 2009 - 6:59pm
Angel Marquez
2008

When we generalize executives can we divide them into two groups, good and
bad?
Seems to me that some execs have a vision, mission, goals, priorities ect..
and are competent enough to do what's right in any given situation. These
would be the good ones. They would be willing to authorize success and
recognize sound judgement along with understanding of investment, returns,
risk etc.. I mean they could read any email post on this message board and
abstract the content as blobs of information. You catch me? The size of my
font or the title in my email signature would have no psychological control
over common sense. Know when to hold them, know when to walk away, know when
to run...

On the other hand we have another type of exec. Need I explain this guy?
These guys want to see results without even knowing what their point is.
This is similar to the Engineers are d*uche bags posts. Some people
suffocate growth with clasped hands and a warm smile.

I've worked in both settings and appreciate the good over the bad, recognize
it and respect it.

By default money is the reason we engage in these discussions. If I wanted
to prostitute my passion I would be doing something else. Although I am
becoming a little more attached to the concepts and would like to be a part
of something revolutionary.

I think when you connect the dots of design (inception-delivery) each dot is
a design dot.

>>Better
It's words like these that make those execs we all don't like but love to
converse about. How about different or preferred in this case, would instead
of could. Let us not instill doubt right from the quick.

Overall, I am paying attention and mostly agree with you. I just think
somethings have been overlooked that should be addressed before you take her
home.

Best,
A

On Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 3:25 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk <
aherasimchuk at involutionstudios.com> wrote:

>
> On Feb 24, 2009, at 12:55 AM, Angel Marquez wrote:
>
> These are all design variables. If I am understanding you correct you are
>> saying executives are brilliant at creating requirements which in turn
>> become specifications that map to some sort of functionality on a front end.
>> In a sense the executives are designers, they provide the kernel. That's all
>> my point was.
>>
>
> Ahh, ok... then I get it.
>
> Basically, yes. But it's better to try and not treat the thing like "it's
> all design" but more like how does it work inherently and not map to much
> onto it until you grok it more. That way, you also try and gain more direct
> perspective about how "money" is the thing that makes the world go round
> from the mindset of an executive.
>
>
> --
> Andrei Herasimchuk
>
> Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
> innovating the digital world
>
> e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
> c. +1 408 306 6422
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

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