–Engage

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

Why define the damn thing (part 5281)

A now almost 60 message thread is going on within the IAI Members list. It seems that trying to be witty led to a long bashing of myself over and over again, b/c G-d forbid I care about the advancement and growth of UX, IA and IxD. Below is an inspired retort

Some posts the following:

First I say:

What is so wrong with saying, “my gravitational center comes from X and that means.”

Then this person says:

Nothing. What rankles is saying to someone else on a list “you are incorrectly describing your gravitational center – use my schema instead.” (or the more passive but similar “why do you identify yourself thusly when you really should do it this other way”).

[… snip … ]

I think a core value of mine at least is to respect how other people choose to identify themselves. I may personally describe them or what they do differently but I do not try to convince them to adopt my frame.

My reply to this now.

Bravo, but what does that get you? Does that advance a discipline or practice, or just make you feel good at night? Seriously. Sure, I know if I started calling myself a Duck Designer, it really doesn’t impact the lot of you. But when I start saying that Duck Design is Information Architecture & well usability and HCI and IxD, and create a community and organization to start promoting Duck Design as the latest and greatest thing b/c I have a new blog, book, and conference to support my ideas and my friends like them too, and I have a big consultancy that has sold it to X Fortune 1000 and latest darling startups, then yes, it does start to effect what I do and how I start to re-align my own identity and values. What’s worse, when Duck Design actually doesn’t do EVERYTHING that IA does, nor with the same methods and protocols, or theories of understanding, but still subsumes the language making it harder for me to continue to communicate to my existing clients/users/stakeholders, then it impacts me even further. Let’s not even get into the whole hiring and education issues that are involved here.

While as one person puts it that he just doesn’t really good work and continues to just do really good work, so what does all this matter I would then say, “who comes after you?” “How do you sustain and build?” “How do you communicate to your stakeholders who are reading contradictory spins on what you do in BusinessWeek?” Etc. Etc.

I find the lack of concern by the general UX community, not only IA or IxD to be very disheartening, as I do feel connected to this community IA and UX more generally, but I am seeing that more people are learning from what we’ve been offering and making it their own, and doing a better job of it. I see the design community (AIGA & IDSA) especially taking UX terms and practices and employing them as if they were always in their arsenal.

(Editor’s note: AIGA and IDSA while design orgs who’s practitioners do UX design in many ways, are not as organizations particularly philosophically connected to the User Experience community.)

I say more power to THEM. But it speak poorly on us. After 10 years of being around many of us still have not figured out how to grow the discipline. We’ve only figured out how to grow our INDIVIDUAL practices and the different disciplines we employ in those practices. This short sightedness is what I’m concerned about.

Does this ONLY come down to titles and formalized vocabularies? Nope, but it doesn’t hurt to start with the easy stuff, that’s for sure, and this is just plum easy.

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