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When I started sharing insights about the what, why, and how of using experience maps to make sense of cross-channel journeys a year and a half ago, I was completely (and pleasantly) surprised by the positive response. Since then, we've worked on many projects that made use of experience maps, I've talked about them at conferences, and my colleague Patrick Quattlebaum and I have taught hundreds of people around the world about the value and process of experience mapping (including last year at UX Week). All of this has helped further evolve what we know and share about using experience maps effectively in organizations. Sharing the process and methodology at conferences has been a great source for hearing about how people are using them for their own needs—and pushing their use in ways I hadn't even imagined.
We've been asked a lot of late “where are you teaching it next?”
Well, how about in Austin and San Francisco next month? I'll be leading our workshop on Experience Mapping in our Austin studio on Thursday, June 6th, and Patrick will lead it in our San Francisco studio on Saturday, June 15th. We're keeping the groups small (under 30) and packing a lot of value into eight hours of instruction and exercises.
We are excited to be hosting the first annual SF Public Design Jam on June 5th and 6th. The SF Public Design Jam is part of a 48-hour global initiative called Global GovJam that aims to bring together people from government, non-profit organizations, designers, students, and local citizens to 'jam' on real solutions to public sector problems.
For those not familiar with the concept of Jamming, the organizers of the Global GovJam put it this way:
Imagine a Jam session in music. You come together, bringing your instruments, your skills, your open mind. Someone sets up a theme, and you start to Jam around it. You don't over analyse it, you don't discuss it to death, you Jam. You bounce your ideas off other people, and play around with what comes back. Together, you build something which none of you could have built alone. And at the same time, you are learning new ideas, discovering more about how you work and whom you best work with, sharpening your skills, and having a great time.
This Jam is designed to get everyone riffing on opportunities for how design and the public sector can work together to have real impact. We'll kick off the Jam by having everyone gather together in one big group where we will all identify potential public sector problems and form teams around them. Many of those problems will take us out into the community to talk to and observe people. With our research findings in hand, teams will return to the studio to brainstorm and sketch out some concepts, eventually choosing one concept to refine further. Finally, teams will prototype their concepts, making them as real as possible in the time allotted. We'll all come back together at the end of the second day to present our concepts to the larger group (which will eventually be shared with the Global GovJam group for all the world to see).
[UX Week 2012 attendees enjoying lunch outside on one of the workshop days]
We're still putting the finishing touches on the program for UX Week 2013, but here's a taste of what you'll see in San Francisco this August.
First up, some of our keynote speakers:
Steven Johnson is the author of eight bestselling books on science, technology, and culture. His latest are Where Good Ideas Come From, on the creative processes that drive innovation; and Future Perfect, on how networked systems can drive social change.
Brenda Laurel is one of the pioneers in the field of user experience and the author of the classic book The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design.
Ze Frank is a prolific creator of online video series and collaborative art projects. Check out what he has to say about being a creative professional.
In addition to those, here are just a few highlights of the rest of the main stage program:
While in Berlin for our (awesome) workshop series, UX Intensive I accepted an invitation to speak at a local meet up with only the promise that I would speak “about service design.” The resulting talk, on Service Design, is a mixed tape of sorts. It’s a compilation of my work married with some of the great thinking on service design coming out of Adaptive Path from people like Jamin Hegeman, Brandon Schauer, and Chris Risdon. And it reflects the practice work we’re delivering week in and week out as we tackle systemic problems in organizations looking to provide better and more human experiences to their customers. In other words, it’s just not conjecture; it’s service design in action.
I'm a cyclist. I recently crashed on my bike. I wish I could say I went down while contesting a sprint in a race, but the truth of the matter is more mundane. I hit a pothole. It's the cycling equivalent of tripping while walking down the sidewalk. I went down pretty hard. Hard enough to crack my helmet and almost total my bike.
As I was sitting on the curb waiting for my wife to pick me up, I realized three things—I knew I had to apologize to my wife for crashing, I knew I had to go to the ER, and I knew that dealing with my insurance was going to be a tough experience.
As my bad luck would have it, my hand was not only broken, but would require surgery. And that meant insurance bills. Lots of them.
I'm a reasonably well educated person, but when it comes to insurance, I struggle. It's a byzantine system. Deductibles. Co-pays. Flexible spending accounts. Provider networks. It's frankly confusing. You never know where you stand, and whether you're going to get a random bill. I've always wondered why it can't be more straightforward. I know I'm not the only person to feel this way.
If you haven't stumbled across Jeff Bezo's recent letter to shareholders, it's worth a read.
Just a few excerpts:
“One advantage—perhaps a somewhat subtle one—of a customer-driven focus is that it aids a certain type of proactivity. When we’re at our best, we don’t wait for external pressures. We are internally driven to improve our services, adding benefits and features, before we have to.”
my translation: we don't benchmark against competitors, we let good experiences and customer value drive what we do
“We build automated systems that look for occasions when we’ve provided a customer experience that isn’t up to our standards, and those systems then proactively refund customers.”
my translation: we bake good experiences into our service, even to correct bad ones
“We also have authors as customers. Amazon Publishing has just announced it will start paying authors their royalties monthly, sixty days in arrears. The industry standard is twice a year.”
my translation: good customers are good customers. Let's not screw over some in favor of others.
We're huge fans of our soon to be San Francisco waterfront neighbors, the Exploratorium. So when we had the opportunity to help them map out their visitor experience, we jumped, ran, and flew at it.
You might call the Exploratorium a science museum, but you'd be wrong. They don't quite have exhibits, as much as they have experiments. They don't have docents, they have Explainers.
As of this week they're no longer located at the Palace of Fine Arts, they've moved to a one-of-a-kind new space on the Embarcadero waterfront. Change like this brings opportunity. Opportunity to understand and see things from new perspectives.
It started with a hypothesis
Acting like good scientists, we started with a joint hypothesis:
Baked into this hypothesis was a belief that the visitor experience started well before they entered the door and continued long after they exited. The Exploratorium was doing so many things well to educate, inspire, and motivate people once they were immersed in the space, but were they connecting and bringing together all the right moments, touchpoints, and capabilities to get the visitor successfully and happily to the Exploratorium? What about as they left and after they got home…were they connecting with and supporting guests to become active, lifelong explorers of science and lovers of experimentation?
Pixar is a creative organization we often draw inspiration from. Aerogramme Writers’ Studio recently captured a list of Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling, a list originally tweeted by Emma Coats, Pixar’s Story Artist.
It's a really nice list. And it closely overlaps with what we all do with envisioning and writing into existence what an experience should be.
So I had some fun, took some creative license, and changed a couple our words in [brackets] below to compare the rules of storytelling to the design of experiences:
“TED is like an Orgasm Machine for the human mind. It gives us the climax of epiphany, without the challenge and tension of thought.”
And if you're okay with that, here are some recent mind orgasms.
So many little screens.
Tesla is the new Apple (by UX Week 2013 keynote speaker, Steven Johnson)
Sitting is the new smoking.
How to train for a spacewalk.
U.S. Health insurance companies are changing their customer experiences in preparation for 2014 and the Affordable Care Act.
You might think all the cool new tech for personal infomatics are big, but Pew says most people track their health on paper or in their head.
A nice little animation about system-centered vs. person-centered work.
Roger Martin of HBR blogs schools us on what a strategy isn't. And The Monitor Institute tells us that successful business strategy is an adaptive effort, a self-correcting series of intentional experiments, not a static plan.
What's Google's #1 asset?