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Getting Away from Widgets: Design Thinking as a Survival Tool (NISO 2017 Webinar)

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There was a time (I’m told) when the content that publishers created, libraries purchased, and researchers read fit into neat and predefined packages. These packages -- widgets, we’ll call them, although we might also call them books or journals -- came with a clear set of expectations regarding how they would work and how they might be sold. This common set of expectations made it relatively easy for all parties: publishers and authors could focus on making the content within the widget as good as it could possibly be; librarians and researchers would choose between these widgets based on their needs. But the days of this clarity are fading, if they haven’t already passed. The scholarly communication ecosystem is changing rapidly: how to keep up when the rules keep changing?

JSTOR’s approach has been to adopt many of the tools and techniques of the capital-D disruptors in order to rise to the challenge they represent, while creating services that are more aligned with our users’ needs and our mission. Among these techniques are the adoption of new methodologies geared at discovering and building the best products possible. Design thinking and lean startup methodologies have helped us to get away from “merely” producing widgets and instead create new kinds of products and services.

In this presentation, I’ll describe how JSTOR Labs, an experimental platform developmental team at JSTOR, uses design thinking to find new ways to provide value to our partners and users. I’ll explain how we combine user research with rapid, iterative development to create new kinds of user experiences, quickly.

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Getting Away from Widgets: Design Thinking as a Survival Tool (NISO 2017 Webinar)

  1. 1. GETTING AWAY FROM WIDGETS DESIGN THINKING AS A SURVIVAL TOOL @abhumphreys Alex Humphreys, JSTOR Labs NISO Webinar: Creating the New Information Product March 15, 2017
  2. 2. ITHAKA is a not-for-profit organization that helps the academic community use digital technologies to preserve the scholarly record and to advance research and teaching in sustainable ways. JSTOR is a not-for-profit digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources. Ithaka S+R is a not-for-profit research and consulting service that helps academic, cultural, and publishing communities thrive in the digital environment. Portico is a not-for-profit preservation service for digital publications, including electronic journals, books, and historical collections. Artstor provides 2+ million high-quality images and digital asset management software to enhance scholarship and teaching.
  3. 3. JSTOR Labs works with partner publishers, libraries and labs to create tools for researchers, teachers and students that are immediately useful – and a little bit magical.
  4. 4. THE TROUBLE WITH WIDGETS
  5. 5. The word widget is a placeholder name for an object or, more specifically, a mechanical or other manufactured device. It is an abstract unit of production. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Widget_(economics)
  6. 6. WIDGETS OF CONTENT • Neat, pre-defined packages of content ex. books, journals • Publishers competed and libraries/users selected based on what was IN packages • But it’s not so easy any more…
  7. 7. Great articles!
  8. 8. Great articles! The contents of the containers are still important!
  9. 9. Great articles! But pay attention here too, now: Article Processing Charges
  10. 10. Great articles! And here: The Big Deal
  11. 11. YOU’RE NOT THE ONES SETTING YOUR USERS’ EXPECTATIONS
  12. 12. THESE MAMMOTHS AREN’T *JUST* SETTING USERS’ EXPECTATIONS
  13. 13. WHAT’S A [YOUR NAME HERE] TO DO?
  14. 14. HORIZONS OF INNOVATION Horizon 1 Horizons 2 & 3 • Horizon 1 = core business • Innovation usually seeks operational efficiencies • You know the market, the product, etc. • You can make reasonable predictions about both cost to develop and how market will react • Horizons 2 & 3 = new products, new markets & new businesses • “If you build it, they will come.” • You don’t even know what “it” is • Or who “they” are Horizons framework: http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/enduring-ideas-the-three-horizons-of-growth http://blog.hypeinnovation.com/using-the-three-horizons-framework-for-innovation
  15. 15. Q: If H2 and H3 are so uncertain, how do you find your way to a sustainable new product or business? The Design Squiggle, by Damien Newman: http://cargocollective.com/central/The-Design-Squiggle/
  16. 16. A: Lots of short iterations + lots of user feedback = speeding up the learning cycle Innovation isn’t one big “Eureka,” it’s a thousand little ones.
  17. 17. REIMAGINING THE MONOGRAPH Can we improve the experience and value of long-form scholarship? Aug-Sep: User Research Oct: Workshop Nov: Build Prototype Dec: Release Paper/Prototype
  18. 18. USER RESEARCH
  19. 19. WORKSHOP
  20. 20. PROTOTYPING
  21. 21. labs.jstor.org/topicgraph TOPICGRAPH Understand at a glance the topics covered in a book. Jump straight to pages about topics you’re researching.
  22. 22. REIMAGINING THE MONOGRAPH White paper describing the project, process and principles released as a draft for comment labs.jstor.org/monograph
  23. 23. www.jstor.org/analyze AND ONE FOR GOOD MEASURE: Text Analyzer: Use your own document to search for articles and books.
  24. 24. Thank you Alex Humphreys Director, JSTOR Labs ITHAKA http://labs.jstor.org @abhumphreys alex.humphreys@ithaka.org Further Reading • The Lean Startup, Eric Ries • Business Model Generation & Value Proposition Design, Osterwalder et al. • Marty Cagan’s Blog: svpg.com/articles • Running Lean & Scaling Lean, Ash Maurya • Sprint, Knapp, Zeratsky, & Kowitz
  25. 25. APPENDIX (OPEN IN CASE OF NO INTERNET CONNECTION)

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