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Wicked Problems: The Black holes we're designing into our future tech

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In this slight update to the original Wicked Problems talk, I give a few more examples of how we inadvertently create problems for future teams.

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Wicked Problems: The Black holes we're designing into our future tech

  1. 1. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye Short descriptive heading 1 Wicked problems: The black holes we’re designing into our future tech #PixelUP18 • @LolaOye
  2. 2. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye Things to look out for 2 TAKE A PIC LOOK IT UP JOIN THE CONVERSATION You might find it useful to save these slides for later (I won’t read them out!) Search online….things worth a bit more investigation Let’s take the discussion online, I’m interested in your views
  3. 3. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye Today, I’ll be talking about… 3 What a wicked problem is The kinds of wicked problems we’re responsible for The future problems we will need to address Tips for tackling wicked problems
  4. 4. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye 4 POVERTY UNEMPLOYMENT EDUCATION CRIME HOUSING
  5. 5. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye 10 Characteristics of complex social issues 5 1. Wicked problems have no definitive formulation. E.g. Poverty in one place won’t have the same challenges as poverty in another 2. It's hard, maybe impossible, to measure or claim success with wicked problems because they bleed into one another. 3. Solutions to wicked problems can be only good or bad, not true or false. 4. There is no template to follow when tackling a wicked problem, although history may provide a guide. 5. There is always more than one explanation for a wicked problem, with the appropriateness of the explanation depending greatly on the individual perspective of the designer. 6. Every wicked problem is a symptom of another problem. 7. No mitigation strategy for a wicked problem has a definitive scientific test because humans invented wicked problems and science exists to understand natural phenomena. 8. Offering a "solution" to a wicked problem frequently is a "one shot" design effort because a significant intervention changes the design space enough to minimise the ability for trial and error. 9. Every wicked problem is unique. 10. Designers attempting to address a wicked problem must be fully responsible for their actions. Source: Rittel, Horst. "Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning." Policy Sciences, 1973: 155-169. TAKE A PIC
  6. 6. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye 10 Characteristics of complex social issues 6 1. Wicked problems have no definitive formulation. E.g. Poverty in one place won’t have the same challenges as poverty in another 2. It's hard, maybe impossible, to measure or claim success with wicked problems because they bleed into one another. 3. Solutions to wicked problems can be only good or bad, not true or false. 4. There is no template to follow when tackling a wicked problem, although history may provide a guide. 5. There is always more than one explanation for a wicked problem, with the appropriateness of the explanation depending greatly on the individual perspective of the designer. 6. Every wicked problem is a symptom of another problem. 7. No mitigation strategy for a wicked problem has a definitive scientific test because humans invented wicked problems and science exists to understand natural phenomena. 8. Offering a "solution" to a wicked problem frequently is a "one shot" design effort because a significant intervention changes the design space enough to minimise the ability for trial and error. 9. Every wicked problem is unique. 10. Designers attempting to address a wicked problem must be fully responsible for their actions. Source: Rittel, Horst. "Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning." Policy Sciences, 1973: 155-169.
  7. 7. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye Today, I’ll be talking about… 7 What a wicked problem is…in our modern digital context? The kinds of wicked problems we’re responsible for The future problems we will need to address Tips for tackling wicked problems
  8. 8. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye 8 Legacy technology • Fixing one issue creates another • Lack of retained knowledge • ‘Black-box’ software • Poor maintenance practice The Wicked Digital Quartet Digital/ Technical literacy • Decisions made by the least knowledgeable forums • Inappropriate use of rhetoric e.g. transformation, lean, disruption • Middle-management resistance + Finance • Zero-budgetting practices • Incumbent vs venture capitalists • Misunderstanding full cost of ownership • Outdated IT Procurement practice + Agile/ Lean methodology • Moving faster than ever • Start now, fix later • Empowerment of Product Owners • Lack of empathy within and between teams • Rushing towards new & next + TAKE A PIC
  9. 9. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye JOIN THE CONVERSATION Q: What are the consistent issues you are facing in your transformation/ re-skin/ redesign/ re-platform / relaunch…. 9
  10. 10. 10#NUX5 @LolaOye A 100-year old institution that is responsible for ensuring music creators get paid whenever their work is performed. Having fallen behind the technology curve, they set an aggressive agenda to overhaul end-of-life technology and create new web services. They hire a strategic team, a systems integrator, select a CMS and want everything to go in the cloud. The digital transformation team consists of 60 people. The first product MVP is expected to demo to the board in 6-weeks. CASE STUDY: ABC MUSIC
  11. 11. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye 11 Agile/ Lean methodology • Start now, fix later • Empowerment of Product Owners • Lack of empathy within and between teams Legacy technology • Lack of retained knowledge • ‘Black-box’ software • Poor maintenance practice Digital/ Technical literacy • Decisions made by the least knowledgeable forums • Inappropriate use of rhetoric e.g. transformation, lean, disruption • Middle-management resistance Finance • Misunderstanding full cost of ownership • Outdated IT Procurement practice The Wicked Digital Quartet + + +
  12. 12. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye LOOK IT UP 12
  13. 13. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye Today, I’ll be talking about… 13 What a wicked problem is…in our modern digital context? The kinds of wicked problems we’re responsible for The future problems we will need to address Tips for tackling wicked problems
  14. 14. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye Wicked problems from the user’s perspective 14 • Slow look-ups & searches - we often consider these ‘performance’ issues • Badly loading pages - on slow connections, we blame it on ‘the network’ • Page disharmony & flat interactions - because the dev had to do the last bit of design • Dead-end journeys - because content isn’t where it is supposed to be
  15. 15. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye ABC Music: Getting paid for your music at a live concert. 15 OLD*: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 You, or someone else performs your music A record is created as “a set list” The performer or their representative sends a paper copy to ABC Music OR Emails an excel spreadsheet to ABC Music ABC Music transcribes the set list into their own database ABC Music updates a central music database with the set list ABC Music allocate appropriate funds to all the co- creators The co- creators are all paid at the end of the next quarter *Some steps have been removed for simplicity
  16. 16. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye NEW: ABC Music: Getting paid for your music at a live concert. 16 1 2 3 4 5 5 6 You, or someone else performs your music A record is created as “a set list” ABC Music transcribes the set list into their own database ABC Music updates a central music database with the set list ABC Music allocate appropriate funds to all the co- creators The co- creators are all paid at the end of the next quarter 3 4 The performer or their representative completes a ‘live’ web form Set list is automatically scheduled to update the central music database (offline) The performer or their representative sends paper copy to ABC Music OR Emails an excel spreadsheet to ABC Music
  17. 17. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye NEW: ABC Music: Getting paid for your music at a live concert. 17 1 2 3 4 5 5 6 You, or someone else performs your music A record is created as “a set list” ABC Music transcribes the set list into their own database ABC Music updates a central music database with the set list ABC Music allocate appropriate funds to all the co- creators The co- creators are all paid at the end of the next quarter 3 4 The performer or their representative completes a ‘live’ web form Set list is automatically scheduled to update the central music database (offline) The performer or their representative sends paper copy to ABC Music OR Emails an excel spreadsheet to ABC Music Future wicked problems: Created two new databases, did not re-platform old ones Song search had a new referencing system Completely new login system (in addition to existing one) Hybrid venue search ! ! ! !
  18. 18. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye 18 • “Discovery” activities place too much focus on end-user pain points and an idealised future state • Sprint 0 focuses on getting development going • Where do we uncover the current systemic characteristics? JOIN THE CONVERSATION We enable wicked problems with Systemic/ Process failures
  19. 19. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye 19 • If I design it, they have to build it - I don’t have to check if they can build • If they don’t build it they messed up, not me • Have I checked if they could be a part of my design process? JOIN THE CONVERSATION We enable wicked problems with Individual failures
  20. 20. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye Today, I’ll be talking about… 20 What a wicked problem is…in our modern digital context? The kinds of wicked problems we’re responsible for The future problems we will need to address Tips for tackling wicked problems
  21. 21. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye Digital inequality affects our ability to create unified multi-device experiences 21 “3.4bn feature phone users vs. 1bn smartphone Various (Unverified)
  22. 22. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye Quant equals Qual and some people are making better use of that than others 22 “$1bn Disney investment in the Magic Band wired.com
  23. 23. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye Desktop, web and mobile are no longer meaningful design paradigms 23 “3.5tn Searches per day via Google Now
  24. 24. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye Today, I’ll be talking about… 24 What a wicked problem is…in our modern digital context? The kinds of wicked problems we’re responsible for The future problems we will need to address Tips for tackling wicked problems
  25. 25. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye Idealising for the end user isn’t valuable if you don’t take as much care to understand the contextual constraints you have to design within - even if those issues are not immediately apparent to the end user. 25 Wicked Tip #1 How it works? Use a prototype (e.g. sketches or interactive) to run workshops with as many internal stakeholders as possible. Build your backlog based on blending user needs with the constraints and opportunities uncovered during these workshops. Eradicate as many “spikes” as possible! Product Runway How it works? Just as you would model a user’s journey, model the system. Map out the needs one store/component has of another, where things are stored and identify tactical pain points e.g. old software, compliance. This should be ‘human’ readable, it is not a data flow diagram or a technical diagram. Make it big, use a wall and add to it over time. System Journey Maps TAKE A PIC
  26. 26. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye As a UX professional, it is no longer an option to have low technical literacy - start speaking dev, take time to learn about the big legacy challenges most organisations face and be pragmatic. 26 Wicked Tip #2 How it works? Spend the early part of any project sitting with, talking to and learning from the development/IT teams. This is not just about uncovering requirements, but also about building empathy and mutual respect to tackle future problems together! Co-Location How it works? Take a user story, and run your first idea session as a joint sketch session with development. Make these short 30-45mins and punchy. Create a template so you get notes with each sketch, this is usually the most informative bit, why did they see the solution this way? This also builds a sense of shared ownership. Developer + Design Workshops TAKE A PIC
  27. 27. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye There is no blame game available to you. “They” is replaced by “We”. There is no right or wrong only good or bad, based on the best understanding WE can achieve. 27 Wicked Tip #3 How it works? Track the failure points and compromises that are likely to have the biggest impact. Monitor these through usability testing, the analytics and user feedback. For each failure point score: 1 - Low impact on customer 2 - Moderate impact on customer 3 - High impact on customer Keep track of your debt scores and use it to prioritise! Customer Experience Debt TAKE A PIC
  28. 28. #PixelUP18 | @LolaOye Short descriptive heading 28 “We cannot solve the problems we have created with the same thinking we used in creating them. Albert Einstein
  29. 29. Thank you, keep in touch @LolaOye www.ownyourexperience.com

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