Winning Big in UX: Changing the problem-solving culture in organizations.

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Cognitive biases warp our perceptions of organizational culture and the problems we can help the organization solve. Biases also warp our clients' view of us, their expectations of what we can contribute, and their mental models of the role(s) we can play.

I encourage you to:
- Recognize that you are member of UX as a culture, which goes beyond your role.
- Be an agent of culture change by merging UX culture with the organizational culture in which you are immersed.
- Help organizational culture adopt the practices and values of UX culture.
- Apply your UX skills to improve problem-solving and decision-making as a way to merge the two cultures.

Presented on Sun, April 10, 2011; at MidwestUX Conference in Columbus, OH.

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  • When I went from the cogsci classroom to JCP.com, it was like going on a field study.\n\nSuddenly, I was immersed in the wilds of corporate culture. \nI found that UX skills gave me an advantage: \nI could help them solve non-design problems.\n`...I learned to practice UX by applying cogsci to the organization.\n\n
  • When I went from the cogsci classroom to JCP.com, it was like going on a field study.\n\nSuddenly, I was immersed in the wilds of corporate culture. \nI found that UX skills gave me an advantage: \nI could help them solve non-design problems.\n`...I learned to practice UX by applying cogsci to the organization.\n\n
  • When I went from the cogsci classroom to JCP.com, it was like going on a field study.\n\nSuddenly, I was immersed in the wilds of corporate culture. \nI found that UX skills gave me an advantage: \nI could help them solve non-design problems.\n`...I learned to practice UX by applying cogsci to the organization.\n\n
  • Kung-Fu Grip \n- Like we study and document design patterns, I also see decision-making patterns, problem-solving patterns.\n- It's my kung-fu grip. I have a certain fascination, if not a proclivity for, making sense of group decision-making at work.\n- From my experience, I've found ways to apply what we consider UX skills to improve how groups make decisions.\n\nThesis\n- I believe our practice makes us uniquely suited to improve how groups make decisions, by applying UX to non-UI, organizational problems.\n- Interpreting motivations, behaviors, interactions, and visualizing abstract spaces can provide perspective to help them.\n- As a result, your colleagues and clients will value your problem-solving abilities, helping you break out of the "designer" stereotype.\n\n
  • What are the patterns?\nA cognitive bias is “a pattern of deviation in judgment occurring in particular situations.”\n...Leads to “perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation.”\n\nCommon theme to biased heuristics: Rigid frames, incomplete information. Passively & actively biased.\n\nI’ll cover these in context today: \n- Biases to watch for. How to spot them.\n- Spotting problems to solve.\n\n
  • What are the patterns?\nA cognitive bias is “a pattern of deviation in judgment occurring in particular situations.”\n...Leads to “perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation.”\n\nCommon theme to biased heuristics: Rigid frames, incomplete information. Passively & actively biased.\n\nI’ll cover these in context today: \n- Biases to watch for. How to spot them.\n- Spotting problems to solve.\n\n
  • What are the patterns?\nA cognitive bias is “a pattern of deviation in judgment occurring in particular situations.”\n...Leads to “perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation.”\n\nCommon theme to biased heuristics: Rigid frames, incomplete information. Passively & actively biased.\n\nI’ll cover these in context today: \n- Biases to watch for. How to spot them.\n- Spotting problems to solve.\n\n
  • At a #TCUX dinner, Fred asks us, “What’s the biggest challenge facing the field of UX?”\nCommon answers:\n- Mobile, tablet, cloud, Agile, Prototyping\n- Becoming CXO; mingling w/ BAs\n\nCommon thread to their answers:\n- The biggest challenge is getting the best parts of our practice adopted by, absorbed into organizational culture.\n- Any path you choose, the amount of sovereignty or responsibility corresponds to how much they trust your performance.\n- We have to earn their trust.\n\n\n\n
  • - UX Culture = our shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize UX.\n- To get the best parts of our practice adopted by, absorbed into organizational culture, is like grafting a new branch onto a tree. \n\nWe want the organization’s culture to adopt or absorb our cultural values: \n- understand your users \n- plan for design, design your plan\n- prototype, test, iterate\n\nWe have to be cultural ambassadors.\nWe have to show them that our practices are well-suited to solve non-UI problems. We have to show them that we are a culture, not simply a role. \n\n\n
  • Challenge: Getting a Seat at the Table.\nTo overcome the stereotype, provide atypical and unexpected value.\n\nThe bias they suffer: Functional Fixedness.\n- they see us and think “designer”, “usability person”, “web designer”\n- they’re missing the potential of our abilities \n\n\nTheir Bias: Functional Fixedness\n(definition) tendency to only use a tool for its primary/common purpose\n(interpretation) they see you as a UI designer, forgetting that your illustrative skills are perfect for interpreting, solving problems\n    \n
  • The bias we suffer: Fundamental Attribution Error.\n- we attribute their dis-interest as a personal thing\n- we neglect situational forces \n\nThe technique: Investigative Journalism\n- discover their motivations, needs\n- separate the “role” from the “person”\n- get familiar with the landscape\n\n\n\n\n
  • I made project lifecycle diagrams for past projects, plotting where we'd done usability work.\nShowed it to my boss, thinking "what does it take to prove that usability is worth it?!" \n     - For my boss: Started plotting where UX work was done in the course of past projects\n     - With PMs: Started showing them proposed usability work, to put it in context for them\n\nI would diagram the proposed usability work.\nThis created a dynamic context.\n\n\n
  • I made project lifecycle diagrams for past projects, plotting where we'd done usability work.\nShowed it to my boss, thinking "what does it take to prove that usability is worth it?!" \n     - For my boss: Started plotting where UX work was done in the course of past projects\n     - With PMs: Started showing them proposed usability work, to put it in context for them\n\nI would diagram the proposed usability work.\nThis created a dynamic context.\n\n\n
  • Overcome Fundamental Attribution Error by discovering who they are\n     - discover their needs and motivations\n     - treat every conversation as a contextual interview, conversational\nOvercome Functional Fixedness by showing your skills applied to novel situations\n     - we're good at visualizing abstract (problem) spaces \n     - business problems, esp on new frontiers, are abstract problems we can help solve\n
  • Overcome Functional Fixedness by showing your skills applied to novel situations\n     - we're good at visualizing abstract (problem) spaces \n     - business problems, esp on new frontiers, are abstract problems we can help solve\n
  • \nUX Work Flow Diagram as solution: \n     - increase depth-of-processing: \n     - illustrate (hidden) forces in a dynamic context: actor, subject, object, time\n     - enable a narrative interpretation: let them find resolution\n\n\n
  • Base rate neglect: neglecting (unfamiliar) factors that influence outcome.\n\nPoke Where It Hurts\nIn this case, emotions were involved, and I hit a sore spot quickly.\nThe design team didn't have meetings. Period.\nWhy not? Our EVP didn't like meetings. He was educated, smart, full of personality, and insight. But, didn't like meetings.\nConflict: The Design team *requested* meetings. We wanted some esprit du corps. \nThe Design team wanted to collaborate, which sounded like meetings. But, with the downside of costing money when we could be billing.\n\n
  • Dunning-Kruger Effect: \n(a) over-rating one’s own competence due to low meta-cognitive abilities; and, \n(b) skilled people underestimate their own abilities.\n\nI’m surprised we’re not designing our way out of every business problem we face!\nWe underestimate our ability to *help* solve business problems. Not solve them, but at least help. \n\n\n
  • Meeting Map:\n     - For my boss: Started sketching this with him one day when we were discussing our need for meetings\n     - Thought I was going down some rabbit-hole, but that's when it clicked with my boss.\n\nTechnique: Empathic Instigator\n(I have a problem to solve. I want your help. The problem costs you, too. But, I'm going to solve this problem.)\n\nOvercome Base Rate Neglect by illustrating the landscape, forces at work on the actors, objects:\n     - show them what they're neglecting \n     - result might cause pain, discomfort, anger...be calm, firm, understanding\n     \n\n\n
  • We seem to value visualization as a way to solve abstract, unfamiliar problems. That’s what flow diagrams, site maps, prototypes do.\n\n\n Empathic Instigator\nOvercome the Dunning-Krueger Effect by applying yourself to a novel domain.\n    - they learn, respect your aptitude at making sense of new problems\n    - visualize the problem to reveal what's neglected\n\n\n
  • \n\nUX Work Flow Diagram as solution: #levelsofprocessing, #narrativeinterpretation\n     - increase depth-of-processing: \n     - illustrate (hidden) forces in a dynamic context: actor, subject, object, time\n     - enable a narrative interpretation: let them find resolution\n\n\n
  • \nRemember that you’re immersed in a culture there (at work). It’s almost as if you’re suddenly immersed in group decision-making, since so much design work is just that.\n\nAnd, you represent another culture.\nDon’t be surprised by challenges. You’re at the epicenter of 2 cultures merging. \n\nYour goal: Organization’s culture adopts UX culture. \n\n\n
  • By working together, we expose others to our cultural practices.\n\nWe hope they adopt our practices, absorb (current and future) practices into their culture. \n\nMission, Destiny, End-game, Final Stage: \nThe organization's culture adopts, absorbs our culture's practices\n- Their culture will be informed, changed by our culture automatically.\n- They'll judge the future based on the "present" experience with you. (No pressure, but the future's in your hands.)\n\n
  • Ginny Redish Quote:\n‘The purpose of usability is to improve the quality of products, ...and, to improve the quality of the process by which products are made.’\n(Redish, 1999.) \n\nOur practice is uniquely suited to improve decision-making. \nSeize the opportunity to be an ambassador for your culture. \n\n(Gilberto Gil, Minister of Culture, Brazil)\n\n- We're in this practice for extrinsic and intrinsic motivations. I find this is spontaneous behavior for me when I hit an "organizational" wall.\n\n\n
  • \n\n
  • Winning Big in UX: Changing the problem-solving culture in organizations.

    1. 1. Winning Big in UXChanging the problem-solving culture in organizationsJay Morgan
    2. 2. Winning Big in UXChanging the problem-solving culture in organizationsJay Morgan BS, Cognitive Science MS, Applied Cognition & Neuroscience
    3. 3. Winning Big in UXChanging the problem-solving culture in organizationsJay Morgan BS, Cognitive Science Judgment, Decision-making MS, Applied Cognition & Neuroscience Mental Models Text & Discourse Comprehension
    4. 4. Winning Big in UXChanging the problem-solving culture in organizationsJay Morgan BS, Cognitive Science Judgment, Decision-making MS, Applied Cognition & Neuroscience Mental Models Text & Discourse Comprehension @jayamorgan #MidwestUX
    5. 5. Kung-fu Grip #cogsci #kungfugrip
    6. 6. Heuristics...the cognitive onesDefinition A rule of thumb... Experience-based problem-solving method... #cogsci #heuristics
    7. 7. Heuristics...the cognitive onesDefinition A rule of thumb... Experience-based problem-solving method...Representativeness“Is A like B?” #cogsci #heuristics
    8. 8. Heuristics...the cognitive onesDefinition A rule of thumb... Experience-based problem-solving method...Representativeness“Is A like B?”Anchoring & Adjustment“Start here. Get to there.” #cogsci #heuristics
    9. 9. Heuristics...the cognitive onesDefinition A rule of thumb... Experience-based problem-solving method...Representativeness“Is A like B?”Availability“How likely is that to happen?”If I remember something like it, then it seems more likely to happen.Anchoring & Adjustment“Start here. Get to there.” #cogsci #heuristics
    10. 10. What’s the biggest challenge facing UX? #tcux @fred_beecher @nicolenetland
    11. 11. What’s the biggest challenge facing UX? #tcux @fred_beecher @nicolenetland
    12. 12. Grafting UX onto Organizational Culture #grafting #cultureUX
    13. 13. You’re “The Dude”Functional Fixedness (cognitive bias) limits a person to using an object #thedude only in the way it is traditionally used #functionalfixedness #cognitivebias
    14. 14. Every Conversation a Contextual InterviewFundamental Attribution Error (cognitive bias) when determining cause of a behavior, you attribute #contextualinquiry personality traits, neglecting situational factors #deepthroat
    15. 15. Plotting Project Work NewAlternatives Existing Features Exploration Assessmen Validation #whiteboarding #process
    16. 16. Plotting Project Work NewAlternatives UER Existing Features Exploration Assessmen Validation #whiteboarding #process
    17. 17. Plotting Project Work NewAlternatives Prototype UER Prototype UER Prototype UER Prototype Existing Features Exploration Assessmen Validation #whiteboarding #process
    18. 18. UX Workflow Diagram #processdiagram #workflow
    19. 19. UX Workflow Diagram #processdiagram #workflow
    20. 20. Get them in the Situation Increase depth-of-processing. Phonetic processing << Semantic processing. Illustrate (hidden) forces in a dynamic context. Actors, objects, subjects, goals, time... Enable narrative interpretation. Let them discover resolution... #levelsofprocessing #dynamiccontext #narrative
    21. 21. They can’t solve what they can’t see.Base-rate Neglect (cognitive bias) #neverendingstory neglecting (unfamiliar) factors that #gmork influence an outcome #etreu #thenothing
    22. 22. We can’t solve it, if we don’t have confidence.Dunning-Krueger Effect (cognitive bias)(a) over-rate own competence due to low meta- #neverendingstorycognitive abilities; but #gmork(b) skilled people underestimate own abilities #etreu #thenothing
    23. 23. A Meeting Map Then Now Next Client LL ? ? Project Drag Team ? LL Force ? ? ? Divisions ? ? ? ? Agency ? Meeting ? Desired Meeting LL Lessons Learned Meeting #whiteboarding Meeting Series #meetings
    24. 24. Making Shit Up... Well-rounded Focus Lesson Drag Drag force results from inertia of systemic incongruities...or, Vision Bulge Bulge results from propulsive force of unexpressed visions, uncommunicated wishes, and/or #wellroundedfocus incomplete discovery. #lessondrag #visionbulge
    25. 25. Get them in the Situation Increase depth-of-processing. Phonetic processing << Semantic processing. Illustrate (hidden) forces in a dynamic context. Actors, objects, subjects, goals, time... Enable narrative interpretation. Let them discover resolution... #levelsofprocessing #dynamiccontext #narrative
    26. 26. Cultural Immersion #justbreathe #immersion
    27. 27. Merging Two Cultures #grafting #cultureUX
    28. 28. Cultural Ambassadors #gilbertogil #cultureUX #brasil
    29. 29. jayamorgan@gmail.comChanging the problem-solving culture in organizations @jayamorgan #MidwestUX #cultureUX

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