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Topsight
A Guide to Studying, Diagnosing, and Fixing
Information Flow in Organizations
Clay Spinuzzi
Clay.Spinuzzi@utexas....
Topsight is…
• An overall understanding of the big picture—
especially how that organization circulates
information
• Some...
WE NEED TOPSIGHT BECAUSE
WORK IS CHANGING
3
Literacy is changing
4
Classes of work are changing
5
Mobility is changing
6
Social media are changing
7
… So work is changing
• Shedding noncore assets
• Working across organizations
• Projectification
• Virtual organizations
...
HOW HAS WORK CHANGED IN
YOUR ORGANIZATION?
9
Understanding changes in work
10
Getting to topsight
• design a field study at your organization
• conduct the field study, collecting solid data
• navigat...
DESIGNING AND CONDUCTING A
FIELD STUDY
12
How can we understand an
organization?
Level Focus Characteristics Timescale Aware? Disruptions
(Symptoms)
Macro Activity ...
What goes into a field study?
• Observations: How are people circulating
information?
• Interviews: Why do they do what th...
ANALYZING THE RESULTS
15
At the Meso Level
Level Focus Characteristics Timescale Aware? Disruptions
(Symptoms)
Macro Activity Culture, history;
soc...
Resource maps
17
Handoff chains
18
Triangulation table
19
The Macro Level
Level Focus Characteristics Timescale Aware? Disruptions
(Symptoms)
Macro Activity Culture, history;
socia...
Activity systems
21
Activity networks
22
At the Micro Level
Level Focus Characteristics Timescale Aware? Disruptions
(Symptoms)
Macro Activity Culture, history;
so...
Breakdown table
24
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
25
Topsight table
26
RECOMMENDING A SOLUTION
27
28
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Topsight (Austin UXPA)

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A presentation on Topsight I delivered to Austin UXPA on August 6, 2013.

Published in: Business, Education, Technology
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Topsight (Austin UXPA)

  1. 1. Topsight A Guide to Studying, Diagnosing, and Fixing Information Flow in Organizations Clay Spinuzzi Clay.Spinuzzi@utexas.edu 1
  2. 2. Topsight is… • An overall understanding of the big picture— especially how that organization circulates information • Something that develops over time, like insight • Hard to achieve in organizations • A “diagnosis” 2
  3. 3. WE NEED TOPSIGHT BECAUSE WORK IS CHANGING 3
  4. 4. Literacy is changing 4
  5. 5. Classes of work are changing 5
  6. 6. Mobility is changing 6
  7. 7. Social media are changing 7
  8. 8. … So work is changing • Shedding noncore assets • Working across organizations • Projectification • Virtual organizations • Hyperconnectivity 8
  9. 9. HOW HAS WORK CHANGED IN YOUR ORGANIZATION? 9
  10. 10. Understanding changes in work 10
  11. 11. Getting to topsight • design a field study at your organization • conduct the field study, collecting solid data • navigate the data you collect • analyze the data to uncover systemic issues • write a solid recommendation report that presents your findings and recommends ways to solve those systemic issues 11
  12. 12. DESIGNING AND CONDUCTING A FIELD STUDY 12
  13. 13. How can we understand an organization? Level Focus Characteristics Timescale Aware? Disruptions (Symptoms) Macro Activity Culture, history; social action, social memory Year, decades No Contradiction Meso Goal Tool-in-use; tactics Minutes, hours Yes Discoordination Micro Operation Rules, habits Seconds No Breakdown 13
  14. 14. What goes into a field study? • Observations: How are people circulating information? • Interviews: Why do they do what they do? How do they interpret it? • Artifacts: What texts and innovations are they using? • Other: System monitoring, prototyping, ??? 14
  15. 15. ANALYZING THE RESULTS 15
  16. 16. At the Meso Level Level Focus Characteristics Timescale Aware? Disruptions (Symptoms) Macro Activity Culture, history; social action, social memory Year, decades No Contradiction Meso Goal Tool-in-use; tactics Analyzed via: • Resource maps • Handoff chains • Triangulation tables Minutes, hours Yes Discoordination Micro Operation Rules, habits Seconds No Breakdown 16
  17. 17. Resource maps 17
  18. 18. Handoff chains 18
  19. 19. Triangulation table 19
  20. 20. The Macro Level Level Focus Characteristics Timescale Aware? Disruptions (Symptoms) Macro Activity Culture, history; social action, social memory • Activity system • Activity network Year, decades No Contradiction Meso Goal Tool-in-use; tactics Minutes, hours Yes Discoordination Micro Operation Rules, habits Seconds No Breakdown 20
  21. 21. Activity systems 21
  22. 22. Activity networks 22
  23. 23. At the Micro Level Level Focus Characteristics Timescale Aware? Disruptions (Symptoms) Macro Activity Culture, history; social action, social memory Year, decades No Contradiction Meso Goal Tool-in-use; tactics Minutes, hours Yes Discoordination Micro Operation Rules, habits Seconds No Breakdown 23
  24. 24. Breakdown table 24
  25. 25. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER 25
  26. 26. Topsight table 26
  27. 27. RECOMMENDING A SOLUTION 27
  28. 28. 28

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