Bill Moggridge and Interaction Design
Bill Moggridge is a bit of a legend in the Design world, having co-founded IDEO, and authored the wonderful book Designing Interactions. I recently watched a video of a presentation that Moggridge gave at Stanford in 2007 on this book, which can be viewed below:
Design’s role in a Business Innovation
Like many folks in the Design world these days (see here and here), Moggridge also speaks of Design in the context of Business Design. In the slide deck from his recent presentation, Moggridge presents an interesting model/framework for business innovation, which is shown below:
I really like this simple visual, which positions Business Innovation at the intersection of Business, Design, and Technology.
Business Architecture – another view of the intersection of Business and Technology
This diagram reminded me a lot of another diagram which shows the confluence of three disciplines that span business and technology. The diagram below is from an IBM whitepaper, which positions Business Architecture at the intersection of 3 key core enterprise disciplines – Strategic Planning, Business Execution (or operationalizing Business Strategy), and IT:
Like Moggridge’s Business Innovation framework, this visual crucially positions Business and Technology as overlapping concerns – from both a strategic and operational vantage point. But unlike Moggridge’s framework, it leaves out Design as a strategic consideration in and over-arching Business Design framework. Increasingly, I think this will prove to be an important omission.
Bill Buxton would concur
Buxton says he’s working more these days to help Microsoft redesign its organization and processes that on product design.
Secondly, and this is very fascinating to me, Microsoft is developing an approach to business innovation and product development it calls BXT – Business eXperience Technology. That is, Microsoft feels it needs to bring business thinkers and doers, technology thinkers and doers, and design thinkers and doers, and have them work together in a cohesive fashion around business innovation and product development. Buxton talks a bit about this approach in a piece he wrote for Business Week in 2009.
Here again we see Buxton and Microsoft treating the intersection of business, design, and technology as strategic to business innovation.
I think Moggridge and Buxton are definitely onto something here.
The book also, however, put me onto the subject of Design Thinking, upon which I crafted to additional posts shortly thereafter: The Design of Business, and Roger Martin and More on Design Thinking – IDEO CEO Tim Brown.
Now, as I begin the Prototyping section of the book, I am introduced to a fascinating story involving the legendary Canadian-born architecture Frank Gehry. Here’s the story, taken from the book:
With a look bordering on panic, Weatherhead School of Management Professor Richard Boland Jr. watched as Matt Fineout, an architect with Gehry & Associates, casually tore up plans for a new school building … Boland and Fineout had been struggling for two full days to remove some 5,500 square feet from the floor plan designed by star architect Frank Gehry, while leaving room needed for meeting spaces and office equipment.
At the end of the marathon planning session, Boland had breathed a sigh of relief. “It’s finally done,” he thought. But at that very moment, Fineout rose from this chair, ripped the document apart, and tossed the scraps into a trash bin, not bothering to retain a single trace of the pair’s hard labor. He responded to Professor Boland’s shocked expression with a gentle shrug and a soft remark. “We’ve shown we can do it; now we need to think of how we want to do it.”
Looking back, Boland describes the incident as an extreme example of the relentless approach to inquiry he experienced while working with the Gehry group on the new Weatherhead building. During the design phase, Gehry and his team made hundreds of models with different materials and of varying sizes, simply to explore new directions. Boland explains that the goal of this prototyping activity was far more than the mere testing or proving of ideas. It was a methodology for exploring different possibilities until a truly good one emerged. He points out that prototyping, as practiced by the Gehry group, is a central part of an inquiry process that helps participants gain a better sense of what is missing in the initial understanding of the situation. This leads to completely new possibilities, among which the right one can be identified.
For Professor Boland, the experience with Gehry & Associates was transformative. … Together with fellow professor Fred Collopy and other colleagues, Boland is now spearheading the concept of Manage by Design: the integration of design thinking, skills, and experiences into Weatherhead’s MBA cirriculum.
Well, motivated by this experience, in June 2002, 60 managers, designers and scholars gathered at the Weatherhead School of Management in the Frank Gehry design Peter B. Lewis building to consider the topic Managing as Designing. And, they made a video about this experience. It’s available on YouTube in seven parts. Part 1, the Introduction, can be viewed below:
The remaining six segments of the Managing as Designing video can be viewed at the following links:
- Part 2: Why This? Why Now?
- Part 3: Multiple Models
- Part 4: Thrownness
- Part 5: Collaboration
- Part 6: Liquid-Crystal
- Part 7: Legacy
Bloody fascinating! BTW, for a wonderful glimpse into the mind and world of Frank Gehry, check out the DVD Sketches of Frank Gehry.
And I got to thinking, wouldn’t it be great if the organization I worked for “opened up” its architecture and design work for broad consumption, sharing, and feedback/contributions for interested parties across the enterprise. This would require both shared enterprise “spaces” where ongoing design work – in business design, process design, and product design – was made visible/transparent to the enterprise, and enterprise collaboration processes that “plugged into” these shared design spaces.
Is this a good idea? It seems to be a common approach across open source projects, but I’m not aware of this approach being applied broadly within enterprises.
Any thoughts or comments on this approach?
Another person’s work whom I’m just encountering is that of Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Martin wrote a book in 2009 titled The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage. To be honest, I’ve haven’t read the book, though I do have it on order and look forward to reading it.
I first heard of Roger Martin through an interview by Alexander Osterwalder. Having read Daniel Pink’s book A Whole New Mind, and with Apple’s incredible success designing and launching new technology-based products, I was aware of the view that design is playing an increasingly significant role in business today. My sense is that Martin is part of this “movement”.
I’ve found a couple videos on the web of Martin speaking, but this one looks the most interesting:
I’ll update this post as I learn more about Martin’s views and approach.