I am an adherent to the philosophy of user centered design. This is easy when the user and designer are both me. It mostly involves being honest with myself, articulating the problem clearly, and then exercising good judgment in solving the problem. A reasonably astute kid can do this. But I make a pretty comfortable living because it gets progressively, possibly geometrically, more difficult as you increase the complexity of the problem space beyond simple and expand the consumer base of the solution beyond self. I can readily design a corporate structure that makes me cheerful and productive and makes scads of money. I can do that for myself with relative ease, even if it takes a few tries.
Cheerful and productive and scads of money are all lovely. But I’m already cheerful and productive and [certainly compared to the rest of the world, I] have scads of money [and access to resources I take for granted that are so far beyond the pinnacle of conceivable luxury to most people on Earth that I am frankly uncomfortable at what that implies]. Did you get all of that aside? There’s an implication buried next to the globalized post-industrial guilt. It’s that for me to be happy – not just feelin’ okay – I have to positively impact other people. With rare exception, at the companies I’ve worked for I have only been able to do this peripherally or trivially.
So I started ticking off a list:
- I likes me some UCD.
- I want to make a difference for people.
- Of my many talents, one of the things that I am very bestest at is getting elegant concepts to ground complex processes and then marry those mechanisms to messy relationships in order to make a planned thing happen.
- I am consistently astonished that companies are ill conceived, badly engineered, hostile to employees, incorporate disincentives for honesty, and encourage a long list of other mean pathologies. It strikes me as counterproductive and wasteful to do business this way, expensive in terms monetary and metaphoric.
- I am sufficiently puffed up with me'self that I think I can do something about the toxicity I perceive in the contemporary corporate form.
If I’m utilizing UCD to generate a suh-weet interface to the problem space of the ugly company, and that interface is a company that benefits not only me, but other people who want to do meaningful (if not life-altering, though wouldn’t that be ducky) work, then I need to reach out to the possible consumers of my solution: you. Then I use my self-styled bestest talent to transpose what I learned from you onto the template of the aweXXome company that makes a bunch of us happy. So that’s the target. A company that feels good to work for, filled with people I (we) like and admire, doing work that makes me want to go out big-talkin’ about the place.
Then we go steal the other villages' mead benches. Good times!