Monday, October 25, 2004

How do you effectively help people achieve recommended organizational change?

Last week, Cooper published an article in its newsletter in which Kim Goodwin writes, "Building better, more innovative, and more profitable products requires organizational change on a deep and difficult level." These words are similar to the words of many others, including Mark Hurst who wrote, "Changing the organization is the most difficult and most important part of user experience work," in a June 2003 version of his newsletter, and Dennis Wixon who, in the July+August 2003 issue of interactions, made a similar point indirectly by criticizing the formal literature as "failing the practitioner" since it "treats usability studies as if they were experiments, when in reality they are more like organizational interventions."

Advice regarding how to achieve such change has come from many (see the lengthy list of references, old and recent, that I include with my "evolving commentary" on "Changing the Role 'User Experience' Plays in Your Business" --, but lots of people still struggle with this difficult task.

During my on-stage interview of Don Norman on October 12 (see my initial blog posting for my first blog words about this event), Don refered to a forum he ran for "user experience executives and those on the executive track" on, among other (related) things, "how to advance the cause of 'User Experience' throughout your organization." Quoting further from one of Don's announcements of this October 2003 forum:
"I have long been bothered by the lack of senior management from within the ranks of the user experience community. I believe that user experience-based design will make the greatest impact only when the executive ranks of corporations adopt UE design as part of their culture. This is only likely to happen when UE professionals become UE executives."
According to Don, few enrolled in this forum, it lost money, and he offers it no longer.

Also according to Don, few enroll in tutorials offered during the Nielsen Norman Group's User Experience tour that are intended for people with experience.

I recently started to offer a workshop focused on "The Critical Role of Collaboration in Enabling Your Business to Provide the Best 'User Experience'" and intended for a similar audience, though offered for delivery in-house.

But are workshops/forums/tutorials not the best way to reach and help the people who are in a better position to influence the organizations in which they work? If not, what is? The combination of everything else that is out there, including the many relevant publications I reference above, does not appear to be enough.