Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lifetime Award

When Peter O'Toole was informed that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was to present him with an honorary lifetime award in 2003, "he originally intended to turn it down feeling that the lifetime award signaled the end of his career. He wrote the Academy a letter stating that he was 'still in the game'."

Peter's recent, wonderful Oscar-nominated performance in Venus and his upcoming appearances in several other movies shows how right he was.

At CHI 2007 this spring, SIGCHI will be giving me its Lifetime Service Award, even though I, too, am "still in the game." Peter O'Toole was decades older when he wrote that letter than I am now, but I greatly appreciate the award and am happy to have been able to contribute to the field worldwide via SIGCHI.

Here is what SIGCHI has published about me in its award announcement:
"Richard I. Anderson is a user experience practice, management, and organizational development consultant with more than 20 years of experience. He was on the founding committee and served as program chair (1990-2002) and chair (first elected chair) of BayCHI, the largest chapter of SIGCHI, but has also traveled around the world growing and facilitating SIGCHI chapters internationally. Richard was the SIGCHI Local Chapters Chair for 5 years, from 1996-2001. He authored numerous SIGCHI Bulletin articles, wherein he offered case studies, advice and support for local SIG leadership. He organized and led popular annual workshops for chapter leaders at the CHI conference. Richard also served as a member of 4 CHI conference committees (including the upcoming CHI '08) and served as the CHI 2005 Development Consortium Chair, in addition to serving on the committee for 3 DUX conferences. Finally, Richard has authored multiple articles for interactions magazine. Through his leadership, he has facilitated and spread the word about human-computer interaction literally around the world."
I've written about some of the above-referenced work in various places. For example, in "Offshoring user experience work," I wrote:
"As SIGCHI's Local Chapters Chair for 5 years, I somewhat unknowingly helped make offshoring of user experience work a fact of life, working with people around the world to help them set up and successfully lead and manage regional and national HCI communities. Countries in which I helped establish and grow SIGCHI chapters included India, Russia, Romania, Brazil, Korea, South Africa, Poland, Mexico, Czech Republic, Israel, Chile, New Zealand, and Bulgaria, many of which are identified in a January 2006 issue of BusinessWeek as countries competing for offshore outsourcing by U.S. and Western European companies."
In "1996-2001 CHI Local SIGs Column Sampler," I review the many articles I wrote and edited about forming, leading, and promoting professional organizations around the world. Many of them are still relevant and of value to (potential) chapter leaders of any professional association, not just SIGCHI, and to some extent even to (potential) leaders of user experience organizations in for-profit companies, though that was not my intent.

A list of the dozens of BayCHI programs I put together is still accessible on my website, though it and additional information about each program can now be found on BayCHI's website.

I still get called "Mr. BayCHI" every so often, even though I ended my 12-year stint as BayCHI Program Chair and emcee a few years ago. And, delightfully, I still communicate with and run into people from around the world that I worked with as SIGCHI's Local Chapters Chair.

I miss all that work sometimes. I still lend SIGCHI a bit of a hand, but my professional association attention has shifted more towards the cross-disciplinary focus of UXnet, for which I am a member of the Board of Directors. (UXnet is still in its early stages of development, but it recently launched an Organizations network to facilitate communication and collaboration among major non-profit, user experience related organizations; SIGCHI is among the network's initial members. Additionally, BayCHI has helped sponsor the UXnet ambassadors in the San Francisco Bay Area.)

I most miss my work for SIGCHI in and for other countries. I have done other work in other countries, but I am interested in working and having an impact on work in other countries much more. So, if you are, for example, looking for someone to oversee and coordinate development of your international user experience research and design practice and organization...

No, of course I'm not comparing myself to Peter O'Toole, and, unfortunately, I never did make it to the Arabian desert, as he did as T.E. Lawrence.

The quote about Peter O'Toole comes from the Internet Movie Database.

Special thanks to Marilyn Tremaine.