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No product manager, experience designer or software engineer would have a job if all they did is deliver products on time and on budget. Because, of course, anyone’s job is only as valuable as the value they create and any company only survives if it generates enough profit (unless you work for an NGO, the government or Uber). The problem, however, is that value is not only hard to define for each role, department or product, but it’s equally hard to measure.

In most cases value is ill-defined as money earned. In some cases it’s more clearly defined as income, profit or revenue. But it’s nearly impossible to measure anyone’s performance purely on these terms (unless you work in sales), because they are an outcome of many activities. …


Here’s how to structure design critique to avoid design tinkering and arrive at better outcomes.

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Lots of thinking and very little tinkering is behind great architecture, like this one in Venice Beach LA: Norton House by Frank Gehry (picture by Flow)

For a designer, the design review process can be nerve-racking. Decision makers sometimes lack the imagination of what could be. Some aren’t familiar with all the thinking that goes into design decisions. They start to comment randomly; they start to tinker.

Tinkering is alternatively known as a methodology for academic teaching. It‘s a vehicle to gain knowledge through practical trial and error experiences. Tinkering is slow, it’s risky and unstructured.

Design Tinkering is design mayhem; random design choices, subjective decisions and contradicting interpretations of the desired outcome. …


Boost user research impact following a simple process

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4 pillars of a Roman ruin in Baalbeck, Lebanon (picture by Flow)

Research and discovery phases are a huge waste of time, when they are unstructured and result in fluffy outputs, like loosely defined personas, empathy maps or strategies without a clear path to implementation.

More importantly, discovery phases are time intensive (expensive) and very hard to sell, whether you’re in an internal product team or an external design service agency. The value of research outcomes is not as easy to grasp as tangible outputs like a flashy design or prototype with lots of buttons and knobs.

The problem I ran into, was that user research too often didn’t lead to action. The biggest reason for this was inadequate communication about why the effort was valuable and how the insights will inspire positive change. I now use this method for communicating the research process more…

About

Flow Bohl

Dreamer and doer. Design thinker and product manager @BloombergNEF

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