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.

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. It’s far removed from human centered design. …


Boost user research impact following a simple process

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…


What politics can learn from technology about product evolution and innovation

Agile — as a method to iteratively improve software and constantly test assumptions about its usefulness — fosters innovative culture through faster feedback loops. Agile governments using this methodology would enable social and economic innovation to meet the rising expectations for openness, accountability effectiveness and efficiency.

I’m not a political theorist, but a product manager, former UX designer, who spends a lot of time identifying business and user problems and testing solutions to these problems and Brexit is by far the biggest political problem of recent UK politics. …


…you know the secret sauce to generate useful insights

“We don’t have time for user research” is one of many excuses I have heard for the time I was a UX designer and researcher before I became a product manager. It’s saying in other words: “We prefer to run fast into uncertainty, potentially ending up in the wrong place, instead of slowly walking in the right direction.”

Users don’t know what they want but think they do. As product manager or UX researcher you need to find out what they actually need.

User research is risk mitigation, it’s instilling confidence into product decision making, it’s validating common sense. …


A good presentation could get your design approved, or quickly dismissed if you don’t present it right.

As a product manager in a large corporation, who previously worked in small design firms as a designer, I have learned the hard way how to present designs to get stakeholders on board. Now sitting on the receiving end I can confirm what does and doesn’t work for getting product managers on board. Unlike me, most people working in dev-ops, product or marketing don’t have a design background and have very little understanding of the design process and lack the imagination to see the potential of work-in-progress.

Here are 6 useful steps to successfully present design work to non-designers:

1. Know your audience

Know who you’re presenting to. Make your presentation relevant to them. If you’re presenting to clients in marketing, you will have to use different terminology as if presenting to developers. For example, talking about how a previous design has increased audience reach might impress marketing managers, but will result in blank faces with developers. Never assume knowledge. Best prepare by talking to individual stakeholders before presenting to them, to get a picture of what resonates with them. …


Data changes how we draw conclusions about the world, data visualisation helps us better understand data.

Data visualization — as I’ve observed — has been changed due to developments in three broad areas. Streaming instead of static data, changing context and better data processing and design tools. This will profoundly change how data visualization will influence our future lives.

New context

Pandora was the first human made by the gods in Greek Mythology. As a concept this is important because Pandora serves as a metaphor of who we aspire to be. She is a representation of ourselves, she is how we would like to be. Very much like digital avatars in social media of the presence. On Facebook we don’t share our worst moments or weaknesses, we show off our achievements and upload only our best pictures. …


If you want a UX designer to meet their maker, then follow the below useful tips (or try the reverse to deliver kick-ass results). These killer arguments are a collection from various sources such as Linkedin, blog posts and conferences I attended.

Hiring

Don’t tell UX designers what you’re up to. Hide your intentions by inventing meaningless titles such as “UX guru”, “Innovation Magician” or even better, “UX”.

What a UX designer should be involved with could be best disguised in your job posts by writing: “The candidate will be working on exciting solutions for complicated problems”. Never tell them WHY they do the work, just focus on the HOW: Tools they have to use. Perhaps you could ask: “Are you fine with making wireframes in Power Point? …


Data visualization is a cornerstone of the visual and journalistic signature of Bloomberg and most news publishers. Many different layouts and styles are used. I spoke at Unicom’s London Summit of Data Visualization and here’s the summary:

Data driven companies like Bloomberg, rely on widening the reach of data by effectively communicating how data can be useful to the various user types. Hans Rosling once nicely summed up its purpose: “The idea is to go from numbers to information to understanding.” The right amount of data visualization is the minimum amount to tell a story.

Journalistic stories rely on visual aids to convey perspectives and make otherwise complex thinking accessible. Data and editorial teams collaborate to draw comparisons, illustrate relationships, and describe distribution or composition of data sets at a point in time, historically or as a forecast. …


How asking the right question is more important than having a great idea.

Innovation can be a tenuous term where it’s often unclear where to start and what the outcome should be. Many creative thinkers and organisations have therefore created and implemented processes that help guide the path from a solid start to clearly defined measures of success for innovation.

Typical product design cycles go through learn-test-build phases as per Eric Reis’ Lean Startup methodology or standard discover, define, design, develop and deploy stages. Cyclical processes are useful for continuously developing and managing a product over time. Processes in stages are typically used in projects with defined end points and delivery deadlines. …

About

Flow Bohl

Dreamer and doer. Design thinker and product manager @BloombergNEF

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