Strategy06, the second annual IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology) Institute of Design Strategy Conference, took place at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (MCA), Illinois, on May 17 and 18, 2006.
As a strong advocate of the viewpoint that UX strategy and design can provide competitive advantage to companies, I was eager to attend Strategy06, because I had hoped to hear about others’ views on the strategic value of user experience for digital products. Describing how technology moves through our economy, he showed how technology is a predictable progression from science to technology to business to organizations to the information economy. According to Meyer, drivers of networked innovation include science, behavior, and most apparently, technology.
Jim Wicks, Vice President and Director of Consumer Experience Design, Motorola—shown in Figure 5. Zerega informed us that, in 2007, Condé Nast will launch a new business magazine, in print and on the Web. For someone seeking reliability, acceptable bases of proof derive from inductive logic (what is) or deductive logic (what should be), while those for someone seeking validity may derive from inductive, deductive, or abductive logic (what might be).
Elaborating on his first point, taking design-unfriendliness as a design challenge, Martin said, “Designers love constraints, because they make design more interesting. Research and analysis encompass group observation insights, individual observation insights, artifact observation insights, and activity observation insights. In recent years, the number of published articles about innovation has exploded, but still, many companies are not satisfied with the return on their investment in innovation. I actually found Meyer’s more informally delivered personal reflections on the conference much more engaging than his prepared presentation on Day One. My two favorite presentations on Day Two were given by Clement Mok and co-presenters Natalia Davis and Russell Redenbaugh. Figure 17 shows just one many slides that so beautifully communicated Davis and Redenbaugh’s philosophical viewpoints.
The organizers should have made a greater effort to welcome newcomers and ensure that they could avail themselves of the roundtable discussions.
Unfortunately, the number of attendees who could participate in the roundtable discussions that took place during the lunch breaks was limited.
Those who were lucky enough to participate in the roundtable discussions at lunchtime were probably able to find something of interest to them. The roundtable discussions took place in a crowded tent outside Puck’s, in windy, rainy weather conditions. The way designers work is changing from traditional design approaches in which designers either work alone or are part of single-discipline teams to methods involving cross-disciplinary teamwork.
The problems designers face are becoming increasingly complex and their solutions require skills and tools from multiple disciplines.
Formerly, designers were often brought onto projects late in product development cycles, but now designers work with cross-disciplinary teams from the start to finish of projects.
Each individual’s profile showed his or her balance between the following four problem-solving orientations. With such a diverse audience at the conference, it was very interesting to evaluate the profiles of participants in light of their different professions. Individual team members, teams, and even entire organizations possess unique innovation profiles.
VanPatter and Pastor described the roles of individuals with different creative problem-solving profiles on cross-disciplinary teams within continuous innovation cultures. I found this method of assessing individuals’ approaches to creative problem-solving very valuable. Our group chose to carry on after many of the roundtable discussions had ended, so once we had completed our profiles, we were able to continue our discussion under quieter conditions.


The IIT Institute of Design brought a strong design sensibility to every aspect of Strategy06.
The IIT Institute of Design, one of the foremost design schools in the United States, brought a strong design sensibility to every aspect of Strategy06—from the simplicity of the conference program to the modern elegance of the stage setting in the MCA auditorium.
Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, between Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive, the MCA provided a great venue for this small-scale conference with about 300 participants. Each day of the conference began with a continental breakfast, and beverages, pastries, and fruits were served during morning and afternoon breaks. The conference program was compact, Wire-O® bound, aesthetically designed, printed on high-quality paper, and included pages for notes. Several of the speakers’ presentations are available on the Strategy06 Web site, along with excellent articles by and interviews with some of the speakers and what was a fairly active blog on the event.
Strategy06 was a well-organized, worthwhile conference, but with room for some improvement. The organizers should also ensure that all speakers prepare content-rich presentations, providing information that is likely to be both of interest and useful to the majority of attendees.
With more than 20 years working in User Experience at companies such as Google, Cisco, WebEx, Apple, and many startups, Pabini now provides UX strategy and design consulting services through her Silicon Valley company, Strategic UX. As I was working on my Needs Assessment project today, I started reflecting about the topic of "data-driven" decision making. I feel that in order to accurately perform a proper needs assessment, we have to not only look at Standardized State Test data, but to investigate and include qualitative data found in school culture. The analogy that I always use to help make my point is comparing school data to football data. Unfortunately, these types of decisions are made every day in our public schools, due to the amount of pressure that we have to continue to increase our SOL test scores.
Preparing our students for the 21st century involves them excelling in workplace readiness skills such as inquiry, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, etc. Because the IIT Institute of Design organized the conference, I had assumed the conference content would emphasize strategy for technology products; however, that was not entirely the case. Martin told us that the root of the problem lies in the fundamental tension between reliability and validity, as shown in Figure 8. The fact that designers can’t prove future outcomes is the reason they feel that they are in hostile territory when dealing with business people.
Many of the best new products are developed in this way, and many that have failed have done so due to early commitment to ideas not yet fully formed.
By keeping it simple, we could overcome all of the language barriers,” said Redenbaugh. While the program mentioned these discussions would occur on the second day of the conference, it neither mentioned there would be roundtable discussions on the first day of the conference nor informed attendees about how to sign up for them. Between the noise of the weather and the noise of the crowd, participants had to struggle to be heard over the din. According to Basadur Applied Creativity, all problem-solving orientations are necessary to the process of innovation and, therefore, valued equally. This workshop provided much food for thought and, for me, was one of the most enjoyable parts of the conference. Box lunches were available from Puck’s at the MCA, but seating in both the restaurant and the outdoor tent for conference attendees was limited, and the weather was inclement. Oddly, while the program provided informative bios on each of the speakers, it did not indicate the topics on which they would speak. I hope this great information will remain on the Web in perpetuity, but information relating to the Institute of Design Strategy Conference of 2005 is no longer available on the Web.


Organizing a single-track conference is, in a way, a more difficult proposition than putting together a conference at which attendees have a multiplicity of choices throughout each day. Her past UX leadership roles include Head of UX for Sales & Marketing IT at Intel, Senior Director of UX and Design at Apttus, Principal UX Architect at BMC Software, VP of User Experience at scanR, and Manager of User Experience at WebEx.
Looking only at student test scores to assess a school is like only looking at football statistics to assess a football team.
Preparing our students to reach high test scores involves having students excel in content knowledge and lower Bloom's levels such as remembering, understanding and minimal application.
And, as things transpired, most of my favorite sessions were not those given by speakers from technology companies. When opening the conference, Patrick Whitney made no announcement about the roundtable discussions. Within a creative organization, different roles require different problem-solving approaches and processes.
At single-track conferences, all topics must have broad appeal to satisfy the entire audience. Pabini has led UX strategy, design, and user research for Web, mobile, and desktop applications for consumers, small businesses, and enterprises, in diverse product domains.
It is my understanding that being "data-driven" involves looking specifically at State Standard Test results and making decisions based on these results. For example, just because a football team might have the most overall touchdowns and most overall total yardage, doesn't mean that they are the best football team. I just often find myself in a moral dilemma when teaching, because preparing my students to excel in the state tests, is often not preparing them for a successful future. Figure 16 provides an overview of the roles different types of businesses play in marketing. Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant also prepared the buffet dinner for the dinner and cocktail reception that took place on the first evening of the conference. Working collaboratively with business executives, multidisciplinary product teams, and UX teams, she has envisioned and realized holistic UX design solutions for innovative, award-winning products that delighted users, achieved success in the marketplace, and delivered business value. A football team could potentially have the most touchdowns and most total yardage in the division and not be in first place. Other high points were Jeffrey Li’s talk and the discussion between Bruce Nussbaum and Blaise Zerega. Since more than a third of all attendees were either ITT faculty or students and the majority of attendees had also attended the first Institute of Design Strategy Conference in 2005, there were a lot of people who knew better what to expect than newcomers did. First place depends on overall wins (which is ultimately the big picture of success in football). Pabini is a strategic thinker, and the diversity of her experience enables her to synthesize innovative solutions for challenging strategy and design problems. She is passionate about creating great user experiences that meet users’ needs and get business results. A thought leader in the UX community, Pabini was a Founding Director of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA). A school could have lower test scores and have a much better school culture and provide better instruction that will help prepare students for the 21st century challenges.



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