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    Monday
    Jun012009

    make it up - better

    It's easy to forget that this entire thing is made up. I mean everything. Language. Math. Time. Concepts. Work. Play. Rules. Business plans. Organizational structures. Financial structures.

    When things crash as the financial markets have, financial markets created out of nothing and returning to whence they came, we get a front row seat to whatever assumptions we've bought into. We get to see how habitual certain parts of our lives and our businesses have become. While this doesn't mean we should throw out traditions and habits that are serving us well - it certainly gives us the opportunity to look more closely at those that are preventing us from moving forward.

    Debt. Eating out. Saving. Retirement. Lots of new products and customers. Servicing current customers. Big teams. Little teams. Outsourcing. Local sourcing. Crowdsourcing. Insular development.

    Late at night last week I caught the Live Your Best Life Oprah show with Suze Orman when she gave three small changes that would help people gain control of their finances.

    • For just one day, do not spend any money on anything.
    • For just one week, do not use a credit card.
    • For just one month, do not eat out at a restaurant.

    I thought it was fascinating that the biggest groan was for not eating out for a month. Even I, who eat at home most of the time since I became fascinated with the Farmer's Market a couple of years ago, would be hard pressed on that one. That's why it's intriguing to try - you get to see where the stuck places are for yourself.

    None of these things are impossible - but in our minds - we make up that they are. That's how doing these exercises help us realize that we CAN choose what we do. We don't have to run around behind things that we have made up that no longer serve us.

    In UX design strategy one of the things we can do is look at all of these unspoken assumptions in your company. You can't change what you can't see, understand and speak. We want to look at how it all works and doesn't work. We want to look at the reality and be able to state it clearly, with the understanding that it's all made up so that your company can then reset and make new choices.

    Find the connections and disconnections with your customers. How can you realign and perhaps even expand your interactions with them? Find the rough breaks and smooth rides in your teams. Surface the unspoken assumptions and take steps to state them more clearly. Integrate vision and strategy down into implementation. Make sure everyone knows what's going on. Speak plainly and clearly about the reality. Check in and see if people agree - inside and outside your company. Make the services, products and process that your company offers sing - on tune. Tinker, involve, collaborate. Evolve. Mediate your experience. Make it up - better.

    What are ways that you or your company is making it up better? Any surprising assumptions come to light in this changing economy? How are you adapting? Give us real world examples - inspire us.

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