When we forget about the end-user, our design is likely to be flawed. We no longer ask the right questions and adopt an empathetic mindset. If we build a trail, open to hikers, bikers, and equestrians but leave overhanging boulders and rock slabs that cannot accommodate a horse and rider, we are saying ‘this is not really for you.’ The design may have been intended as accessible for multiple user groups, but the construction crew was not thinking about one of the user groups when they built the trail.
How might we avoid building for an end-user but forget to hold their needs above ours? What is convenient during planning and construction might result in unnecessary barriers and frustration for the user.
Where are you headed?
Why are you going that way?
Who benefits if you succeed in reaching your destination?
What do you hope to learn along the way?
Google Street View provides comprehensive data on many European Union member countries. However, Germany and Austria are not well mapped. Due to privacy concerns, much of Germany opted-out or restricted Google from proceeding with its mapping project.
Sometimes we believe we have a complete data set only to learn that we do not see the whole picture. If we do not take into account the human element, we may find by the numbers decision-making leads to unanticipated failure.
After reading the above article, you know that somewhere early in the design phase, someone made an error. A small mistake in the context of all the engineering required to build a submarine. However, the fact that nobody caught the error means that the final design and fabrication created a very expensive anchor that will now rest on the ocean floor if not fixed.
If we embrace the assumptions that everything that was completed before our part of the project was accurate and correct, then we are in for a few surprises. Nobody intentionally hands us the error-strewn project. Our willing to revisit the work we inherited often gives us a greater appreciation for the depth of thought but also the embedded faults.
We are better for the proof-readers, editors, curious minds, and insightful questions. A culture of curiosity builds on that which went before and hopefully identified the moment we made a wrong-turn or fateful decision.
Sometimes we must step back before going forward. Sometimes we should descend before ascending. Sometimes our immediate direction of travel is not our final heading.
Real-time assessment of our performance needs context. There are moments when we are traveling below parameters, but for a good reason. If we manage by the numbers, we miss the opportunity to understand our surroundings and seize the opportunity. Wayfinding is our greatest asset, why not embrace it?
SWOT analysis is a fundamental activity during many retreats. They are visually pleasing and quick to focus conversations. It is easy to understand why they endured. Today I read a new process for facilitating a SWOT. The mindset is compelling.
Performed in isolation, the SWOT offers a myopic view of the world. It is our self-evaluation. We may believe we are memorable conference presenters because of our witty narratives but do we really know? Unless people walk out of the room during our presentation, or there is a sudden rush of new audience members, it is hard to assess how we are trending.
SWOT is an instrument. An opportunity to facilitate conversations. The greatest gift is getting to the human element. What are the behaviors and interactions we are fostering? We may have the most beautiful facilities, the best thank you gifts and a polished social media presence, but if our values are misaligned with our actions, then it is hard for anyone to build trust or take action on our behalf.
If we use the SWOT to discuss the relationships we are building with those who need what we have to offer, there is an opportunity for a robust conversation. If we use the SWOT to establish an arbitrary ranking, it may miss the highest return on investment, a discussion about how we can be of service.