Things what I writ

I sometimes write nonsense about things to try and sound clever

10 years of meetings

globalisation strategy
globalisation strategy by Tim Caynes

I wrote this ten years ago. nothing ever really changes.

You just click on your name and then go to that menu on the left. no, the top. Hang on… So, I select my name, right and what? Go to the menu and select ‘make me great’. I don’t have that option. Oh. No. Wait. I need to make you great so you can share your greatness. Wait a minute here…Ok, you should be great now. Well, I have a circle next to my name, does that make me great? Erm, I think so. Try to do something great. Ok, what like? Try sharing your greatness with the rest of us. Ok, hang on, share…um…greatness! Right. Do you see my greatness. Oh, no, wait. I’ve got a popup. It says I can’t be great because its not my meeting. You need to make it my meeting before I can share my greatness. Is yours still there? No, its downloading an update of itself. Oh, right, so what about you? It rebooted my computer. Oh. Do you own the meeting yet? Um…well…I have a square next to my name now. Not a circle? No, a square, with a circle in it. What colour is the circle? Its blue. And the square? That’s blue as well. What? And the circle is inside the square? Yeah. Never mind. Do you see greatness on the menu now. Hello? Are you there? I think they’ve gone. Hell…Hello? Sorry, I was on mute hahaha. Ok, it says I now own the meeting and so I’m going to share…greatness! Ok. Go! Right. And now I see your desktop, is that right? No, we should see yours. Well, I can see mine. Yes, but that’s your desktop. That’s behind the share app. What share app? The one you’re trying to share your greatness with. OOHH. I SEE! Right, wait, I get it now. Hang on…

click. click click click. taptaptap tappy tap tap. click….

click. tap tap tap tap tap tapapapapa tap tap tap. click……

Oh. Um. Its asking me to download version I can’t share my greatness with this version. It says it will only take 30 seconds. Wait a sec…

click. click. 7 minutes life vacuum.

Ok. I have to reboot to finish the installation. Is there another agenda item that we can go to while I get this working? I’m really sorry. I’m not really very familiar with this application. Ok, well, we’ll move on to the next item and come back to you when you have th — BEEP BEEP BEEP. What? Hello? Oh. I think we lost her. Right. Ok. Never mind. Let’s move on to the next item in the agenda, which iiis.let’s see…yes. Video conference with Singapore and the UK. Let’s see, we’ve got 5 minutes left, so let’s go ahead and try the video. Does everyone know where the video conference room is? Right, its in building 7. You just go out the lobby, get in your car and drive to building 94 and it’s on the second floor. The room’s called ‘Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ or something.


changing titles

if I’m honest it’s because I can’t be arsed with the pause and reconsideration that accompanies every utterance of a title that’s prescriptive and divisive notwithstanding the gravitas and apparent stakeholder appeasmentism that the very combination of words appear to solicit albeit with the delivery of a stifled yawn from the wrong side of a curtain twitching like the very drawing of morning across the pale insipid sky of delusion that speaks of much grandeur and most excellent credentials while all the time saying not so much as a pithy whine unto the duck void of experience whereupon the weight of expectation times the burden of truth equals the reality of a glass never actually filled at all.

it doesn’t matter. it never really has. at least not to me. but oh how the machine readers of the mind have been wired to construct the meaning and motive from the syntax and the semantics of the short sweet evolution of the industry we call home. all operators are overloaded. all exceptions have been thrown. all we have that has been taken from us is in the irony that the definition of self now belongs so very much to others.

I am a user experience designer and I done a wireframe.

listening post: pink floyd – sheep

Expose yourself – design workshops in the real world

When I uploaded my slides from the recent IA Summit in Denver to slideshare, I had particular problems with uploading the speaker notes, which, still now, are not available. I’m a great believer in using simple slides as a visual enhancement to a spoken narrative, and so when those slides are posted on their own, there can be some strange interpretations.

In particular, I have one slide in that presentation which simply says ‘Expose Yourself’. On its own, it could be read as something of a mid-life crisis admission in a magistrates court, but in my defence (pun intended), it’s actually part of a series of slides that try to explain the benefits of opening the black box of design, to encourage collaboration with clients and stakeholders to maximise brain power and increase efficiency.

I recently worked on a project that had a quite specific definition of the design deliverables that were likely to be required, before we’d even understood the problems and thought about solutions. This sounds bad, but really, it isn’t. When we’re defining a statement of work that clients can agree to and sign off, especially for newer clients, we’re not yet in the position to sell them a period of time that’s largely undefined, that we’ll somehow magically fill with analysis and design. Pragmatically, we have to describe something tangible for delivery, based on our previous experience of similar projects, that is meaningful and understandable. Critically though, that ‘tangible something’ has scale – and that is where it gets interesting.

On the project in question, the design deliverable was pretty well-specified from the outset. But following the results of focus groups, it was clear that we needed to spend some serious thinking time trying to understand what the deliverable really needed to be – which was potentially quite different from what we’d anticipated. The scale of our ‘tangible something’ was measured in days, and in order to set our new course, we had to agree on the best use of those days. In this case, we proposed that to understand that, we should get all the project stakeholders to bring their thoughts and ideas to the table and that we spend a day working together on defining our goals and objectives and thinking about how that looks when we talk about structures, clusters, boxes and arrows. Yes. A design workshop.

Design workshops can be super-effective for clarifying objectives, surfacing ideas, analysing research outcomes, using up flip charts and making swift progress through design challenges. But they are not for everyone. They’re not for all clients. They’re especially not for all designers. While more than one head is almost always better than just one head to solve a problem, there can be a reluctance on the part of professional problem-solvers to allow others to collaborate with them on that most cerebral of tasks. That’s why I say you have to expose yourself. Let clients, stakeholders and anybody else who might have an opinion be part of your process and maximise the benefit of all those brains being in the room. When you’re steering a new course for your project ship, it should be all hands on deck. If you want to hit new project targets, you should have all your brain-wood behind one arrow. If you want to continue with ridiculous project metaphors, you should all, well, actually, forget that one. The point is, design workshops really work, and if you’re not doing them, especially when you need to corral project stakeholders and think about design direction, then I really think you’re missing a trick. In this case, the workshop enabled us to clearly define the design requirements, scope out the next phase of work and turned on at least a hundred lightbulbs over people’s heads. In the end, just talking through design propositions in the workshop radically altered the client’s expectations for how their business could position themselves in the marketplace. We’re going to do another one soon, where I’ll expose myself some more, but better to be outed in the conference room of collaboration than stuck on my own in the black box of design.